Article for August 16, 2020


“I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.”

This week we continue on with the Creed, now looking at the third person of the Holy Trinity: The Holy Spirit.  I’m sure that everyone who would be reading this has probably at least heard of the Holy Spirit.  But apart from the fact that He is God and exists, I am not so sure that many Christians know very much about the Holy Spirit. 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes how the Holy Spirit is known by several different titles.  He is probably most often called the Paraclete, which can be translated as advocate or consoler.  Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as “the Spirit of Truth”.  St. Paul also refers to Him as the Spirit of adoption, the Spirit of promise, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, and the Spirit of the Lord.  St. Peter, in his first epistle, calls Him the Spirit of Glory.  Each of these titles tell us a little more about Him. 

There are many symbols for the Holy Spirit as well.  The Holy Spirit appears in the Gospels as a dove at Christ’s baptism in the Jordan River and as tongues of fire at Pentecost, so water, fire, and a dove are very big symbols.  Anointing is also a big symbol, which is why we anoint with oil those who are being baptized and confirmed.  When God speaks to people in Sacred Scripture, he often does so from a light filled cloud, so light and clouds are other symbols. 

In the Creed we say the Holy Spirit is “the giver of life”.  This reminds us that He was present at the creation of the world.  There is also a deep connection between “spirit” and “breath” as both words are translated as ruah in Hebrew.  So when Jesus breathed on the Apostles and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (Jn 20:22), He was making a great connection between, life, breath, and spirit.

Saying that He “proceeds from the Father and the Son” we are saying we believe that Father, Son, and Spirit are all of the same substance.  They are all one God.   Therefore, we worship them as one God.  That is why in the next phrase we say that all three are “adored and glorified”. 

Lastly we say the He “has spoken through the prophets”.  By “prophets”, the Church does not just mean the prophets of the Old Testament, like Elijah, Isaiah, and Jeremiah.  They are talking about anyone who has been inspired by the Holy Spirit to speak for God.  So it includes those we call prophets as well as all those who wrote both the Old and New Testaments.  In short, the Holy Spirit is the primary author of Sacred Scripture.  This is what we believe.