Viewpoint XXI

The Church teaches that: “No one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” Now God’s Spirit, who reveals God, makes known to us Jesus Christ, his Word, his living Utterance, but the Spirit does not speak of himself. The Spirit who “has spoken through the prophets” makes us hear the Father’s Word, but we do not hear the Spirit himself.We know him only in the movement by which he reveals the Word to us and disposes us to welcome him in faith. The Spirit of truth who “unveils” Christ to us “will not speak on his own.” Such properly divine self-effacement explains why “the world cannot receive (him), because it neither sees him nor knows him,” while those who believe in Christ know the Spirit because he dwells with them. (CCC Article 8: 687)

Would it be asking too much for the average person to expand his or her understanding and consider the fact that there could possibly be spiritual-values besides practical-values in life? Most people do indeed know the difference between good and evil when they see it. Most of us, by the use of a right conscience, can usually tell the difference between right and wrong. At the same time we also know that human conscience can be in error, or unconditioned— for many reasons. A person who claims not to know the difference between right and wrong surely must be considered “out of order” and in need of obvious correction. In this age of relativism masquerading as freedom, people who have been taught or decided on their own that a fundamental “right” is wrong would not likely be inclined to pause and question their personal conception of right as opposed to wrong. What is right for them is simply right for them with the exclusion of others. There are no two ways about it. They have either been taught or convinced themselves that the distinction between right and wrong is arbitrary. Generally this tends to set them apart from the fundamental-good or God, which humanity has known a priori since the brain to mind transition. Things can be known in the Spirit and not necessarily by reason. People know of the intrinsic good or God, by reasons of the “heart,” The Spirit of the Ultimate Truth is not reached by reason alone.

For most Positivists there is only material truth. There seems to be no room in the psyche to even consider grace as the precursor of faith. What they have missed is the fact that life itself is spirit, the human spirit, participating in the Life or Spirit of God. The living God cannot be seen— so he does not exist. What is curious is that Positivists can see the value of faith in secularity; a faith in the practicality of science and math, of empiricism, and a true belief in the eventuality of a “theory of everything.” Creation is by chance, man is his own author and is ruled by relative values, various ethical values with no need for God.

The entire mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit, in the fullness of time, is contained in this: that the Son is the one anointed by the Father’s Spirit since his Incarnation – Jesus is the Christ, the expected Messiah from earliest times. Everything in the second chapter of the Creed is to be read in this light. Christ’s whole work is in fact a joint mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit. Here, we shall mention only what has to do with Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit and the gift of him by the glorified Lord. (CCC 727)

Jesus does not reveal the Holy Spirit fully, until he himself has been glorified through his Death and Resurrection. Nevertheless, little by little he alludes to him even in his teaching of the multitudes, as when he reveals that his own flesh will be food for the life of the world. He also alludes to the Spirit in speaking to Nicodemus, to the Samaritan woman, and to those who take part in the feast of Tabernacles. To his disciples he speaks openly of the Spirit in connection with prayer and with the witness they will have to bear. (CCC 728)

Only when the hour has arrived for his glorification does Jesus promise the coming of the Holy Spirit, since his Death and Resurrection will fulfill the promise made to the fathers. The Spirit of truth, the other Paraclete, will be given by the Father in answer to Jesus’ prayer; he will be sent by the Father in Jesus’ name; and Jesus will send him from the Father’s side, since he comes from the Father. the Holy Spirit will come and we shall know him; he will be with us for ever; he will remain with us. the Spirit will teach us everything, remind us of all that Christ said to us and bear witness to him. the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth and will glorify Christ. He will prove the world wrong about sin, righteousness, and judgment. (CCC729)

At last Jesus’ hour arrives: he commends his spirit into the Father’s hands at the very moment when by his death he conquers death, so that, “raised from the dead by the glory of the Father,” he might immediately give the Holy Spirit by “breathing” on his disciples. From this hour onward, the mission of Christ and the Spirit becomes the mission of the Church: “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” (CCC 730)

Thus the Church’s mission is not an addition to that of Christ and the Holy Spirit, but is its sacrament: in her whole being and in all her members, the Church is sent to announce, bear witness, make present, and spread the mystery of the communion of the Holy Trinity. (CCC 738)

“All of us who have received one and the same Spirit, that is, the Holy Spirit, are in a sense blended together with one another and with God. For if Christ, together with the Father’s and his own Spirit, comes to dwell in each of us, though we are many, still the Spirit is one and undivided. He binds together the spirits of each and every one of us, . . . and makes all appear as one in him. For just as the power of Christ’s sacred flesh unites those in whom it dwells into one body, I think that in the same way the one and undivided Spirit of God, who dwells in all, leads all into spiritual unity.” (St. Cyril of Alexandria, In Jo. ev., 11,11: PG 74, 561.)

That is a tall order only the grace of God can provide. In a materialist culture anything that does not exist in space and time is considered immaterial, in the sense of being nonexistent or irrelevant. In other words anything of a “spiritual” nature, incorporeal or immateriality interjected into reality is execrated as unbelievable. For those of us who are Christians, we cannot doubt the sincerity of the people who hold these views, but we need not prize the view itself nor the reasoning behind establishing it as a “new paradigm” for humanity. God, according to Jesus Christ, is Spirit.

The Feast of Pentecost.

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