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The Holy Spirit and the era of the Church

The coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost commenced the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise at the Last Supper. The description of the tongues of fire and strong driving wind draw us into that moment, creating awe and anticipation in heart and soul. Continuing our exploration of the encyclical of John Paul II on the Holy Spirit, let it satisfy the wonder of it all. Our journey back to the Father brought forth the presence of the Holy Spirit in a new way; the Lord of Light, Father of the poor, healer of our wounds and our soul’s most delightful Guest (cf. Sequence for the Solemnity of Pentecost).

In the encyclical Dominum et vivificantem, John Paul II continued: “Having accomplished the work that the Father had entrusted to the Son on earth (cf. Jn 17:4), on the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit was sent to sanctify the Church forever, so that believers might have access to the Father through Christ in one Spirit (cf. Eph 2:18). He is the Spirit of life, the fountain of water springing up to eternal life (cf. Jn 4:14; 7:38), the One through whom the Father restores life to those who are dead through sin, until one day he will raise in Christ their mortal bodies” (cf. Rm 8:10)

“The era of the Church began with the ‘coming,’ that is to say with the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles gathered in the Upper Room in Jerusalem, together with Mary, the Lord’s Mother (cf. Acts 1:14). The time of the Church began at the moment when the promises and predictions that so explicitly referred to the Counselor, the Spirit of truth, began to be fulfilled in complete power and clarity upon the Apostles, thus determining the birth of the Church. The Acts of the Apostles speak of this at length and in many passages, which state that in the mind of the first community, whose convictions Luke expresses, the Holy Spirit assumed the invisible but in a certain way ‘perceptible’ guidance of those who, after the departure of the Lord Jesus, felt profoundly that they had been left orphans. With the coming of the Spirit they felt capable of fulfilling the mission entrusted to them. They felt full of strength. It is precisely this that the Holy Spirit worked in them and this is continually at work in the Church, through their successors” (Dominum et vivificantem).

“As the Council writes, ‘the Spirit dwells in the Church and in the hearts of the faithful as in a temple (cf. 1 Cor 3:16; 6:19). In them He prays and bears witness to the fact that they are adopted sons (cf. Gal 4:6; Rm 8:15-16:26). The Spirit guides the Church into the fullness of truth (cf. Jn 16:13) and gives her a unity of fellowship and service. He furnishes and directs her with various gifts, both hierarchical and charismatic, and adorns her with the fruits of His grace (cf Eph 4:11-12; 1 Cor 12:4; Gal 5:22). By the power of the Gospel He makes the Church grow, perpetually renews her and leads her to perfect union with her Spouse'” (Lumen gentium, n. 4).

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