The Gift of the Holy Spirit and the Divine Indwelling
“St. Paul teaches that the Holy Spirit directs us towards the great values of love, joy, communion, and hope: our task is to experience them every day.” –Pope Benedict XVI
Have you ever wondered how the Holy Spirit can reside within us? Do you want to better understand the Divinity of the Holy Spirit? The Avila Institute course The Gift of the Holy Spirit and the Divine Indwelling will explore the theology of the Holy Spirit in the life of faith.
The greatest gift God has favored us with is the love of Christ, a love expressed in His death on the cross. Through this love, He remains with His Church to the end of the world. In order to do that, He gives us the Holy Spirit in the sacrament of baptism, thus making us children of God and endowing us with the greatest dignity we could ever have.* As God’s children, the Holy Spirit fills us up, completes us and even prays within us (cf Bl. Paul VI).* This is an incredible gift!
But wait! Who is the Holy Spirit? How are Christians able to have the God of the universe, as the third Person of the Trinity, residing within them? These are mysteries worth investigating through study and discovery. Rev. William G. Most gives insight on the indwelling of the Holy Ghost as he states, “We say a Spirit is present wherever it causes an effect. In the soul, the Holy Spirit transforms it, making it basically capable of taking in, after death, the infinite streams of knowledge and love that flow within the Holy Trinity. Thus we are really ‘sharers in the divine nature’ (2 Peter 1:4). This is a dignity so great that any earthly honor is insignificant beside it.”** The Holy Spirit speaks the truth, He is personal, He convicts us of sin,*** and He is the Lord, Giver of Life.****
So, what does indwelling even mean? Indwelling is the supernatural “presence of the Holy Spirit in a person who is in the state of grace.”***** This is a manifestation of divine love from God to humanity. Christians are temples of the living God when they choose to cooperate with grace. St. Augustine says, “Although God is everywhere wholly present, he does not dwell in everyone. It is not possible to say to all what the Apostle says: ‘Know you not that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?’ He that is everywhere does not dwell in all, and he does not dwell equally in those in whom he does dwell.”****** Therefore, unfortunately, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit can be lost when a person is not in friendship with God in a state of grace, yet can be regained. The intimacy with God and the human soul produces an extraordinary knowledge and love for God. “It is the indwelling Trinity, God himself, the uncreated triune God living in our souls that makes it possible for us through our knowledge and love, to be happy in a way that no one else has a claim to except one in whom God dwells by his uncreated presence of the Holy Trinity” (cf Father John A. Hardon******).
Saint Paul explains how the Holy Ghost is involved in the Christian’s life:
“The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. And he who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27).
Besides the visible missions in which the Son and the Holy Spirit are historically manifest, there are invisible, spiritual missions in which the Word of the Father and the Fire of God’s Love are present to the soul in always new and more profound ways. Saint Thomas Aquinas, Pope John Paul II, and Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity help the Church understand this mystery through their theological explanations, pastoral applications, and doctrinal descriptions. By discerning the complementarity of their approaches, The Gift of the Holy Spirit and the Divine Indwelling course demonstrates how the ultimate end of the divine economy is anticipated in this life.
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you” (John 14:16-17).
The Avila Institute offers an array of Graduate level courses meant to bring you on a path which will lead you closer to the Lord. Below is one of the highlighted classes for the Winter quarter. This course will help you be familiar with the theology of the Holy Spirit and his place in the Holy Trinity and with the Church’s understanding of the Person and work of the Holy Spirit. The course will also help you to discern the intended work of the Holy Spirit in your life and make you more familiar with gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit and how they are to work in our lives and in our communities of faith.
The Gift of the Holy Spirit and the Divine Indwelling is taught by Dr. Joseph Hollcraft. Dates and Times: Wednesdays 9:00 pm-11:00 pm Eastern time, Dec 13, 20, Jan 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, Feb 7, 21
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Art for this post on the gift of the Holy Spirit and the Divine Indwelling: Detail of La Sainte Trinite (The Holy Trinity), Jean Bourdichon, 1503-1508, PD-US author’s life plus 100 years or less, Wikimedia Commons.
***Tim Staples in https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/the-divinity-of-the-holy-spirit