holy-spirit-saint-peter-basilica-rome

Have you ever heard Pentecost Sunday referred to as the birthday of the Church? Indeed, this is true! This solemn feast commemorates the day when the gift of the Holy Spirit was given to the Apostles, bereft after Christ’s ascension. This gift of the Spirit gave them the power to go among all peoples preaching the gospel of Christ, thus beginning the Church.  Jesus had told them that He must leave so that the Holy Spirit could come, Who would comfort them. But as St. John Henry Newman teaches in his sermon “The Indwelling Spirit,” we must grasp the Holy Spirit in a deeper way so as to fully comprehend this great gift offered to each one of us. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity, God Himself, Who resides in us. This is His “indwelling.” 

The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is God taking up permanent residence in the heart of those who have been reborn by belief in Christ as Savior. As Newman writes, “This wonderful change from darkness to light, through the entrance of the Spirit into the soul, is called Regeneration, or the New Birth; a blessing which, before Christ’s coming, not even Prophets and righteous men possessed, but which is now conveyed to all men freely through the Sacrament of Baptism.”

This spirit was present throughout all time, as recorded in the Old Testament, but in a different way. As St. John Henry writes, 

“These were great mercies; yet, great as they were, they are as nothing compared with that surpassing grace with which we Christians are honoured; that great privilege of receiving into our hearts, not the mere gifts of the Spirit, but His very presence, Himself, by a real not a figurative indwelling.”

At Pentecost the Spirit began to indwell those who belong to God through Christ in a more direct way than before. Jesus predicted not only the coming of the Spirit who would live within His people, but also the new role the Spirit of Truth would play in their lives. Before the resurrection and Pentecost, the Spirit was with the disciples and influenced them, but He did not yet “indwell” them. As St. Newman writes:

“(…)He has come, not merely in the way of gifts, or of influences, or of operations, as He came to the Prophets, for then Christ’s going away would be a loss, and not a gain, and the Spirit’s presence would be a mere pledge, not an earnest; but He comes to us as Christ came, by a real and personal visitation (…)”

Newman goes as far as to call this “the substitution of His Spirit for Himself, and that, both in the Church and in the souls of individual Christians.” The apostle Paul explained this same truth about the Spirit’s indwelling: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20). Because believers have been purchased for God by the blood of Christ, shed on the cross for our sins, our bodies become a living temple where the Spirit of God resides. Newman expands, 

“Such is the inhabitation of the Holy Ghost within us, applying to us individually the precious cleansing of Christ’s blood in all its manifold benefits. Such is the great doctrine, which we hold as a matter of faith, and without actual experience to verify it to us.”

The purpose of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is many-faceted, as St. John Henry teaches in this sermon. Firstly,  the Spirit creates new life in believers, as he explains,  

“ He impresses on us our Heavenly Father’s image, which we lost when Adam fell, and disposes us to seek His presence by the very instinct of our new nature.” 

Secondly, “The indwelling of the Holy Ghost raises the soul, not only to the thought of God, but of Christ also.” St. John Henry reminds us of Christ’s promise of the indwelling of the Trinity in those who love Him. And explains that,  “The Spirit came especially to ‘glorify’ Christ; and vouchsafes to be a shining light within the Church and the individual Christian, reflecting the Saviour of the world in all His perfections, all His offices, all His works.”

And thirdly, the indwelling of the spirit is so that our Joy will be complete.This is the lasting joy that Christ had promised his disciples and is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, removing any doubts, gloom, or impatience.

St. Josemaría Escrivá teaches that our response to this great gift is docility: 

 “ . . . . because it is the Holy Spirit who, with his inspirations, gives a supernatural tone to our thoughts, desires and actions. It is he who leads us to receive Christ’s teaching and to assimilate it in a profound way. It is he who gives us the light by which we perceive our personal calling and the strength to carry out all that God expects of us. If we are docile to the Holy Spirit, the image of Christ will be formed more and more fully in us, and we will be brought closer every day to God the Father. “For whoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the children of God.” (Christ is passing by, 135)

This is a most glorious and uplifting realization that until we die, the Spirit remains within us, renewing and sanctifying us, comforting us in trials, and sustaining us in afflictions. With the indwelling Holy Spirit, we are never alone, never lost, and never without His power.

Come Holy Spirit! 

 

Like this article?

There is a clear picture that emerges from these glimpses into life at The Oratory School: Education was in service of man, not the other way around. Play found its proper place, not only as a balance to rigorous academic study, but as an important part of human development.

O most Sacred, most loving Heart of Jesus, Thou art concealed in the Holy Eucharist, and Thou beatest for us still.

Leave a comment

What is the doctrine of the Trinity? The Athanasian Creed, in common use around the sixth century, formulates it this way: "We worship one God in the Trinity and the Trinity in unity, without either confusing the persons or dividing the substance; for the person of the Father is one, the Son's is another, the Holy Spirit's another; but the Godhead of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is one, their glory equal, their majesty coeternal."

Our Books

About Cardinal John Henry Newman

Purchase Book


A Guide to John Henry Newman will interest educated readers and professors alike, and serve as a text for college seminars for the purpose of studying Newman.

Review by Catherine Maybanks
(Catholic Herald, April 1, 2023)

Review by Serenheed James
(Antiphon, April 2023)

Purchase Book

 
Fr Peter Conley takes us on an exciting journey into the spirituality and inner life of Saint John Henry Newman.
 

Purchase Book


Endorsement by Neyra Blanco (Amazon)
I bought this book for my son and he loved it, he wrote this review and urged my to submitted: “I think this book has a very beautiful message, because it shows how the young Newman was so determined to achieve his dream of becoming a priest, but even after his dream he continued to work in the church with passion until the day he died, it’s so admirable that even Newman so old and so weak still had that urge to continued his work of being a priest. And the book is well written with words not too complicated with very enjoyable texts and well illustrated pictures. I highly recommend this book for a 5th grader.  

Purchase Book


What is a Classical Liberal Arts Education? Why is it so important for the development of a person?

Fr. Juan R. Vélez answers these and more questions you might have about University Education in the 21st century. This book is aimed for parents, prospective University students, and educators. It will help you discern why adding Liberal Arts electives to your education will help it form it better, and help the student learn to reason, and not just learn.

He also explains how many Universities have changed the true meaning of Liberal Arts, and the subjects, and gives advise on how to choose College Campus, Subjects, and Teachers.

A wonderful book that every parent should also read way before your children are College bound. A Liberal Arts education can start earlier in life, even from home.

Purchase Book


Endorsement by Christopher Moellering (Goodreads, September 14, 2019)
In Passion for Truth Fr. Vélez gave us an outstanding biography of Cardinal Newman. In this work, he provides a concise overview of his thought and his devotion. This is a great work for someone who, perhaps hearing of Newman for the first time because of his beatification 13 October, 2019, wants to know more about this English saint.Vélez is a wonderful writer in his own right, and the frequent quotations from Newman round out the work nicely. I especially appreciated the frequent citing of Newman’s Meditations and Devotions, which show a different side of his spirituality than his more well-known works, Development of Christian Doctrine and the Grammar of Assent.

Purchase Book


Take Five: Meditations with John Henry Newman, endorsement by Illow M. Roque (Amazon, September 3, 2010)
“There is a time to put direct inquiry on hold and give ourselves to prayer and practical duties.” Sound advice from one of the earlier, thought-provoking reminders in this sparkling gem of a book: Take Five | Meditations with John Henry Newman, written by Mike Aquilina and Fr. Juan R. Vélez and published by Our Sunday Visitor. This particular paragraph, referenced above, which begins with a direct quote from soon-to-be canonized priest, cardinal and poet, John Henry Newman: “Study is good, but it gets us only so far . . .” is actually the 15th in a series of 76 concise, logically organized meditations moving from the elementary to the sublime. Each meditation–one per page–is built upon the great man’s writings and remarkably rich spirituality. Whether taken whole in one reading or in part page-by-page over a course of weeks and months, these wonderfully insightful meditations will open up, even to the busiest reader in the midst of the world, a unique pathway into prayer and contemplation. My advice to spiritual inquirers at all levels, from the novice to the spiritually adept, is to follow the authors’ recommendation to use this book as a guide for daily prayer and meditation. The structure of the book itself is ideal: first, the authors introduce us to Cardinal Newman, the man, where we are given the opportunity to get to know him through a brief sketch of his life and spirituality at the beginning of the book. This is something readers will likely find themselves referring to again and again, prompting many, I suspect, to even wider explorations of this most gifted Christian leader. Then comes the meditations, consisting of a short summary of Newman’s thoughts on subjects taken, as the authors explain, from various salient points for which Newman is justly remembered: The pursuit of objective religious truth; Teaching on the Virtues; Defense of the Catholic Church; A devout spiritual and moral life; and Generosity and loyalty in his friendships, which sets the topic and tone for each meditation to follow. Each meditation consists of an excerpt taken from Newman’s thirty-plus volumes of writings and diaries. Next comes three brief and extremely useful sections entitled: “Think About It,” which establishes a prayerfully resonant tone throughout the book; “Just Imagine,” which provides a vivid, prayerful experience of the Scriptures that tie in, and finally, “Remember,” a pithy summation which the authors suggest may be used as a daily aspiration. Each meditation is given its own page, which makes it ideal for daily reflection for readers on the go. This book is a must have for every serious Catholic who wants to take their faith to the next level, which is to respond appropriately to the universal call to holiness and seek interior union with God.
Sermon Blog
David Warren

Newman, Education and Sport

There is a clear picture that emerges from these glimpses into life at The Oratory School: Education was in service of man, not the other way around. Play found its proper place, not only as a balance to rigorous academic study, but as an important part of human development.

Read More »
Sermon Blog
David Warren

The Mystery of the Holy Trinity

What is the doctrine of the Trinity? The Athanasian Creed, in common use around the sixth century, formulates it this way: “We worship one God in the Trinity and the Trinity in unity, without either confusing the persons or dividing the substance; for the person of the Father is one, the Son’s is another, the Holy Spirit’s another; but the Godhead of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is one, their glory equal, their majesty coeternal.”

Read More »
About Newman
Fr. Juan Velez

The Eucharistic Presence

We call His presence in this Holy Sacrament a spiritual presence, not as if ‘spiritual’ were but a name or mode of speech.

Read More »