Who is the Holy Ghost?
The Holy Ghost is God and the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity.
- Christ often spoke of the Holy Ghost. One of the most solemn occasions was when He Charged the Apostles: "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" (Matt. 28:19).
- On certain occasions, the Holy Ghost appeared in visible form. When Christ was baptized by John the Baptist, the Holy Ghost appeared in the form of a dove. On Pentecost, the Holy Ghost descended with a mighty rushing wind, and rested over the Apostles in the form of tongues of fire.These signs are symbolic of the action of the Holy Ghost. The form of a dove symbolizes the gentleness with which the Holy Spirit works in our souls. The rush of wind represents the strengthening of the will. The fire represents zeal, fervor, and the illumination of the mind.
- The Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son.
This does not mean that the Holy Ghost began to exist later in time than the Father and the Son. He proceeded from them from all eternity; He is to them as warmth is to fire, existing and proceeding at the same time. There can be no fire without warmth; if there were an eternal fire, there would be an eternal warmth. So since there are the eternal Father and Son, there is the eternal Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is the eternal, mutual love that the Father and Son bear each other; but instead of being mere feeling, He is a Person, a Being, God.
- The Holy Ghost is equal to the Father and the Son, because He is God.
True God as the Father and the Son are, the Holy Ghost is eternal, all-knowing, almighty. The Third Person is called Holy Spirit, from the Latin word spiritus, a breath. He was breathed forth by the Father and the Son. In English we also call Him Holy Ghost. Other names used to refer to the Holy Ghost are: Advocate, Paraclete, Consoler, Comforter, Substantial Love, Spirit of Truth, etc.
What does the Holy Ghost do for the salvation of mankind?
The Holy Ghost dwells in the Church as the source of its life, and sanctifies souls through the gift of grace.
- Although all Divine works depend on all Three Persons, we attribute the work of sanctification to God the Holy Ghost, because He is the oneness of love of the Father and the Son, and the sanctification of man by grace reveals that boundless love. "Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" (1 Cor. 3:16).
- After Baptism, we have the Holy Ghost in our hearts and He remains with us as long as we have no mortal sin on our souls. This is the gift of "sanctifying grace".
Then we say that the Spirit of God dwells in us. We should therefore treat our body with great reverence, for it is the temple of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Ghost is given in a very special manner in the sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Orders.
- The Holy Ghost is the source of the life of the Church. He consoles, guides, and imparts strength to it, as Christ promised
"The Church was filled with the consolation of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 9:31). "Many things yet I have to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when he, the Spirit of truth, has come, he will teach you all the truth" (John 16:12-13).