I Shall Not Leave You Orphaned
The Holy Spirit, also known as the Paraclete or the Advocate or the Consoler, is the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity who proceeds from the Father and the Son, and thereby expresses their love for each other. He is fully God – just as much so as the Father and the Son. He is sent into our hearts as an expression of God’s love for us.
The Holy Spirit can be represented by several symbols: living water (especially at the Sacrament of Baptism), anointing with oil (especially at the Sacrament of Confirmation), fire, cloud, imposition of hands (especially at Ordination), or a dove.
In the New Testament, Jesus promises the coming of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1,8).
This promise was fulfilled at Pentecost, when the Apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit, and were thus able to speak in various languages and tell people the Good News. This promise is still being fulfilled now.
Therefore the Holy Spirit’s role in the Church, and indeed the world, is seen as empowering people to proclaim God’s message and to discern God’s will. This can be seen in the Scriptures, which he inspired, the Tradition of the Church, the Magisterium, the liturgy, prayer, charisms and gifts, apostolic and missionary life, and the lives of the Saints.
However it is not just since the Son’s coming that the Holy Spirit has been active in the world. He too is eternal, and, in the light of the revelation of the New Testament, we can see His work in the Old Testament, for example in the Creation story in Genesis, and inspiring the Prophets. There is a sense of expectancy and promise with the Old Testament Holy Spirit, and it is this same Spirit who anoints Jesus and marks Him out as Christ.
Mary, the Mother of God, was also marked out as special by being filled with the Holy Spirit, which prepared her so that she was ‘full of grace’ and without sin, in order to conceive Jesus.
The Holy Spirit then has been, and still is, active throughout history.