I n  t h e  S p i r i t
A Catechesis in Preparation for the Third Millenium
Reverend Jonathan Morse, Ph.D.

Year 1998, Volume I.

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1. For those who bear God's Spirit are led to the Word, that is, to the Son, and the Son presents them to the Father. Irenaeus, Dem. ap. 7
It is the desire and the plan of God to bring all to salvation. As the priest prays in the Liturgy in the preface, "You did not cease doing everything until You led us to heaven and granted us Your future kingdom." God does not desire that anyone be lost. The prophet Jonah ran away because he did not want to proclaim that God desires the salvation of all humanity. After being in the great fish he made that proclamation. Our salvation is the work of the Trinity. All three persons of the Holy Trinity are involved in the process of salvation. They are One and always work as One. No One person of the Trinity can ever act independently of the other members. This is why we can say that there is only one God. We are monotheists and believe that there is only one God. We further believe that this one God is three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Father desires our salvation and so the Son was sent and the Son sent the Spirit. Salvation is our going to the Father. We do this because the Son leads us to the Father. This is possible because we have been given the gift of the Spirit.
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2. Hear how the Spirit of prophecy signified through Moses that there should be a conflagration. Justin the Martyr, First Apology, 60.
God always takes the initiative in the plan of salvation. It was God who sent Moses to the Jews. The plagues that descended upon the Egyptians were not the work of Moses but rather the work of God. Moses was the instrument that God used to proclaim the coming of the plagues. God sent His only begotten Son. In the New Testament Christ is the only hero. The scriptures refer to the wondrous acts that the apostles performed as activities of God. Even in our own lives, we come to faith and knowledge of God through the gift of the Holy Spirit, who awakens faith within us. There are no heroes in the Bible. Saints are not holy because they were miracle workers because God worked the miracle. Saints are not blessed because they gave great sermons or wrote great books but rather it was the Spirit speaking through them. Holiness is given to those persons who allow God to work through them. We become holy when we allow the Spirit to work with and through us.
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3. But why in the fashion of a dove? Gentle is that creature, and pure. Forasmuch then as the Spirit too is a "Spirit of meekness," He therefore appears in this sort. John Chrysostom, Homily on Matthew XII, 3. The Spirit descended at the Baptism of our Lord "like" a dove and not as a dove. The dove is a symbol which represents to our minds what the coming of the Spirit is like. The dove was the bird that returned to the ark to tell Noah that the reconciliation between God and man had been accomplished through the flood. The dove became the symbol of peace between God and humanity. When the Spirit descends upon Jesus at His baptism, it is a sign that the restoration between humanity and God is accomplished in Jesus. The Spirit does not speak to us, rather it is the movements of the Spirit that reveal the Word of God, the Son, to us, so that we may go to the Father. Therefore, in our lives, we must meditate or discern the movements of the Spirit in our lives so that we can know the will of the Father for us. go back

4. I am baptized into the Holy Spirit, that is the Comforter, who worked in all the saints from the beginning of the world, but was then sent to the apostles by the Father, according to thepromise of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ; and after the apostles, to all those who believe in the Holy Catholic Church... Constitutions of the Apostles, VII. 3. XLI. The Spirit came upon the Church at the Descent of the Holy Spirit, also known as Pentecost. The Holy Spirit has remained within the Church to provide that the Church is an instrument of divine activity in the world. The Spirit inspired the Scriptures, which lead us to know Jesus, so that we can see the Father through Him. The Spirit through the words and symbols used by the Church puts us into communion with Christ so that by joining with us, the Son leads us to the Father. In the anaphora, the priest prays for the coming of the Holy Spirit to change the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. It is the Spirit who makes Christ present. The Holy Spirit continues to inspire men and women in the Church to give voice to the teachings of Christ. The teachings of the Church, which are called the magisterium, are activities of the Spirit. It is important for us as faithful to pay attention to the teachings of the Church given through the Pope, patriarchs and bishops because in them we are called to discern the activity of the Holy Spirit for our lives. go back

5. We however shall follow the divine Scriptures and the faith of the Holy Fathers. Athanasius as found in Cyril, Adv. Orientales, ad. XII. The Eastern churches have always emphasized the teachings of the Fathers. Theology to be taught in our churches must be based in scripture, tradition and consistent with the Fathers. The reason for this concern is the continued belief of our Church that the Holy Spirit continues to inspire and guide the Church. We say that the saints were inspired by the Holy Spirit to speak the will of God to their generation and their time. Since, they were speaking the will of God, their words are important to us. The Holy Spirit has spoken through all generations continuing to guide the church to the Son. This is what separates us from some other churches. In these churches they believe that the particular preacher is inspired by the Spirit to teach what is given in Scripture. The process is the Holy Spirit, the Scriptures and the preacher. In our churches we also pray that those preaching are inspired by the Spirit as well, but we also look to those great men and women in the past who we know to have been inspired for guidance on our path to salvation. The process is then: the Holy Spirit, the scriptures, the inspired Fathers of the Church throughout the ages and the preacher. go back

6. For the Lord has made known to us by the prophets both the things which are past and present, giving us the first fruits of knowledge of things to come, which things as we see accomplished, one by one, we ought with the greater richness of faith and elevation of the Spirit to draw near to Him with reverence. Epistle of Barnabas, I. From the time of creation until the coming of Christ, the activity of the Word and Spirit was not apparent to humanity. But, the Holy Spirit prepared the world for the coming of the Messiah. This preparation was done through the prophets. When we refer to the prophets in the creed, we are not referring just to those men and women who are found in the Old Testament and listed as prophets. The Creed uses the word in the broader sense of prophet, meaning all those who spoke God's message to the people. The Spirit inspired the authors of the Law (the first five books of the Old Testament) and the Writings (Wisdom literature, especially the Psalms.) go back

7. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Father and the Son, not in the way that every creature is the creature of the Father and the Son, but as living and having power with Both, and eternally subsisting of that Which is the Father and the Son. Gregory the Great, Sermon LXXV, 3. It belongs of the Holy Spirit to rule, sanctify, and animate creation, for He is God, consubstantial with the Father and the Son. (Tropar of Descent of the Holy Spirit) An analogy of the Trinity is that the Father is the mind. When the Father speaks, the Word and the Spirit come forth. If we put our hands in front of our mouths when we speak, we hear the word and feel the breath. When the world was created, it was the desire of the Father. Creation was done by God speaking. "God said, let there be ..." So the Son as the Word was involved in creation. It was for this reason that St. Paul says of the Word, "through Him all things came to be." The Spirit was present at creation. St. Irenaeus points out that in the act of creation God used two hands, these hands are references to the Son and the Spirit. The Spirit as the breath of the Trinity gives life to humanity. go back

8. Likeness is not ... that of the human form; for this consideration is impious. ... To the likeness of God, then, he that is introduced into adoption and the friendship of God. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata, Book VI, 14. When humanity was created it was created in the image and likeness of God. This image was our humanity, our body and soul. The likeness was the indwelling of the Trinity. It was a likeness that was lost by our first parents. The Book of Genesis is the faith statement of the people of Israel that sin entered the world not from God but by humanity activity. It was the desire of God that this likeness of the Father be restored in all persons. So the Father prepared humanity by selecting a portion of humanity to be the presence of God in the world until the Word was sent. God selected Abraham to be the Father of a host of nations (Gn 17:4). The nation of Israel was called to teach the world about God. They were missionaries. The twelve tribes did not come about solely through the natural expansion of the family, but also through the incorporation of other peoples the tribes came upon. Into this nation the Son of God was to be born. Christ would send the Spirit so that likeness would be restored to humanity. go back

9. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord. Lk 4:18-19 Isaiah the prophet, inspired by the Holy Spirit, gave us the characteristics of the Messiah in his teachings that the "one who is to come" would suffer for humanity, even though he was innocent. [Isaiah said that "Though he had done no wrong (Is. 53:9)" and "because he surrendered himself to death and was counted among the wicked, and he shall take away the sins of the many and win pardon for their offenses. (Is 53:12)] One of the characteristics would be that the "Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him." When Jesus announces that He is the Messiah, he quotes Isaiah in the synagogue. go back

10. I will pour out my spirit upon all mankind. Joel 3:1. The prophets, Ezekiel, Jeremiah and Joel noted that when salvation had come to the world, the sign would be the outpouring of the Spirit. St. Peter in his preaching on the morning of Pentecost notes that this has occurred. The Spirit came into the world to write the New Law not on stone but on the hearts of humanity. go back

11. Through the Holy Spirit, we are restored to paradise, led back to the Kingdom of heaven, and adopted as children, given confidence to call God, "Father" and to share in Christ's grace called children of light and given a share in eternal glory. Basil On the Holy Spirit 15, 36. The coming of the Holy Spirit is the establishment of the Kingdom of God which Jesus proclaimed in the Sermon on the Mount. We have not entered the last days. The Kingdom is "already and not yet." We have in our midst signs of the Kingdom. In the Church we have the Holy Mysteries where we personally encounter God. Yet, we do not have the fullness of the Kingdom, the restoration of the world to the way it was at creation. We must remember that God is not subject to time. From the heavenly perspective the creation of the world and the end of the world have both already been accomplished. The priest as part of the anaphora prays, "Remembering all that has been done in our behalf; the cross, the tomb, the resurrection on the third day, the ascension into heaven and the second and glorious coming." We remember the second coming of the Christ at the end of the world. go back

12. We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now; and not only this, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, we also groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. Romans 8:22-23. We live within the life of the Trinity. In heaven we shall be truly happy. Here we have glimpses of that happiness. Recall the moments in your life when you were truly happy, down to your toes. They were not moments when you were receiving a pat on the back for a job well done, but rather moments in relationship. It is in the warmth and love of a true and sincere relationship that we have happiness. When we are loved and are loving, we have a glimpse of the happiness of heaven. go back

13. These will pay the penalty of eternal ruin, separated from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power. 2 Thessalonians 1:9 If our moments of deepest happiness are glimpses of heaven, the moments of deepest sadness and feelings of true loneliness are our glimpses of hell. Heaven is life with God. Hell is life without God. If we, through the choices we make in our life, centered upon ourselves and not upon God, then we have chosen Hell. Hell is a product of God's love more than of God's justice. If we do not want God as part of our lives, it would not be loving of God to "force" Himself upon us. Therefore, respecting our will, God permits people to choose to live without Him forever. Those who choose an eternity without God, choose Hell. go back

14. Man is rational and therefore like God; he is created with free will and is master over his acts. Irenaeus Against Heresies 4, 4. God desires the salvation of all. In the Councils of Orange and Trent the Church has affirmed that God does not predestine anyone to go to Hell. Hell is a choice that people make freely. This is possible because God has given humanity free will. We are given the power to act or not to act. We can deliberately choose to do good or to do evil. This freedom then makes us responsible for the choices that we make with our actions, thoughts and words.
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15. He Who, as the writing of the prophets says, 'knows all things before they came to be,' following our, or rather perceiving beforehand by His power of foreknowledge what, in a state of independence and freedom, is the tendency of man's will. Gregory of Nyssa, On the Making of Man, XVI. 14. God is aware of the choices that we are going to make not because of predestination but because God has foreknowledge. God knows everything from the beginning of time to the end of time. Just because God knows what someone is going to chose does not make Him responsible. God is no more responsible than the teacher who gives a student a test knowing the student is going to fail because he or she did not study. go back

16. ... creation is guided by the Spirit, while the Spirit gives guidance; that creation is governed, while the Spirit governs; that creation is comforted, while the Spirit comforts ... that the creation partakes of the gifts, while the Spirit bestows them at His pleasure... Gregory of Nyssa, On the Faith: To Simplicus. God sends gifts from above to help and guide us in the choices that we make. The gifts are a result of the mystery of baptism where we first became a "partaker of the divine nature." We are given a share in the energies of God. These energies can transform us as they do in baptism. They can be extraordinary as the speaking in tongues at Pentecost. They can be as fleeting as a gift of strength in a time of temptation. It takes faith to discern the gift of God's energies in our life. These gifts are from the Holy Spirit. These energies are also referred to as grace. go back

17. He Himself formed man of the dust, and regenerated him by water; and made him grow by his Spirit ... in order that, transforming earth-born man into a holy and heavenly being by His advent, He might fulfill to the utmost that divine utterance, "Let Us make man in Our own image and likeness." Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor, 12. St. Paul writes, "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body." The Holy Spirit acts in baptism by sanctifying us with a grace that transforms us from natural human beings into supranatural beings. We are no longer a human body and soul, but we have been restored in likeness to God in that we have God dwelling within us. This is our new state of existence. We can reject God, but God will never reject us. As a natural mother can never deny the relationship she has with her children, God will never deny his relationship with those who are baptized. go back

18. The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man for his benefit. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit... Gregory Thaumaturgus, Confession of Faith, XXII. The Holy Spirit sanctifies us in the other mysteries as well (I Cor 12:9). The Holy Spirit in the mystery of the holy anointing provides the energies of healing. In some cases it is the healing of the sick person's body, "raising them from the bed of sickness." In other persons it is the energy, the strength to carry the cross of the illness so that this illness becomes their crown of glory in heaven. In still others it is the gift of the forgiveness of sins in which the sick person is restored in their relationship with God. go back

19. Good men take sickness as athletes take their contest, waiting for the crowns that are to reward their endurance. Basil the Great, Letter CCXXXVI to Amphilochius, 7. Illness was seen by people at the time of Christ as a punishment for sins. This is not the Christian perspective. Some illness are the result of sin. If a person sinfully abuses their bodies through immoral living and contracts a disease, it is the person's actions that caused their illness. It is not a punishment for sin. It is the result of sin. If an innocent person becomes ill, Christ tells us that in some cases, the miracle of healing from this illness will allow others or even the sick person to come to praise God and build a better relationship with God. For other persons, sickness is the opportunity for us to witness to our faith in God. We accept the illness as a "pain in the side" so that we may carry the cross that is given to us with faith. Through our witnessing we may bring salvation not only to ourselves but to those who see us living with faith as we go through the pains of the illness. go back

20. Lord, fill with the gift of the Holy Spirit him whom you have deigned to raise to the rank of the priesthood, that he may be worthy to stand without reproach before your altar, to proclaim the Gospel of your kingdom, to fulfill the ministry of your word of truth, to offer you spiritual gifts and sacrifices, to renew your people by the bath of rebirth; so that he may go out to meet our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, your only Son, on the day of his second coming, and may receive from your vast goodness the recompense for a faithful administration of his order. Ordination Prayer. The Holy Spirit sanctifies in the mystery of Holy Orders. The man is transformed by the divine energies into a priest. St. Gregory of Nazianzus reminds us men who shall be ordained and those already ordained that "We must begin by purifying ourselves before purifying others; we must be instructed to be able to instruct, become light to illuminate, draw close to God to bring him close to others, be sanctified to sanctify." (Oration 2. 71) A man who becomes a priest is transformed, yet must constantly be transformed through the activity of the Holy Spirit. go back

21. Let everyone revere deacons as Jesus Christ, the bishop as the image of the Father and the priests as the senate of God and the assembly of the apostles. For without them one cannot speak of the Church. Ignatius of Antioch Epistle to the Trallians, 3. 1 According to our Scriptural tradition when one is ordained a man becomes a member of an ordo. The ancient ordos are bishop, priest, deacon, catechumens, virgins, spouses, widows, penitents, etc. Today, the term, ordination, is used for the three ordos of priesthood: bishop, priest, deacon. Ordination is a gift of the Holy Spirit that cannot be taken away. A man who is a priest (or deacon or bishop) is a priest (or bishop or deacon) forever. No man has a "right" to be ordained, even if he has completed all the required studies; a man is called by the Church to serve. go back

22. For if anyone will consider how great it is for a man composed of flesh and blood to be able to draw near to that blessed and pure nature [Christ in the Eucharist], he will then clearly see how great an honor the Spirit's grace of priesthood is ... For they who inhabit the earth and make their abode there are entrusted with the administration of the things of heaven. John Chrysostom, Christian Priesthood, V.5. "The priest, ordained by the bishop and dependent upon him, is sent to fulfill certain definite tasks; above all he is sent to a parish community to be its pastor: He presides at the eucharist at the altar (consecrated by the bishop), he is minister of the sacraments for the community, he preaches the Gospel and catechizes; it is his duty to keep in unity the charisms of the people of God; he appears as the ordinary minister of the local eucharistic community, and the diocese is thus a communion of eucharistic communities," The Sacrament of Order in the Life of the Church of the Joint International Commission, 1988, 42. go back

23. The wicked persecutor's wrath was vented on Lawrence, the deacon, who was pre-eminent not only in the performance of sacred rites, but also in the management of the church's property... Leo the Great, Sermon 85 (On the feast of St. Lawrence), II. St. Stephen, the first martyr, was also the first deacon. Deacons were called forth from the community to be ministers of service to the community. They were given the responsibility to care for the sick, widowed and the orphaned. This freed the bishops and priests to preach the word of God. The role of the diaconate expanded to encompass the temporal administration of the church, as is seen in the case of St. Lawrence, who along with St. Stephen in many churches is found on the icon screen. This administration led to the suppression of the diaconate until Vatican II. In the Eastern Church the deacon was given a greater liturgical role in leading and representing the people. It is the deacon through the raising of his orar in prayer that raises up the prayer of the people and in lowering, it shows the people when to respond. The reason that angels are usually found on the deacons' doors is because deacons represent the angels around the throne of God. They are the angels who go forth and minister to the people. go back

24 Wherever the bishop appears, let the people gather; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Smyraeans. 8. The role of the bishop is to shepherd the flock. The faithful are in need of someone to guide and to protect them. The bishop is guided by the Scriptures, which is shown by the placing of the Gospel book over his head during the ordination. The bishop also works within the synod of bishops. Just as Jesus constituted an assembly in the twelve apostles, in the Eastern Churches the bishops as successors to the apostles are related with and united to one another. The bishop through the imposition of his hands can consecrate another Bishop or ordain a priest. "By virtue, therefore of the Holy Spirit who has been given to them, bishops have been constituted true and authentic teachers of the faith and have been made pontiffs and pastors." Christus Dominus 2.2. go back

25. Let the bishop have power over the funds of the Church, so as to dispense them with all piety and in fear of God to all in need. Canon XXV of the Council of Antioch (341). The Holy Spirit acts within individual's lives through the gift of divine energies, but the Spirit also acts on and through institutions. There are divine gifts that are given for the good of humanity. These can be found in the activities of the church. The church does many charitable works for the poor and infirm. These activities are the means that the Spirit uses to reach the hearts of persons that may not have been able to reach any other way. A person who is ill and in a Catholic hospital may have their eyes opened to see the activity of the Spirit and thus change their heart because of the Christian nature of the care there. It is for this reason that the Church runs schools and hospitals. They are tools used to bring persons to salvation. go back

26. Is it not plain and uncontestable that the ordering of the Church is effected through the Spirit. Basil the Great, On the Spirit, XVI. 39. It was the Holy Spirit, working for the salvation of the world, that was poured out upon the apostles at Pentecost. This coming of the Spirit gave birth to the church. The creation of the church is one of the ways that God acts within the world. It is through the church that God is made manifest to the faithful and how the faithful can partake of the divine energies. go back

I n  t h e  S p i r i t
A Catechesis in Preparation for the Third Millenium
Reverend Jonathan Morse, Ph.D.

Year 1998, Volume II.

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1. By the visitation of the Paraclete, * sanctify the Temple which is consecrated to You; * and by the coming of the Spirit, * dispel error and heresy, * O most merciful Word of God. Sunday of Orthodoxy, Orthros Canon, Ode 4, 1st Troparion The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. Truth dwells within the Church because the Holy Spirit dwells there throughout time. As the Spirit is the agent of the Incarnation, the Spirit brought about on Pentecost the Church. The Church is the living Body of Christ present in the World. As a body it is ordered. Each part of the Body has its place and its function. Likewise, in the Church each person has their place and their function. The Head of this Body known as the Church is Christ. The Spirit continues to support the Church in dispelling all errors and heresies. Heresies threaten the life of the Church because those who fall into these false teachings separate themselves from the life of the Body. Schism is also disruptive to the unity of the Body. While schism does not involve false teachings, schism causes enmity between members of the one Body. go back

2. "Come, o faithful, let us celebrate the feast of the fiftieth day: the day which concludes the Feast of feasts, the day on which the pre-ordained promise is fulfilled; the day when the Comforter descends upon the earth in tongues of fire; the day of the disciples enlightenment ..." Sessional Hymn I of Pentecost Sunday Matins. To invoke the Holy Spirit is to make Christ present. It is for this reason that we begin each Divine Liturgy and most other prayer services with the prayer, "Heavenly King." This role of the Spirit is found in Scripture. The Holy Spirit is present at the Incarnation making Christ present. When Christ begins his ministry, the Spirit is present. After the Ascension when Christ was no longer present in the world, there was no ministry by the apostles. It would seem though that the instruction of the Lord, to make disciples of all nations, would seem to the first item on their agenda. They waited until Pentecost because then Christ was again made present by the Holy Spirit in His Church and remains present. go back

3. "the virtue of virginity, widowhood, or matrimonial chastity ... rejoice with trembling in these gifts of God" St. Augustine, City of God, I. The Spirit at Pentecost brought into being Christ's Presence in the World in the entity of the Church. The Church is the Body of Christ. The Head of the Body is Christ Himself. The Body of the Church is ordered according to the divine plan. Each member of the Church is a member of the Body. As different parts of a body have a different function, so too with the Body of Christ. Each member of the Church has a different function. The Holy Spirit "bestows upon [the Church] varied hierarchic and charismatic gifts, and in this way directs her." (Lumen Gentium, 4.) All members, no matter what their role, have a dignity inherent as a member of the Church. It is the Spirit who calls each member to their role in the Church. Some are called to serve as priests and religious others are called as married or single persons. All are important to the life of the Church and all are necessary for the growth of the Body. go back

4. "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 everyone of us." Cyril of Alexandria, On the Gospel of John 11,11. The Church continues to carry out the mission of Christ and brings it to completion. The Spirit prepares humanity in order to draw them to Christ. The Spirit to each generation opens their minds to the manifestation of Christ in their lives. The Spirit brings them into communion with God in order that as members of the Church, which is the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit, they may bring others to whom the Spirit may manifest Christ. It is the Spirit then that motivates the evangelizing mission of the Church. go back

5 "You cursed the sterility of the Law * and the knowledge of the letter of the Law, * whose luxuriant leaves covered with its shadow * the absence of any fruit; * but You filled with your blessings * those who sought the grace of the Spirit". Palm Sunday night, Compline Canon, Ode 9, Troparion 4 Holiness comes not from following a law, but through the seeking of the Holy Spirit, who makes Christ present in our lives. If we are in communion with God, we are holy. When the priest prays in the Liturgy, "Holy Things for the Holy," the holy gifts of the Eucharist are to be received by the holy people of God, the Body of Christ present in the praying Church. The holy people of God joined together in the Body of Christ is the Church. Therefore, the Church is Holy. go back

6. "The fullness of the Godhead is imparted to the Body (the Church) through the Head, (Christ)." Pope St. Leo the Great, Sermon on the Nativity, VIII, 7. The Church is "Holy." This does not mean that all members of the Church are holy. All members of the Church, including its priests, must acknowledge that they are sinners. As in Scripture it says "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. .... If we claim we have not sinned, we make him [Christ] out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives." (I John 1:8-10) The Church is made up of saints and sinners, sheep and goats, wheat and weeds. Together, all members are on the path to holiness. As an inspiration to all members of the Body, the Church under the inspiration of the Spirit canonizes some of the faithful, declaring them saints. The most inspiring human example of all is the "all-holy" Mother of God. go back

7. "What an astonishing mystery! There is one Father of the universe, one Logos of the universe, and also one Holy Spirit, everywhere one and the same; there is also one virgin become mother, and I should like to call her 'Church'" St. Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor, 1.6, 42. The Spirit, dwelling in all who believe, creates a fellowship, a communion, a unity. Because there is only one Spirit, which unites all people to the one Christ, the Church, which is His Body is one. The Church then is the one Church established by Christ to bring about the salvation of all the world. It was the choice of people throughout the ages to break this one Church down into many churches. The division of the churches though is an expression of the infinite diversity of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. These churches maintain their oneness by being in communion with each other. The unity of the Church is harmed by apostolic churches that are not in communion with one another. go back

8. "One must bear in mind that God's original wish was that all should be saved and come to His Kingdom. For it was not for punishment that He formed us but to share in His goodness, inasmuch as He is a good God." St. John of Damascus, Orthodox Faith, II, 29. It is not the desire of the Church that only those who are called Christians become one Church. All people of the world make up the human community. All of humanity has as its origin, the one God and Creator of us all. The plan of creation was that all of humanity be one. We acknowledge that the revelation of God is found in Judaism. The Jews were the ones to whom the ancient covenants with God were given. Jesus and Mary were members of the tribes of Israel. Abraham is called the "Father of our Faith." The followers of Islam believe in the God of Abraham as well, and so believe in the same God as Christians. The Church recognizes that an element of the "truth" is found in each of them. go back

9. "Fellowship of the Holy Spirit" Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom Throughout the ages men and women have searched through religion and philosophy for the truth. The descendants of those searchers are found in religions which do not accept the same God and creator. The Church though recognizes that it is this God and creator that is not known to them is the one who gives them life. It is the desire of the Church that those who are ignorant of God and of the Gospel may have the Good News preached to them. So that we may all be together as one in paradise. go back

10. "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 everyone of us." St. Cyril of Alexandria, On the Gospel of John, 11, 11. Each baptized person is a member of the Body of Christ. Just as each part of the body has different functions, each member of the church has a different role to fulfill. As St. Paul noted there are different gifts but the same Spirit. (I Cor. 12:4) Each person that is gifted by God to perform a different role. The same Spirit's gifts appear in a myriad of ways, but the gifts are all ordered upon the building up of the Body of Christ. The gifts given to us are not for our own use but for the benefit of the whole. go back

11. "This Spirit shares with the Son in working both the Creation and the Resurrection, as you were shown by Scripture; By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the power of them by the breath of His Mouth; and this, The Spirit of God that made me, and the Breath of the Almighty that teaches me; and again, You shall send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created, and You shalt renew the face of the earth. And He is the Author of spiritual regeneration." St. Gregory Nazianzus, Oration 41, 14. The Spirit was present at the creation of the world, at the incarnation of Christ and at Pentecost. The Spirit is life giving. There is always, from the human perspective, a sense of the unexpected when the Spirit comes bringing life. We obviously do not expect to be born and death for most comes when least expected. To illustrate this sense the image of wind was used to show the Spirit's activity. The Spirit moves where the Spirit wills. When the Bishops of the Catholic Church met at the Second Vatican Council, no one could have guessed at the first session what would have been the end result of the council. The Bishops through prayer and deliberation discerned the movement of the Spirit and the direction it was moving the Church. The Spirit was breathing life into the Church. Life implies growth. Pain is always part of the growth process, both for individuals and the Church. This can be seen in the early Councils of the Church as well as Vatican II. This Council instructed the Eastern Catholic Churches to rediscover their treasure and restore what was lost. go back

12. "Without prefixing Consulate, month, and day, [the Fathers] wrote concerning Easter, "It seemed good as follows,' for it did then seem good that there should not be a general compliance; but about the faith they wrote not, 'It seemed good,' but 'Thus believes the Catholic Church'; and thereupon they confessed how they believed, in order to show that their own sentiments were not novel but Apostolic; and what they wrote down was no discovery of theirs, but is the same as taught by the Apostles." St. Athanasius, Letter on the Councils of Ariminum and Seleucia. The Bishops by their very office are teachers. They are descendants of the apostles, both individually and collectively. They are responsible for the passing on the faith of the apostles. The bishops together make up the apostolic college, just as the twelve apostles made up the first. The unity of the bishops is for the benefit of the faithful. In communion with one another, while made up of every nation and people, they express the unity of the Church. The college of bishops exercises power over the universal Church in a solemn manner in an ecumenical council. This college of apostles has been entrusted with the faith of the Church that is found in Sacred Scripture and tradition. This faith is a pearl that is to be guarded and a seed to be planted. go back

13. "Let us all follow the bishop, as Jesus Christ follows his Father and the college of presbyters as the apostles; respect the deacons as you do God's law. Let no one do anything concerning the Church in separation from the bishop" St. Ignatius of Antioch, Smyrnians, 8.1 The Holy Spirit is referred to as the "Spirit of Truth." Our Lord says, "I am ... the Truth." As the Spirit makes Christ present, it is the same Spirit who continues to guide and teach in and through the Church. This is why Jesus tells the apostles that the Holy Spirit will teach you everything (John 14:26). This truth -- this faith -- has been entrusted to the Church. When the Bishops express this faith of the Church, it is the obligation of the faithful to accept this truth and to form their minds and consciences according to this truth. These truths have been handed down throughout the centuries. If the bishops say, for example, that Jesus is God. This is the faith of the Church. This expression of the faith is without error, infallible and all members of the Church should accept it as truth for their lives. go back

14. "The root of all good works is the hope of the Resurrection; for the expectation of the recompense nerves the soul to good works. For every laborer is ready to endure the toils, if he sees their reward in prospect; but when men weary themselves for nought, their heart soon sinks as well as their body." Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, 18, 1. Every person desires to be happy. God has placed within each person's heart the aspiration for happiness -- which is the virtue of hope. While it is good to be happy for the here and now, we can forego his momentary happiness for the hoped for joys of heaven. The Holy Spirit, who was "poured out on us through Jesus Christ our savior so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life" (Titus 3:6-7). It is hope that carries us through the bad times. It gives us the reason for going on when the burden is heavy. It helps us keep the faith, when it seems all around us are denying theirs. It is the hope in eternal life that inspires us to lead the good life, a life where we empty ourselves of self-love and fill ourselves with love for the "least ones." go back

15. "The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, A Spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord..." Isaiah 11:2 The above text is the traditional source for the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. (The early Vulgate Bible used "piety" for the first fear of the Lord.) Thus giving the seven gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength (fortitude), knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord. These gifts are given by the Spirit in order to bring persons to perfection. Wisdom is the ability to discern the way of truth. Wisdom can be arrived at through experience for the Spirit can guide us on a path that leads to wisdom. Understanding is the ability to accept the truth in a manner that it gives meaning to our lives. Counsel is the ability to give and take advice. We are given the gift of knowledge which is the instructions we receive. In wisdom we know when to pass them on to others in an understanding manner. But, we must also be willing to listen to the knowledge that comes from the Spirit through others. go back

16. "The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, A Spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord..." Isaiah 11:2 The gift of strength or fortitude is the ability to hold fast to the truth, no matter what is prevailing against us. We will always have sufficient grace. Fear of the Lord is the proper understanding of our relationship with God. When we understand our true lowliness and God's majesty, we then know what is the proper manner in which to live our lives. With fear of the Lord, we also know that we have to respond to God with praise and adoration. We can only do this because of the gift of piety, for only in the Spirit can we raise our voices in praise of God. go back

17. "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." Galatians 5:22-23 The Vulgate (an early Latin edition of the Bible) lists the fruits of the Holy Spirit. This listing has become the common listing that most people learn, as opposed to the more modern English translation. The fruits are charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control and chastity. These are the works that the Spirit accomplishes in a person who is being guided by the Spirit. When a person is living according to the ways of the flesh, according to St. Paul, these fruits will not be found in their lives. go back

18. Jesus tells Nicodemus, "no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit" (John 3:5). St. Cyprian in his first epistle to Donatus explains the being born of water as baptism and the being born of the Spirit as chrismation (confirmation). It is for this reason in the Eastern Church they are done as a single rite. It was the celebration according to St. Cyprian of a "double sacrament." In these early days the ordinary minister of Baptism and Chrismation was the bishop. As the numbers of baptisms increased, it was not possible for the bishop to be present at all places. To handle this situation in the West, the sacraments were given a temporal separation and in the East, the priest who baptizes could chrismate, but he had to use a "myron" consecrated by the bishop. go back

19. "By the seal of the Holy Spirit are sealed all the entrances into your soul, by the seal of the anointing all your members are sealed." St. Ephraim the Syrian A person being chrismated (confirmed) is anointed with the sign of the cross on the forehead, eyes, nostrils, lips, both ears, breast, hands and feet. As the anointing is being done the celebrant prays, "The seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit." A seal is a symbol of a person, a sign of personal authority, or ownership of an object. If I put my signature, a seal, upon a contract, I am accepting responsibility for the agreement. When we are sealed of the Holy Spirit, we are united to God. This is a relationship that can never be broken. We belong to God and God has joined himself to us. We are reminded God's presence in the sealing through the use of a beautifully scented chrism that is used. All the openings through which we learn are sealed with the myron so that as the destroyer passed over the marked houses of the Israelites in Egypt before the last plague, that the destroyer will pass over us because we belong to God. go back

20. "Having therefore become partakers of Christ, you are properly called Christians, and of you God said, "Touch not My anointed ones (Ps 104:15). Now you have been made Christians, by receiving the seal of the Holy Spirit; and all things have been wrought in you by imitation, because you are images of Christ." St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, 21,1. The Fathers of the Eastern Church hold the word "Christian" closely with "Chrismation." Christos and Chrisma both signify "anointment." Very early in the Church the anointing with chrism as well as the laying on of hands were used to signify the gift of the Holy Spirit. The rite of anointing has been continuously maintained in both east and west. The Eastern churches wishing to emphasize the anointing of a Christian prefer the term Chrismation. In the West, because of the separation in time, preferring to suggest the ratification of baptism and the completion of Baptism uses confirmation. go back

21. "By the loving-kindness of God you have heard sufficiently [instructions] at our former meetings concerning Baptism, and Chrism, and partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ; and now it is necessary to pass on to what is next in order, meaning today to set the crown on the spiritual building of your edification." St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, 23,1. St. Cyril in his last lecture to the catechumens (those preparing to be baptized) reminded them of what they learned and now was the time for the celebration of the initiation. Initiation into the Body of Christ is accomplished through three holy mysteries: Baptism, Chrismation and Eucharist. In the early days of the Church these were all done during the same weekend celebration. As time went on the sacraments became to one degree or another separated. For the Eastern Catholic Churches, there is a Vatican inspired or at least encouraged movement to do all three together. The same movement to a lesser degree is found in the West in the restored order of the sacraments, where confirmation is done just prior to First Eucharist. go back

22. "And do no grieve the Holy Spirit of God with which you were sealed for the day of redemption." Ephesians 4:30 The sealing of the Holy Spirit marks our belonging to God, our commitment to service and His promise of divine protection at the awesome judgment seat of Christ. One of the terms for the Holy Spirit is "advocate" or "paraclete." This term literally means "he who is called to one's side." In the ancient world when someone was on trial an advocate was the one who stood by the accused. By his presence he was a character witness. It was though the better the advocate you could get to stand by you, the better person you had to be. So the Holy Spirit stands next to us at the last judgment and we can have no better advocate. go back

23. "First of all we ask, who on hearing the titles of the Spirit is not lifted up in soul, who does not raise his conception to the supreme nature? It is called 'Spirit of God,' 'Spirit of truth which proceeds from the Father,' 'right Spirit,' 'a leading Spirit.' Its proper and peculiar title is 'Holy Spirit;' which is a name specially appropriate to everything that is incorporeal, purely immaterial, and indivisible." St. Basil, On the Holy Spirit, 9. 22. The term "Spirit" is a translation of the Hebrew word ruah, which means breath, air, wind. So in the book of Genesis (1:2) when it is written that there was a mighty wind that swept over the waters and at Pentecost, where it is written there was a noise like a driving wind (Acts 2:2), it is understood by Christians to be the presence of God. The terms Spirit can be used as an attribute common to all three members of the Trinity, as in the Spirit of the Son (Cf. Galatians 4:6). The same is true for "holy," but by joining the two terms, whether in Scripture, liturgy or theology this term designates the third person of the Trinity. go back

24. "I believe in the Holy Spirit ... who proceeds from the Father ..." Nicene Creed One of the most controversial lines in the history of Church unity is the filioque, "and the Son." Scripture and the Creed state that the Son is "begotten" of the Father (Jn 1:14). Scripture states that the Holy Spirit "proceeds" from the Father (Jn 15:26). Commenting upon this St. John of Damascus wrote, "we have learned that there is a difference between generation and procession, but the nature of that difference we in no wise understand. (Orthodox Faith, 8)" These are an attempt to describe the mystical inner relationships of a Trinity that is incomprehensible and beyond understanding. It was the desire of the Churches of the East to be faithful to the Scriptural text and the teaching of the Council. In the West there was a theological problem concerning the divinity of the Holy Spirit so the Creed was changed to answer a local problem. The East objected to the changing of a creed without a council. go back

25. "I believe in the Holy Spirit ... who proceeds from the Father ..." Nicene Creed Both East and West would agree with this statement: "Consubstantial with the Father and the Son, the Spirit is inseparable from them, in both the inner life of the Trinity and his gift of love for the world. In adoring the Holy Trinity, life-giving, consubstantial, and indivisible, the Church's faith also professes the distinction of persons. When the Father sends His Word, he always sends his Breath. In their join mission, the Son and the Holy Spirit are distinct by inseparable. To be sure, it is Christ who is seen, the visible image of the invisible God, but it is the Spirit who reveals Him." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 689.) go back

26 "I believe in the Holy Spirit ... spoken through the prophets ..." Nicene Creed We only know the Spirit through His movements in which he as the Spirit of Truth unveils Christ. The Spirit reveals God, makes Christ known to us but does not reveal himself. The Spirit enables us to hear the Father's Word and disposes us to welcome Him in faith. The Spirit is known to those who believe in Christ because he dwells with in them. In 1999, the themes are the Father, the virtue of Love and the Holy Mystery of the Eucharist. The title for the catechesis is "To the Father." go back

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