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제목 The Role of the Holy Ghost in Charity(2015-05-17)
작성자 관리자 작성일 2015-05-18



The Role of  the Holy Ghost in Charity

(17th  May  2015.  Sunday after the Ascension)


My dear brethren,


 After the Ascension, the Church is expecting the coming of the Holy Ghost. He is the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity; He is true God: indeed one may build a temple only to God, now St Paul says: “Know you not, that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16). And a little later he is even clearer: “Or know you not, that your members are the temple of the Holy Ghost, who is in you, whom you have from God; and you are not your own? For you are bought with a great price. Glorify and bear God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

 Our Lord Jesus Christ had said: “no one knoweth the Son, but the Father: neither doth any one know the Father, but the Son, and he to whom it shall please the Son to reveal him” (Mt. 11:27). Yet St Paul tells us: “the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (1 Cor. 2:10). The Holy Ghost has that thorough knowledge of God only be because He is true God, equal with the Father and the Son.

 The unanimous teaching of the Church is that He proceeds from the Father and the Son by way of love, as a flame of love. The Holy Ghost is the Spirit of the Father  and of the Son . He is sent by the Father  and by the Son . Our Lord Jesus Christ tells us about that ineffable procession of the Holy Ghost in these words: “All things whatsoever the Father hath, are mine. Therefore I said, that He [the Holy Ghost] shall receive of mine, and shew it to you” (Jn. 16:15). He is the One Love binding them in an effable way.

 This Divine love is the principle of all His works (God created us because He is good, out of love), and the ultimate goal of all His works, especially the greatest of all works, the Incarnation and Redemption. Thus it is by the Holy Ghost that the Blessed Virgin Mary conceived our Lord Jesus Christ, at the beginning of the life of Jesus on earth; and at its end, our Lord offered Himself on the Cross also by the Holy Ghost, as St Paul says: “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who by the Holy Ghost offered himself unspotted unto God, cleanse our conscience from dead works, to serve the living God?” (Heb. 9:14).

 The Holy Ghost is the Spirit of Holiness; He inflames our heart with the desire for holiness, and holiness essentially consists in charity: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind: and thy neighbour as thyself” (Lk. 10:27).

 The Holy Ghost is the “Spirit of Truth” (Jn. 14:17, 15:26, 1Jn 4:6), that is, He gives us the LOVE of the Truth (and hence the detestation of error, since error destroys truth); He does NOT teach NOVELTIES, but rather “the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you” (Jn. 14:26). He does not reveal novelties, but rather helps us to remember and keep that which our Lord Jesus Christ has already revealed, that which has been handed down from our Lord Jesus Christ by the Apostles and their successors: Tradition! When Pope Pius IX defined the infallibility of the Pope, he said that “the Holy Ghost was promised to Peter and his successors, not so that by his revelation new truth may be revealed, but that by His help they might guard sacredly the revelation transmitted through the apostles and the deposit of faith, and might faithfully set it forth” (Dz 1836).

 With the grace of the Holy Ghost, there is no bitterness in truth, one does not use truth to crush one’s neighbour, but rather to gently help our neighbour to come to the light of the truth. Indeed St Paul says that God “will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4), not that all men actually come, some “always resist the Holy Ghost” (Acts 7:51). But God wants them all to come to the truth, and He does help and through His grace many do come. There is need of missionaries, to kindle everywhere the flames of the Holy Ghost: Archbishop Lefebvre was a member of the “Holy Ghost Fathers”, the largest missionary order before the Council. Let us pray for missionary vocations in the Church.

 The great work of the Holy Ghost for us is to pour divine Charity in our souls: “the charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost, who is given to us” (Rom. 5:5). This charity is the life of the soul; indeed “The just man liveth by faith” (Rom. 1:17), but not any faith, rather “faith that worketh by charity” (Gal. 5:6); indeed “faith without works is dead?” (Jac. 2:20); therefore the Holy Ghost is the “Life-giver”, giving us charity by which we are spiritually living and fulfil the law, indeed “Love therefore is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom. 13:10).

 Too many people think that charity is just a certain nice feeling of love, or certain alms-giving and nothing more. This is a great error! If St John could say: “God is charity” (1 Jn. 4:8), it is evident that charity is much more than such feeling. Charity in our heart is a transforming energy that comes from the Holy Ghost like the great wind of Pentecost, and inflames the soul to the point of taking over our whole life, and makes us ready even to suffer martyrdom and give our life for Christ!

 The Holy Ghost accompanies us through our whole spiritual life: it all starts with the new birth “from the water and the Holy Ghost” (Jn. 3:5), in which He, the Life-giver, gives us this participation in the life of Christ.

 The first effect of Charity in our heart is to give to God the first place in our heart, and direct everything activity to that ultimate goal. The first degree of that charity is in the “ascetic life”, to clean up our soul from anything that would displease our Lord Jesus Christ: the fight against sin and its evil inclinations is a requirement of charity. One does not really love God if he does not hate sin, if he is not faithful to avoid the occasions of sin. Indeed “No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other: or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Mt. 6:24).

 We must respond with generosity to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. How to recognise these promptings? If they detach us from sin (any prompting that does not detach us from sin is surely NOT of the Holy Ghost), if they make us follow the path of our Lord Jesus Christ, especially His virtues that the world does not love, such as humility, chastity, poverty, patience…

 The one who has really understood this does not hesitate to give up everything for Christ’s sake, as He said: “Jesus looking on him, loved him, and said to him: One thing is wanting unto thee: go, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me” (Mk. 10:21). Hence the Church teaches that religious life is the perfection of the Christian life.

 The second degree of charity is in the “illuminative life”, when one has already cut off the habits of sin, and lives habitually in the state of grace, and focuses on knowing and loving better our Lord Jesus Christ, and imitating Him in the practice of virtue: doing what He wants, as He wants, and because He wants it. At that level, we develop “the fruit of the Spirit: charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity, Mildness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity” (Gal. 5:22-23).

 The third degree of charity is in the unitive life, when one focuses on loving more perfectly our Lord Jesus Christ, intensifying charity through all, especially in contemplation. Great contemplatives such as St Theresa of Avila were living at that level. St Paul says of such contemplation: “we all beholding the glory of the Lord with open face, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18). The Holy Ghost wants for us heights of holiness much more than we want it: let us be docile to Him!

 There is a special relation between the Holy Ghost and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Charity indeed has two aspects: to give and to unite. To give oneself to God totally to the point of sacrifice of self, and to unite also totally with God for eternity! We find these two aspects in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, with the consecration where the Sacrifice is offered – and we offer ourselves to God with our Lord Jesus Christ – and the Communion in which we enter into the most intimate union of our soul with God, a transforming union that will be consummated in eternity!

 Last but not least, there is a very intimate union of the Holy Ghost and the Blessed Virgin Mary: “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee” (Lk. 1:35). And indeed, the Holy Ghost accompanies her: she arrives at Elisabeth’s house and salutes her, and behold “behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy - And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:” (Lk. 1:44,41). When she goes to the Temple for the presentation, the Holy Ghost led St Simeon to meet her (Lk. 2:27). Thus in order to prepare themselves properly for the coming of the Holy Ghost, the Apostles and first disciples were gathered around our Lady for these nine days between the Ascension and Pentecost.

 May the Blessed Virgin Mary, “Spiritual Vessel” – or rather “Vase of the Holy Ghost”, help us to know better the Holy Ghost, and obtain for us an abundance of His gifts, to be filled with His charity, so that we may go to Heaven! Amen.  


 Fr. F. Laisney (sspxasia)