Holy Spirit . . . Holy Ghost?

How do you begin to talk about a person who has been referred to as a ghost? A Holy Ghost for sure, but a ghost.

First of all the title Holy Ghost comes from the Latin “Sancto Spiritu”. For hundreds of years a person living without a body was referred to as a ghost”. (Remember Dicken’s “The Ghost of Christmas Past”?)

Recent translations, fearing association with “goblins” and the “occult” translate this person as the “Holy Spirit”.

Who is the Holy Spirit? It is a person. A person who is the fullness of God yet one who has always been God with two other persons . . . the Father and the Son. The three are forever One God but each has a unique “modality” or special operating manner.

Traditionally the divine division of labor looks like this: God the Father is Creator of heaven and earth. God the Son is the perfect expression or “Word” of the Father. (The Word became flesh). God the Holy Spirit is the love that has always existed between the Father and Son. He is the Sanctifier. God in the Trinity is Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier. (More about this next week!)

Sooo . . . the Holy Spirit . . . is God’s “inner love” for His Son and Son for Father.

This “inner love of God” is “poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.” Rm. 5:5 Increasingly God loves us with the same love he has for His Divine Son. (Hear Jesus’s words to his Father from last Sunday, “and I have given them the glory you gave me . . . so that the world may know . . . that you (Father) loved them even as you loved me. I will make it known that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them” Jn. 17:24-26

So what is this love of the Holy Spirit like? Well as you can imagine, it’s different that our natural loves.

It’s different than, “I love the smell of lavender” or “I love Paris in the springtime” or even “I love Rock and Roll.” It’s more than a feeling; it’s God’s inner life.

It looks like Jesus. But Jesus isn’t here. Yes he is. His person is here in the Holy Spirit. Not just a memory, or a dream or a “best wish”, the Holy Spirit makes present the love of God the Father and the Son.

But what does it do? Where do I look to see it? How can I touch it? Here are some signs of the presence of the Holy Spirit. (Read Galatians 5:22, 23). They are called the “Fruits of the Holy Spirit”. In other words the Holy Spirit makes these things happen and they witness to his presence.

Love: “Whoever lives in love, lives in God.” 1 Jn. 4:16

Joy: “I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” Jn. 15:11

Peace: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. Not as the world gives peace.” Jn. 14:27

Patience, Kindness, Gentleness: Doesn’t life change in a Godly way when these are present? (I could really use these. Load me up Holy Spirit!)

Freedom: “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Cor. 3:17

Courage, Generosity, Self Control: Don’t tell me you don’t need some help here! Come Holy Spirit!

Anyway, that’s what God wants to give us when He sends us the Holy Spirit. These virtues are part of God’s own inner life. We become sharers in His Divine Life. And how long will he give us this life?

How’s FOREVER sound?

Fr. Tim