Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

​Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Ghost

 

In the picture the Holy Ghost is represented by a dove. It was in that form that the Holy Ghost showed Himself visibly when St. John baptized Jesus. The dove symbolizes gentleness and peace. The Holy Ghost dispenses the graces of God. However, the Holy Ghost produces nothing beyond what Jesus Christ merited. The merits of Our Lord are infinite, for He is God. The Holy Ghost merely perfects, the works of Christ. In a somewhat similar way, the sun shining on a field does not sow new seed; it merely develops what has been sown, making it bloom and bear fruit.

 

    Which are the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost? –The seven gifts of the Holy Ghost are: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.

    The gifts are infused in our souls with sanctitying grace. With God the Holy Ghost come sanctifying grace, and inseparably, His gifts.

     

  1. Wisdom is that gift by which we recognize the emptiness of earthly things. By it we come to regard God and spiritual things as of the highest good. Without the gift of wisdom we are indifferent to spiritual matters, avoiding all mortification.

    The best example of the effects of the gifts of the Holy Ghost are the Apostles, who after receiving the Holy Ghost became penetrated with His graces.

     

  2. Understanding is that gift by which we are enabled to recognize the true Catholic teaching, and to detect false doctrines. Before the descent of the Holy Ghost on the Apostles, they did not understand the divine mysteries Christ revealed to them, often interpreting His words materially.

    Saint Clement Hofbauer began his studies late in life, and had just enough instruction in theology to be ordained. But he was often consulted by high officials of the Church on matters of doctrine, because he had the gift of understanding to an extraordinary degree.

     

  3. The gift of counsel helps us to discover the will of God under difficult circumstances.

    Before they received the Holy Ghost, the Apostles were inconstant in their thoughts, desires, and actions, at one time full of high zeal, at other times despairing and weak. But Christ promised them the gift of counsel, saying: “Do not be anxious how or wherewith you shall defend yourselves; or what you shall say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you” (Luke 12:11-12).

     

  4. Fortitude is the gift by which we are strengthened under trials, to do God’s will.

    Before the descent of the Holy Ghost, the Apostles were of good will, but they were weak and fearful. For instance, when Jesus was taken prisoner, they all fled. St. John Nepomucene chose to be tortured, and finally cast into the river, rather than break the seal of the confessional.

     

  5. The gift of knowledge enables us to grasp the teaching of the Church, to know God and Jesus Christ Whom He sent.

    Before the advent of the Holy Ghost, the Apostles were ignorant men who did not care for intellectual pursuits; neither were they expert in holiness or the things of God. The saintly Cure d’Ars had made but little study, yet his sermons were so remarkable that even Bishops were eager to listen.

     

  6. Piety is that gift by which we love God as our Father, ever striving to do His will.

    Before the coming of the Holy Ghost, the Apostles loved Jesus, but more for their own sakes rather than His, more for the reward He promised than for love of Him. But after Pentecost, what a change! They were ready to suffer death just because they loved Jesus and wished to declare Him everywhere.

     

  7. The fear of the Lord makes us dread sin as the greatest of all evils, and enables us to quell fear of man and human respect.

    Eleazer, the old Jewish scribe, chose death rather than offend God by eating, or even pretending to eat, forbidden meats (2 Mach. 6).

     

  8. Besides these seven gifts, the Holy Ghost also grants certain extraordinary gifts, which are given only on rare occasions and to selected persons. Such extraordinary graces are granted principally not for the benefit of the recipient, but of others. They were common during the early days of the Church, and helped in its rapid spread. Among them are the gift of tongues, of miracles, of visions, and of prophecy. The Apostles received the gift of tongues on Pentecost, so that although they spoke to a crowd of different nationalities and languages, everybody understood what was said.

    The Apostles also possessed the gift of miracles, curing the sick, driving out evil spirits, raising the dead to life. Many saints have been blessed with the gift of miracles. The prophets before the coming of Christ foretold future events. A number of the saints have been granted the gift of visions and ecstasies, though this is rare; good examples are St. Francis of Assisi, who received the stigmata of Our Lord’s wounds, and St. Catherine of Siena.

    How do the gifts of the Holy Ghost help us?The gifts of the Holy Ghost help us by making us more alert to discern and more ready to do the will of God.

     

  1. If we look with discerning eyes, we can see how the gifts of the Holy Ghost have greatly helped the world at large.

    As the psalmist sang: “Thou shalt send forth Thy spirit, and they shall be created: and thou shalt renew the face of the earth” (Ps. 103:30). “And hope does not disappoint, because the charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 5:5).

     

  2. The operations of the Holy Ghost were easily discernible among the early Christians.

    “And they continued, steadfastly in the teaching of the apostles and in the communion of the breaking of the bread and in the prayers. And … many wonders also and signs were done by means of the apostles” (Acts 2:42-43).

     

  3. The difference between the virtues and the gifts of the Holy Ghost consists in this: the virtues enable us to do what our reason directs; the gifts make us follow the inspirations of the Holy Ghost.

    Which are some of the effects in us of the gifts of the Holy Ghost? –Some of the effects in us of the gifts of the Holy Ghost are the fruits of the Holy Ghost and the beatitudes.

      Which are the twelve fruits of the Holy Ghost? –The twelve fruits of the Holy Ghost are: charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, long-suffering, mildness, faith, modesty, continency,and chastity.

       

    1. These twelve fruits of the Holy Ghost are good habits performed under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. They make us happy and contented, and help us to be pleasing to both God and man.

      With the fruits of the Holy Ghost it becomes easier for us to persevere in the union with God by the practice of virtue; our heart inclines with charity towards God and our neighbor, and finds it almost natural to be detached from the world.

       

    2. With the gift of sanctifying grace and its accompanying theological virtues, gifts of the Holy Ghost, and their effects, the Christian soul may be said to possess sanctity, to be in the state of Christian perfection.

      Sanctity is the fervent surrender of one’s self to God and the practice of virtue. It does not require extraordinary works. The Blessed Mother of God the most holy of mortals, never performed any extraordinary works to excite worldly admiration. “Love is the fulfilling of the law.”

    This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.
    God Bless BJS!!

    ​Actual Grace

     

    The case of Saul of Tarsus is one of the most wonderful instances of cooperation with God’s grace. Saul of Tarsus was one of the most active persecutors of the early Christians. On the way to Damascus to arrest Christians, Soul was struck down by a brilliant light, and heard a voice say: “Saul, Saul, why dost thou persecute me?” Saul asked, “Who art thou, Lord?” And Jesus answered, “I am Jesus, whom thou art persecuting. Saul immediately grasped at grace, and asked, “Lord, what wilt thou have me do?” From then on he turned his back on his former life, and belonged completely to Christ, till as the incomparable Apostle Paul he was martyred in Rome.

     

      What is actual grace? –Actual grace is a supernatural help of God which enlightens our mind and strengthens our will to do good and to avoid evil.

      By actual grace the Holy Ghost shows us the emptiness in themselves of earthly things. He makes us see our own sins, and the true goal of life. By it we can perform a virtuous act or reject a temptation.

      Actual grace is transient; that is, it is given to us only when we need it, to perform a good act, or to overcome a temptation.

      An example of the wonderful action of the Holy Ghost in enlightening the mind and strengthening the will is the First Pentecost. Before the descent of the Holy Ghost, the Apostles were ignorant and afraid; after His descent, His grace made them wise and fearless men, going forth to preach Christ everywhere, ready to die for their faith.

       

    1. God gives us always sufficient grace to be saved. A true Christian should view his whole life in the light of grace. All God’s gifts granted for man’s salvation are graces.

      A good family, a good education,-these are graces. But even sickness and hardships are God’s graces, and may be the steps by which to ascend to heaven. And God grants graces to protect us against temptation, never suffering us to be tempted beyond our strength. If we do our part, avoid the occasions of sin, and cooperate with His graces, we shall win.

      Is actual grace necessary for all who have attained the use of reason? –Actual grace is necessary for all who have attained the use of reason, because without it we cannot long resist the power of temptation, nor perform other actions which merit a reward in heaven.

      We all need actual grace. Sinners need it to rise from sin. The just need it to persevere in good. Without grace, we fall into sin.

      Herod was offered actual grace when he heard of the birth of the Messias from the three wise men; but Herod rejected the grace, and added to his sins.

       

    1. Grace is given to all men, although not in equal amounts. Some receive more, some less. Some ordinary graces are granted to all men; certain extraordinary graces are granted to chosen ones.

      God is free to bestow His gifts as He likes. The Blessed Virgin received more than other mortals. Christians receive more than pagans. Those in the state of grace are likely to receive more than those in the state of mortal sin. In a way, our graces depend also on our dispositions. If we are faithful in corresponding with what we get, we receive more abundantly. Often our carelessness and indifference turn away God’s graces from us. We reject Him who only wishes to make us saints, whose “delight is to be with the children of men” (Prov. 8:31).

      What are the principal ways of obtaining grace? –The principal ways of obtaining grace are prayer and the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist.

      The sacraments of Baptism and Penance give grace to those not possessing it; the other sacraments increase grace in those already in the state of grace.

       

    1. Actual grace is obtained by good works. It is especially obtained by the use of means offered by the Church, such as hearing Mass, sermons, etc., and receiving the sacraments, particularly the Holy Eucharist, which contains God, the Source of Grace.

      Although we cannot merit grace by our good works, still our good works can beg God for us, to give us grace. Good works are necessary, for God will not save us without our cooperation.

      Actual grace is made to act through various means: through sermons, reading of good books, illness and death, advice of superiors and friends, good example, etc.

      The first converts at Pentecost were moved by the preaching of the Apostles. St. Ignatius of Loyola was moved by the reading of the lives of the saints; St. Francis of Assisi, during an illness; St. Francis Borgia, upon seeing the corpse of Queen Isabella. Often God sends us sufferings as a means by which the Holy Ghost may speak to us.

      Can we resist the grace of God? –Unfortunately, we can resist the grace of God, for our will is free, and God does not force us to accept His grace.

       

    1. Grace does not force us. It leaves us free to choose between good and evil. The Holy Ghost guides and enlightens, but we can still close our eyes to His grace. If we cooperate, we gain other graces.

      As Christ said, “For to him who has shall be given, and he shall have abundance” (Matt. 13:12). He who persists in rejecting the gift of God’s grace and refuses to be converted will die in his sin and will be forever excluded from the sight of God. “From him who does not have, even that which he seems to have shall be taken away. But as for the unprofitable servant, cast him forth into the darkness outside, where there will be the weeping, and the gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 25:29-30). Would it not be an insult to a king if he keeps offering gifts to one of his people, and these gifts are despised?

       

    2. We should be on the lookout for the graces of God, ready to accept them as soon as they are offered. The action of the Holy Ghost on the individual soul is not continuous in particular graces; we must be ready when He comes with special gifts.

      Some receive only one summons to the banquet. In the desert, the Israelites who rose late found the manna melted away. There are times of special grace for the Christian, such as Lent, a retreat, etc.

      How can we make our most ordinary actions merit a heavenly reward? –We can make our most ordinary actions merit a heavenly reward by doing them for the love of God, and by keeping ourselves in the state of grace.

       

    1. God grants us the right to a heavenly reward for the most ordinary good actions in the supernatural order, provided we are in the state of grace. God does not ask us to do extraordinary things. If we do the most ordinary tasks of the day, like cooking, studying, doing small chores, carpentry work, sewing, and such, in a spirit of love and obedience to Him, our acts will deserve merit before God’s eyes.

      God does not expect all of us to be great scientists saving thousands of lives each day, great discoverers, great lawyers, great statesmen. Does God need our help? All He wants is our love; and this we can give in the most ordinary daily actions. “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever else you do, do all to the glory of God.”

       

    2. By mortal sin one loses the merit he has gained from his good actions. It is necessary that he regain that state of grace before he can regain that merit.

      To regain God’s friendship, we must be sorry for our sins, make a good confession, and resolve never to displease Him again. Then He will give us back the gift of His grace and love, and the merit of all our good works.

    This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.
    God Bless BJS!!

    ​Sanctifying Grace

     

    A soul in the state of grace is very beautiful in the sight of God. Then we are friends and children of God and heirs of heaven; then we are like the very angels. We must always try to avoid sin. But when the soul has lost the grace of God by mortal sin, nothing on earth can be uglier in God’s sight. If we are so careful about our personal appearance before mortals, how much more should we be careful about the appearance of our immortal soul, that God may be pleased with us.

     

      What is grace? –Grace is a supernatural gift of God bestowed on us through the merits of Jesus Christ for our salvation.

       

    1. Grace is a favor, a free gift, granted to us though we have no claim to it. God grants us graces because He is good, not because we deserve them. God grants,us graces for the sake of His Son, Who died on the cross to earn for us these graces; we men can never merit these graces.

      “All have sinned and have need of the glory of God. They are justified freelyby his grace through the redemption which is in Christ” (Rom. 3:23-24).

       

    2. The Holy Ghost dispenses the graces of God merited by Our Lord Jesus Christ; He bestows and perfects what is already earned, and acts as the channel of grace.

      In a similar manner the sun does not make the plants, but develops what is already planted; without the sun plants would die and be useless to man.

       

    3. The supernatural is that which is beyond natural Powers. It is of two kinds:

         

      1. When the fact is beyond natural powers in the manner of occurence: as when a blind man instantly can see; and

         

      2. When the fact fundamentally and entirely surpasses all powers of the natural order: as when God imparts a part of His life to man through the gift of sanctifying grace.

       

    4. The assistance of the Holy Ghost is necessary. Without the help of the graces that He dispenses, with merely natural powers, we cannot do the least work to merit salvation. Without God, we are nothing.

      In order to reach heaven, we need God’s grace; so we say with the Apostle: “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything, as from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God” (2 Cor. 3:5) ; “By the grace of God I am what I am. . . . I have laboured more than any of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me” (1 Cor. 15:10).

       

    5. There are two kinds of grace: sanctifying grace and actual grace.

      What is sanctifying grace? –Sanctifying grace is that grace which confers on our souls a new life, that is, a sharing in the life of God Himself.

       

    1. By sanctifying grace, our souls are made holy and pleasing to God. It is anabiding or permanent grace, which we gain by baptism, and lose only by mortal sin.

      By Adam’s sin all mankind lost the friendship of God; that is, we are born in original sin, without sanctifying grace. Our Lord’s death won back sanctifying grace for us; it is granted freely at Baptism.

       

    2. A soul to whom God grants sanctifying grace receives not merely a gift from God, but God Himself. The Holy Ghost lives in him and becomes united with him, so that he receives a new life, a new nature.

      St. Paul refers to this acquisition of sanctifying grace as the putting off of the old man and the putting on of the new. It is as if an old and worn man were suddenly to become a handsome young man full of the vigor of life. The beauty of a soul in the state of sanctifying grace is too great for human eyes to bear. As a child said, when asked how his soul would look immediately after his confirmation, if it could be photographed, “Why, it would look like God!”

      What are the chief effects of sanctifying grace? –The chief effects of sanctifying grace are:

      First, it makes us holy and pleasing to God.-When we are in possession of sanctifying grace, we are free from mortal sin; the two cannot dwell together. The fire of the Holy Ghost sears away all that God abhors, so that we acquire God’s friendship.

      However, although free from mortal sin, we do not: with sanctifying grace, become free from the remains of sin. So even saints feel the human inclination to sin, against which the struggle is lifelong, and from which we should gain merit. This human frailty is imbedded in our flesh, and is present in our souls as a result of original sin.

      Sanctifying grace, however, although it does not cure us of the weakness of the flesh, strengthens our will, so that for us the war against sin becomes easier. The charity accompanying sanctifying grace makes us more prone to good works, more attracted to God, with minds illumined as to the folly of sin.

      Second, it makes us adopted children of God. – With sanctifying grace, the Holy Ghost enters our soul; we are led by His Spirit, and are therefore His children: “For whoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14).

      “Now you have not received a spirit of bondage so as to be again in fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons, by virtue of which we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself gives testimony to our spirit that we are sons of God” (Rom. 8:15-16).

      Third, it makes us temples of the Holy Ghost.-Sanctifying grace brings the Holy Ghost to dwell in us as in a temple. St. Paul says, “For you are the temple of the Living God” (2 Cor. 6: 16).

      “Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys the temple of God, him will God destroy; for holy is the temple of God and this temple you are” (1 Cor. 3: 16,17)

      Fourth, it gives us the right to heaven.When we are in sanctifying grace, we are inspired to do good works. The Holy Ghost does not sleep within us, but expands our heart with His grace, and urges our will to do good. And as we are adopted children of God, such actions become meritorious for heaven.

      If we are children of God, we are at the same time heirs, and therefore have a right to His Kingdom. “We are the sons of God. But if we are sons, we are heirs also; heirs indeed of God, and joint heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:16-17)

    This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.
    God Bless BJS!!

    ​Unity of the Blessed Trinity

     

    “And the Catholic Faith is this, that we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in unity. Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance. … But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of The Holy Ghost is one, the glory equal, the majesty co-eternal. … The Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone: not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and the Son: not made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding. … And in this Trinity nothing is afore or after, nothing is greater or less, but the whole three Persons are co-eternal together, and co-equal” (From the Athanasian Creed).

     

    Are the three divine Persons perfectly equal to one another? — The three divine Persons are perfectly equal to one another, because all are one and the same God.

     

    Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father Uncreated, the Son Uncreated, and the Holy Ghost Uncreated. The Father Infinite, the Son Infinite, and the Holy Ghost Infinite. The Father Eternal, the Son Eternal, and the Holy Ghost Eternal, and yet they are not Three Eternals but One Eternal. As also there are not Three Uncreated, nor Three Infinite, but One Uncreated, and One Infinite. So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not Three Almighties, but One Almighty.” (From the Athanasian Creed.)

    All three Persons are equal in every way, equal in power and glory. The attributes and external works of God are common to all three Persons. However, in human speech we attribute certain works to each Person.

    Thus we attribute to the Father the works of creation, to the Son the work of redemption, and to the Holy Ghost the work of sanctification. In reality these works belong equally to all three.

     

    How are the three divine Persons, though really distinct from one another, one and the same God? — The three divine Persons, though really distinct from one another, are one and the same God because all have one and the same divine nature.

     

    1. Each of the divine Persons is God.

      “So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods, but one God. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, and the Holy Ghost is Lord. And yet they are not three Lords but one Lord. For, like as we are compelled by Christian truth to acknowledge every Person by Himself to Be God and Lord, so are we forbidden by the Catholic Religion to say, there be three Gods or three Lords.” (From the Athanasian Creed.)

       

    2. There are three Persons, but only one Being. The Father is neither the Son nor the Holy Ghost. The Son is neither the Father nor the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is neither the Father nor the Son.

      It was the Son Who became man and died for us, not the Father or the Holy Ghost. But when we receive God the Son in Holy Communion, we also spiritually receive God the Father and God the Holy Ghost. The Blessed Trinity then dwells in us as in a Temple.

       

    Can we fully understand how the three divine Persons, though really distinct from one another, are one and the same God? — We cannot fully understand how the three divine Persons, though really distinct from one another, are one and the same God, because this is a supernatural mystery.

     

    1. A supernatural mystery is a truth which we cannot fully understand, but which we firmly believe because we have God’s word for it. A supernatural mystery is above reason, but not contrary to it. No man can explain a mystery; neither can anyone know it unless it is revealed by God. “Great art thou, O Lord, in counsel, and incomprehensible in thought” (Jer. 32:19).

      It is not unreasonable to believe in a supernatural mystery. There are many natural mysteries around us that no one has yet been able to explain, yet we believe them: electricity, magnetism, force, and many of the processes of life.

       

    2. The doctrine of the Blessed Trinity is a strict mystery; that is, we cannot learn it from reason, nor understand it completely, even after it has been revealed to us.

      The doctrine contains two truths our reason cannot fully understand: (1) that there is only one God; and (2) that each of the three Persons is God. We can understand each of these truths separately, but not when taken together.

      The mystery of the Blessed Trinity is not a contradiction. We do not say that there are three gods in one God, nor that the three divine Persons are one Person.

      We only say that there are three Persons in one God, that is, three Persons, and one nature or essence. Somewhat similarly, the soul of man has will, understanding, and memory, but it is only one soul. Also, the sun has form, light, and heat, but it is only one sun. Three flames put together make only one flame.

       

    Why do we believe in the mystery of the Blessed Trinity? –We believe in the mystery of the Blessed Trinity because God Himself revealed it to us.

    “Thy word is Truth” (John 17:17). The mystery of the Blessed Trinity is the greatest of all mysteries. We believe it because God has revealed it to us, but we cannot fully understand it. It would be foolish to refuse to believe just because we cannot understand; that would be like a blind man who refuses to believe there is a sun, because he cannot see it. Is God limited because we are?

     

    1. The Jews did not explicitly believe in the Blessed Trinity, although there are references to the mystery in the Old Testament.

      Before making man, God said: “Let Us make man to Our own image” (Gen. 1:26). David says: “The Lord said to my Lord, Sit on my right hand.”

       

    2. Our Lord Jesus Christ revealed the mystery. He said:

      “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19). “But when the Advocate has come, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness concerning me” (John 15:26).

       

    3. The Blessed Trinity manifested Itself at the baptism of Jesus Christ.

      God the Father spoke from the heavens; God the Son was baptized; God the Holy Ghost descended in visible form, in the form of a dove.

       

    When do we profess our faith in the Blessed Trinity? — We profess our faith in the Blessed Trinity especially when we make the sign of the cross.

     

    1. We also honor the Blessed Trinity every time we say the doxology or “prayer of praise”: “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be world without end.”

      The Feast of the Blessed Trinity, called Trinity Sunday, is kept on the first Sunday after Pentecost.

       

    2. All the sacraments are administered in the name of the Blessed Trinity.

      On our death-bed the Church through the priest will comfort us with the words: “Even though he hath sinned, he hath not denied the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.”

    This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.

    God Bless BJS!!

    One God in Three Persons

     

    A good concrete illustration of the Blessed trinity is an equilateral triangle. Such a triangle has three sides equal in every way, and yet distinct from each other. There are three sides, but only one triangle. As we see in this illustration, each Divine Person is different from the other two, but all three are God. Each one is God, distinct from the two others, and yet one with them. The three Persons are equal in every way, with one nature and one substance: three Divine Persons, but only one God.

     

    Is there only one God? — Yes, there is only one God.

    “I am the first, and I am the last, and besides me there is no God” (Is. 44:6). There can be only one God, because only one can be supreme, all-powerful, and independent of all.

    How many Persons are there in God?– In God there are three Divine Persons — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

     

    1. In speaking of the “Persons” in God, we do not use the term in exactly the same way we use it when speaking of people. We use it only for lack of a word to show our meaning better.

      In speaking of a man as a “person,” we mean that he is an intelligent being, acting individually for himself. The acts he performs belong to him and he is responsible for them — he himself, not his tongue, nor his mind, nor his whole body even, but the whole of himself.

      We speak of three “Persons” in God because to each belongs something we cannot attribute to any other: His distinct origin.

      From all eternity the Father begets the Son, and the Son proceeds from the Father. From all eternity the Father and Son breathe forth the Holy Ghost, and He proceeds from Them, as from one Source.

       

    Are the three Divine Persons really distinct from one another? — The three Divine Persons are really distinct from one another.

    “So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity nothing is afore or after, nothing is greater or less; but the whole three Persons are co-eternal together, and co-equal. So that in all things, as in aforesaid, the unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in unity is to be worshipped.” (From the Athanasian Creed.)

     

    1. This is the simplest way by which the distinct origin of each Divine Person has been explained: God is a spirit, and the first act of a Spirit is to know and understand. God, knowing Himself from all eternity, brings forth the knowledge of Himself, His own image. This was not a mere thought, as our knowledge of ourselves would be, but a Living Person, of the same substance and one with the Father. This is God the Son. Thus the Father “begets” the Son, the Divine Word, the Wisdom of the Father.

      “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God; and the Word was God” (John 1:1).

       

    2. God the Father, seeing His own Image in the Son, loves the Son; and God the Son loves the Father from all eternity. Each loves the other, because each sees in the other the Infinity of the Godhead, the beauty of Divinity, the Supreme Truth of God. The two Persons loving each other do not just have a thought, as human beings would have, but from Their mutual love is breathed forth, as it were, a Living Person, one with Them, and of Their own substance. This is God The Holy Ghost. Thus the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Love, “proceeds” from the Father and the Son.

      “But when the Advocate has come, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness concerning me” (John 15:26)

       

    3. But we are not to suppose that once God the Father begot the Son and now no longer does so, nor that once the love of the Father and the Son for each other breathed forth the Holy Ghost, but now no longer does. These truths are eternal, everlasting.

      God the Father eternally knows Himself, and continues to know Himself, and thus continues to bring forth the Son. God the Father and God the Son continue to love each other, and their delight in each other continues to bring forth the Spirit of Love, God the Holy Ghost. In a similar way, fire has light and color. As long as there is fire, it continues to produce light. As long as there is fire with light, there is produced color. But all three exist at one and the same time.

       

    4. In this imperfect way we vaguely see that God must necessarily be three Divine Persons, because only in that way can God with His Divine Knowledge and Will be complete in Himself.

      Our Lord Jesus Christ spoke to us of the Blessed Trinity when before the Ascension He said to His Apostles: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19)

       

    What do we mean by the Blessed Trinity? — By the Blessed Trinity we mean one and the same God in three divine Persons.

     

    1. The Father is God and the First Person of the Blessed Trinity. Omnipotence, and especially the work of creation, is attributed to God the Father.

      God the Father could have created millions of beings instead of you yourself; but He chose you out of a love wholly undeserved, saying, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love” (Jer 1:13). Let us then cry in thanksgiving, “Abba, Father!” (Rom. 8:15). Let us show our gratitude by avoiding all that could displease God the Father, by trying to please Him with virtue, by trying for greater perfection, in obedience to that injunction of Our Lord’s: “You therefore are to be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48)

       

    2. The Son is God and the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. To God the Son we owe our redemption from sin and eternal death; by His death He gave us life.

      For us God the Son debased Himself, taking the form of a servant, … “becoming obedient to death, even to death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8). In Holy Communion we are united with Him, for He Himself said; “He who eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, abides in me and I in him” (John 6:57). In return we should be “other Christs,” and, as the Apostle urged, “walk even as He walked.”

       

    3. The Holy Ghost is God and the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity. He manifests Himself in us particularly in our sanctification. The word “Ghost” applied to the Third Person means “Spirit.”

      At our Baptism God the Holy Ghost purifies us from all sin and fills our souls with divine grace, so that we become truly children of God, sons and heirs, and co-heirs with Jesus Christ. By Baptism we become living temples of the Holy Ghost: “Or do you not know that your members are the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you?” (1 Cor. 6:19).

      In return for such benefits we should make our body the instrument for the glory of God, keeping it from all stain of sin, adorning it with virtues. “Glorify God and bear him in your body” (1 Cor. 6:20). Let us keep our souls a sanctuary for the Holy Spirit, that God may be happy to dwell in us.

    This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.

    God Bless BJS!!