Holy Spirit

Catechism on the Holy Spirit and pre-Pentecost Meandering


“No one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” Now God’s Spirit, who reveals God, makes known to us Christ, his Word, his living Utterance, but the Spirit does not speak of himself. The Spirit who “has spoken through the prophets” makes us hear the Father’s Word, but we do not hear the Spirit himself. We know him only in the movement by which he reveals the Word to us and disposes us to welcome him in faith. The Spirit of truth who “unveils” Christ to us “will not speak on his own.” Such properly divine self-effacement explains why “the world cannot receive [him], because it neither sees him nor knows him,” while those who believe in Christ know the Spirit because he dwells with them…

Fire. While water signifies birth and the fruitfulness of life given in the Holy Spirit, fire symbolizes the transforming energy of the Holy Spirit’s actions. The prayer of the prophet Elijah, who “arose like fire” and whose “word burned like a torch,” brought down fire from heaven on the sacrifice on Mount Carmel. This event was a “figure” of the fire of the Holy Spirit, who transforms what he touches. John the Baptist, who goes “before [the Lord] in the spirit and power of Elijah,” proclaims Christ as the one who “will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” Jesus will say of the Spirit: “I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled!” In the form of tongues “as of fire,” the Holy Spirit rests on the disciples on the morning of Pentecost and fills them with himself The spiritual tradition has retained this symbolism of fire as one of the most expressive images of the Holy Spirit’s actions. “Do not quench the Spirit.”

–Catechism of the Catholic Church.  Other authentically defined symbols of the Holy Spirit: water, anointing, cloud and light (touched on in yesterdays post), the seal, the hand, the finger, lastly and most commonly the dove.

Personal meandering:

All glory to God, an exhilarating Memorial Day weekend awaits. Settling into a new home, I feel blessed. The Holy Spirit novena comes to a close with Pentecostal celebration posed for exaltation. The Holy Spirit kisses upon the forehead, gradually acquiring a taste for nothing but the Divine, imperfections providing humility, the reality of so much further to transcend. I sit patiently, biting upon the chomp. I still get a headache sometimes from so many thoughts assailing. A stomach ache and severe hurting of the soul when a certain someone plays upon my mind. Speaking to my spiritual director, he became agitated, insisting that I had to slow down. I was throwing so many things at him within moments, he became overwhelmed. He tries to keep things simple, while I just explode with thoughts, aspirations, dementations, interpretations–an overall vomiting of thoughts and concerns. I asked a priest if a certain personal battle, lust, would ever cease, admitting there are certain battles I feel I will never win. He responded well of course they will end, approximately three or four days after your death. In other words, evermore will I contend. Human, I am. So I have a mind that races, excited, continually pursuing battles, and achievements. Matters that really amount to nothing, wasting time has been a specialty for years. My spiritual director stated you have a rich interior life. It was not a compliment, rather a challenge. Now what to do? Centering myself at St Paul’s Shrine has become intrinsic, something I cannot avoid. Today before mass I was so excited to share news with Sister Clare Marie. She feels I brought to much food last week, worrying I will do the same in the near future. I waved to her to approach, before the Eucharist, and she responded reluctantly. I always love her reticent way of approaching me, internally I imagine her thinking, ‘now, what is he up to? I have to be careful around this one.’ I said, ‘Sister, I am going to bring something very special tomorrow. Can you guess?” I knew she would be thinking in terms of food. She responded questionably “donuts”, unspoken stating do not bring too much food this week. “My mother”, I declared. She smiled, cooing, “That is good”. My mother will attend mass tomorrow with me at St Paul’s. I will drive over a hundred miles one way in order to bring her back to Cleveland with me. I am so excited. There are many profound reasons why this is so important, essential to spiritual blossoming. It will be an incredible day. The following day, Memorial Day, I will return to the friary, reconciling with Father David Mary. At least, that is my intention, may God’s will be supporting, the Holy Spirit providing and abiding. I am writing this moment upon my new front porch. I love Cleveland Heights, the hipster neighborhood as I have identified it. There are two black men helping the oriental homeowner next door restore his rental property. Basketball talking, the Cavs discussing, people are a blast to encounter. A morning of shopping at Coventry, poetry books, a mystery, a spiritual biography purchased, cold coffee drank and a consignment store explored makes for pleasantries. I enjoy being around the younger generation, millennials as they are tagged. My son in Ann Arbor I place into the category. Aware, socially conscious, penetrating in their ambition to embrace life in a choke hold, I find them inspiring to share life with. I just read an interview with Bob Dylan in the AARP magazine in which he states passion is the pursuit of young people. To live based upon passion, an exterior life lived through others, as an aging man is to ask for trouble. ‘You might just get seriously hurt’, Bob Dylan firmly states, in a way only he can. Wisdom is the aim for those advanced in age. Allowing the absorbing of all surrounding, forgiving and loving, rising above all other needs and interpretations. I think of my former spiritual partner, imagining she is once again perusing single websites, focused upon dating, the bringing in of others as if exterior efforts that never worked in the past will bring in some new experience that will allow the living of life to attain a deeper meaning. Unable to ever truly conduct an adult Catholic romantic relationship with another, the absolute consummation of dating will dominate her mind.  Living like a teenager when one is older is really superficial, sad, a blocking of the necessity of developing an interior life based upon prayer, a truly contemplative approach embracing pain, boredom, and shame unable to be accomplished. Others must call forth compassion. We must truly become prayerful if we are to age properly. To create depth we must be willing to become empty, to truly develop the ability to sit still contently, contritely silent in thought and deed, adoring while absorbing who we truly are, and what the Trinity truly presents. Forcing, exerting perverse self-will, constantly attempting to fill, using people as entertainment, while unable to attain, share, intimate Catholic depth, is spiritually stifling, a sign of inadequacies and deprivation. I am still amazed how many people find it necessary to establish their spiritual life based upon their interactions with others. If only I can impress this one with my thoughts, acumen, and knowledge. Seeking sweet consolations through interaction with others becomes everything. What else could there possibly be? Lacking an interior life, one’s hope becomes centered in others. I think of this afternoon’s communal Rosary, Divine Mercy, and extensive offertory vocal prayer session and my holy Philippine friend lamenting, loudly going into a tirade regarding family members who constantly disrespect her, stab her in the back with gossip, and overall cause her extreme strife in their inability to properly conduct themselves before God. I smile inside thinking: Mary must have had a difficult time with relatives this week. I look to the Eucharist, envisioning the Holy Spirit hovering above, God, the Father sitting eternal. As it was in the beginning, it is now, and forever shall be. World without end. I have also discovered Shaker Lake, a fine park for walking. The body and exercise being central to the foreshadowing of sun and a plentiful summer. This week I started a new experience, praying, worried a bit to venture too far away from that which has proven to work, I employed what proved to be the pleasure of participating in a yoga class. It was nice. I will return weekly. I exchanged wonderful e-mails with the instructor, identifying and respecting personal paths, separate pursuits to the divine, together with others, we will share in trying to get the best out of this personal temple God splendidly graced. I was pleased to receive approval from my spiritual director regarding the effort. Passing by, a wonderful family of three walking daughters, a mother pushing the fourth, an infant, in a stroller just meandered past. The Cleveland Heights neighborhood is really working. An amusing moment after the yoga session. A woman walked with me to my car, telling me about her familiarity with yoga. I observed her during the session noticing her agreeable disposition. I could not identify her accent, a strange inflection coloring her words. I asked her if she possessed a foreign accent. She answered, ‘No, I am hearing impaired. It causes me to speak strangely’. Something about the way she stated the words made me laugh, which brought a smile to her face. She said ‘I was also raised in Boston, kind of a foreign country, yet that was years ago’. People are pleasing, smiling forward on into the contemplative I saunter. Others are a means of sharing, an investment accentuating the prayerful life.  Two teenage punk rock girls, one with blue hair, just passed, one walking two large Great Danes.

The two great commandments that contain the whole law of God are:

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength;

Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.


The Holy Spirit gift of Wisdom

Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the LORD settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days; and on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. Now the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. And Moses entered the cloud, and went up on the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights…  –Exodus

He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority.  But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Sama’ria and to the end of the earth.”  And when he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.  And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”  —Acts of the Apostles  

Holy Spirit Novena eighth day (EWTN)

Bend the stubborn heart and will,
melt the frozen,
warm the chill.
Guide the steps that go astray!

WISDOM: Embodying all the other gifts, as charity embraces all the other virtues, Wisdom is the most perfect of the gifts. Of wisdom it is written “all good things came to me with her, and innumerable riches through her hands.” It is the gift of Wisdom that strengthens our faith, fortifies hope, perfects charity, and promotes the practice of virtue in the highest degree. Wisdom enlightens the mind to discern and relish things divine, in the appreciation of which earthly joys lose their savor, whilst the Cross of Christ yields a divine sweetness according to the words of the Saviour: “Take up thy cross and follow me, for my yoke is sweet and my burden light.

Come, O Spirit of Wisdom, and reveal to my soul the mysteries of heavenly things, their exceeding greatness, power and beauty. Teach me to love them above and beyond all the passing joys and satisfactions of earth. Help me to attain them and possess them for ever. Amen.

Mary: Sedes Sapientiae (“The Throne of Wisdom”)

Sedes Sapientiae: Mary the Throne of Wisdom

Sedes Sapientiae: Mary the Throne of Wisdom



St Liguori on the Holy Spirit


Holy Spirit,
Divine Consoler,
I adore You as my true God,
with God the Father and God the Son.
I adore You and unite myself to the adoration
You receive from the angels and saints.

I give You my heart
and I offer my ardent thanksgiving
for all the grace which You never cease to bestow on me.

O Giver of all supernatural gifts,
who filled the soul of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
Mother of God, with such immense favors,
I beg You to visit me with Your grace
and Your love and to grant me the gift of holy fear,
so that it may act on me as a check to prevent me
from falling back into my past sins,
for which I beg pardon.

Grant me the gift of piety,
so that I may serve You for the future with increased
follow with more promptness Your holy inspirations,
and observe your divine precepts with greater fidelity.

Grant me the gift of knowledge,
so that I may know the things of God and,
enlightened by Your holy teaching, may walk,
without deviation, in the path of eternal salvation.

Grant me the gift of fortitude,
so that I may overcome courageously all the assaults of
the devil,
and all the dangers of this world which threaten the
salvation of my soul.

Grant me the gift of counsel,
so that I may choose what is more conducive to my
spiritual advancement
and may discover the wiles and snares of the tempter.

Grant me the gift of understanding,
so that I may apprehend the divine mysteries
and by contemplation of heavenly things detach my thoughts
and affections from the vain things of this miserable

Grant me the gift of wisdom,
so that I may rightly direct all my actions,
referring them to God as my last end;
so that, having loved Him and served Him in this life,
I may have the happiness of possessing Him eternally in
the next.


St Alphonsus Liguori

St Alphonsus Liguori


Trinity and Mary

And the angel said to her (Mary), “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.” –Gospel of Luke

coronation of mary


Holy Spirit novena marching forward

The Gift of Fortitude

By the gift of Fortitude the soul is strengthened against natural fear, and supported to the end in the performance of duty. Fortitude imparts to the will an impulse and energy which move it to under take without hesitancy the most arduous tasks, to face dangers, to trample under foot human respect, and to endure without complaint the slow martyrdom of even lifelong tribulation. “He that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved.”


Come, O Blessed Spirit of Fortitude, uphold my soul in time of trouble and adversity, sustain my efforts after holiness, strengthen my weakness, give me courage against all the assaults of my enemies, that I may never be overcome and separated from Thee, my God and greatest Good. Amen.

Once when he was sitting there…it happened, as in a vision, as if he were somehow led into a different land. It seemed to him that his angel was standing very kindly in front of him to is right. The servant got up quickly and embraced the beloved angel, hugging him and pressing him to his soul as lovingly as he could. There seem to be nothing at all separating them. From a full heart he began to speak with a lamenting voice and weeping eyes, ‘Alas, my Angel. Whom dear God has given me for consolation and protection, I beg you by the love you have for God not to abandon me. “The angel answered and said, “Do you dare to mistrust God? Look, God has embraced you so lovingly in his eternity that he shall never leave you”. –Henry Suso ‘The Exemplar, the Life of the Servant’


Saint John Vianney sermon on the Holy Spirit

A link to a wonderful Catholic Saints site the work was abridged from.


O my Children, how beautiful it is! The Father is our Creator, the Son is our Redeemer, and the Holy Ghost is our Guide. . . . Man by himself is nothing, but with the Holy Spirit he is very great. Man is all earthly and all animal; nothing but the Holy Spirit can elevate his mind, and raise it on high. Why were the saints so detached from the earth? Because they let themselves be led by the Holy Spirit. Those who are led by the Holy Spirit have true ideas; that is the reason why so many ignorant people are wiser than the learned. When we are led by a God of strength and light, we cannot go astray….That is the reason why the most Holy Virgin never sinned. The Holy Ghost made her understand the hideousness of sin; she shuddered with terror at the least fault….Those who have the Holy Spirit cannot endure themselves, so well do they know their poor misery. The proud are those who have not the Holy Spirit….A Christian who is led by the Holy Spirit has no difficulty in leaving the goods of this world, to run after those of Heaven….The eyes of the Christian see deep into eternity….A soul that possesses the Holy Spirit tastes such sweetness in prayer, that it finds the time always too short; it never loses the holy presence of God. Such a heart, before our good Saviour in the Holy Sacrament of the Altar, is a bunch of grapes under the wine press. The Holy Spirit forms thoughts and suggests words in the hearts of the just….You who are not great saints, you still have many moments when you taste the sweetness of prayer and of the presence of God: these are visits of the Holy Spirit. When we have the Holy Spirit, the heart expands–bathes itself in divine love….The Holy Spirit is like a gardener cultivating our souls….The Holy Spirit is our servant…. The Holy Spirit reposes in just souls like the dove in her nest….The Holy Spirit leads us as a mother leads by the hand her child of two years old, as a person who can see leads one who is blind….The Sacraments which Our Lord instituted would not have saved us without the Holy Spirit. Even the death of Our Lord would have been useless to us without Him. Therefore Our Lord said to His Apostles, “It is good for you that I should go away; for if I did not go, the Consoler would not come”. The descent of the Holy Ghost was required, to render fruitful that harvest of graces. It is like a grain of wheat–you cast it into the ground; yes, but it must have sun and rain to make it grow and come into ear. We should say every morning, “O God, send me Thy Spirit to teach me what I am and what Thou art.”