Catechism On Line

Different Gifts, the Same Spirit

Book, Chapter 9 (Faith First)
Book, Chapter 7 (Be My Disciple)

In this chapter we discuss the following topics: 

The Holy Spirit works within the Church 

The Sacred Tradition

How do we recognize the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit works within the Church 

The christians are people of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit works within the Church and through the Church. However, who is "the Church"? You and me! So the level of the presence of the Holy Spirit within each and every one of us is different. Some are very much influenced by the Spirit. Such individuals are said to be spiritual. They are very devout christians and may be quite knowledgeable. Eventually they become saints. Others are less spiritual, but more religious. Such people are still not sure. They have their faith, but their internal disposition has not yet reached the level to receive the Holy Spirit. Very often such people are christians by "tradition", and without the real understanding what it means to be a christian. In any case, the Church is the temple of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit blesses each of us with "charisms". They are special graces which allow us to contribute our talents and thus to build up our Church.

The Sacred Tradition

The passing on of the teachings of Christ by the Church through the power and the guidance of The Holy Spirit is the Sacred Tradition. A tradition based on sound religion and understanding is helpful. However, if tradition was based on believes springing out of lack of knowledge and understanding, then it could become hindrance to receiving the Holy Spirit. For example, consider the rejection of Jesus' teachings by traditionalist jews.

How do we recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit?

  • The Holy Spirit is a giver of knowledge and understanding
  • With this knowledge and understanding comes confidence
  • With confidence comes courage
The prophets of the Old Testament acted with courage and confidence even when the outcome of such an action was a certain death. So did Jesus, and so did the apostles of Jesus and so did thousands of early christians despite constant threats and persecution (Quo Vadis by Henryk Siekiewitz). So the Holy Spirit is our teacher as well as our sanctifier because it makes us Holy. Through the Holy Spirit we receive actual grace from GOD.

Sometimes, the approach of the Holy Spirit to prophets and to people of old was heralded by the presence of a strong wind. Therefore in the Bible sometimes it is refered to as "mighty wind" or the "breath of GOD" (remember the approach of the angel of peace in Fatima).

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