“Holy Spirit, reflect in us, as in a mirror, the glory of the Lord Jesus, that we may be transformed into His image.” (2 Cor. 3:18)
This year we will reflect on a very ancient prayer, a 13th-century text that in poetic form takes up various invocations that the Christian community has been raising to the Holy Spirit since the very first centuries of Christianity.
It is indeed a rich prayer, a true treasure of the Church, and therefore it is also called the “Golden Sequence.”
In this brief reflection we want to ask, “Who is the Holy Spirit and why do we invoke Him?”
Although in a veiled way, already in the Old Testament the Spirit is spoken of. Explicit revelation of the Holy Spirit, however, is reserved for the New Testament.
Jesus presents Him as a divine Person, as that “Spirit of truth” who will come to continue the work of redemption and bear witness to Jesus himself: “The Comforter whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness of me.” (Jn. 15:26)
Jesus therefore when he ascends to heaven does not leave us alone but sends us the Holy Spirit called the Comforter because he comforts us with his presence of Love.
Saint John Paul II in his encyclical “Dominum et Vivificantem” (Lord and Giver of Life) says that the Holy Spirit is “PERSONA DONO, PERSONA AMORE.” The literal translation would be: “PERSON GIFT, PERSON LOVE.”
A gift not given is not a gift. So, the Holy Spirit is a gift that is given, namely He is Love.
The very nature of the Holy Spirit is to be a gift, a gift so real that it is not an object, but it is a PERSON. The Holy Spirit is the exchangeable outpouring of the Father and the Son, an outpouring so substantial and perfect that it is a PERSON, the third Person of the Trinity.
If we wanted to give an example to explain this to children, we could take two identical magnets. The first magnet represents the Father and the second magnet represents the Son. When I bring the two magnets together, they strongly attract each other. This force of attraction is the magnetic field. This is how we could define the Holy Spirit.
We human beings are made to be attracted to God. We are not like an object made of plastic, or cloth or wood, but we are like an object made of iron that when approached by the magnet can only become magnetized and attract other pieces of iron to the magnet itself.
Thus, Saint John Paul II tells us: “The Love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Rom. 5:5)
This Spirit of Love attracts us strongly to Himself, transforms us, magnetizes us, and enables us to magnetize the reality around us, to bring more love into the world.
For example, the Holy Spirit touches a pagan, Abraham, and makes him The father of Faith; He touches a shepherd, David, and he becomes a king; He looks at Mary and she becomes the Mother of God; He calls Saul and he becomes Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles; He touches Augustine, a sinner, and he becomes a Doctor of the Church; He touches Francis and he becomes one of the best known and most beloved saints.
If the Holy Spirit has worked all these things in the lives of so many, he works and continues to work all these things in us. But how does the Holy Spirit work?
When we turn away from Him, He does not leave us alone, but He torments and “pricks” us so that we awaken from the complacence of a false peace given by the pleasures of life. When, on the other hand, we are walking on the “straight path,” He comforts us, gives us courage so that we persevere without tiring, that is, He animates us by breathing His breath of life into us.
Without the Holy Spirit we do not live, and even if we still walk and move, we are like walking, lackluster bodies wandering aimlessly. On the other hand, when the Holy Spirit dwells in us, He brings in us fruits of life. Saint Paul lists them in his letter to the Galatians, “The fruit of the Spirit, on the other hand, is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Gal. 5:22)
If these are the fruits of the Spirit and they are truly beautiful and desirable fruits, let us prepare ourselves to receive the Holy Spirit. Let us constantly invoke him with our hearts, “Come, Come, Come Holy Spirit, Come.”
Try to invoke the Holy Spirit several times a day, especially at times of temptation, or at challenging times of the day or when we are making decisions, “Come Holy Spirit, Come.”
This month’s meditation is by Sr. Loredana Mazzei, AVI.