Monday, May 28, 2007

Altissimi Donum Dei, Gift of the Most High God

DIVINE INTIMACY by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.
#188 The Encyclical Mystici Corporis states that "the Holy Spirit is the soul of the Church." Because soul means "principle of life," this statement equivalently says that the divine Paraclete is the One who gives life to the Church. As the soul is the principle of life in the body, so the Holy Spirit is the principle of life in the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ(cf. Divinum Illud).

We have seen taht the Holy SPirit was in Christ's soul to direct Him in the accomplishmetn of His redemptive mission. Jesus could have carried out this mission alone, but He wished the Church to participate in it. Since the Church continues Christ's work, she needs the same impetus which guided His soul; she needs the Holy Spirit. Jesus merited His Spirit for us on the Cross; by His death, He atoned for all sin, the chief obstacle to the action of the HOly SPirit, and when He had ascended into heaven, He sent Him to the Apostles, who represented the whole Church. Now, seated in glory at the right hand of the Father, He intercedes continually for us, He is always sending the Holy SPirit to the Church, as He promised. The Holy Spirit operates in the Church now, just as He once did in the blessed soul of Christ. He gives her impulse, moves her, and drives her to accomplish God's will, thus enabling her to fulfill His mission, the continuation down through the ages of the redemptive work of Christ. With reason, then, did the early Fathers call the Holy Spirit the Soul of the Church; the Church herself invokes Him in the Credo: "Dominum et vivificantem!" Lord and life-giver. As the soul vivifies the body, the Holy Spirit vivifies the Church. He is the impulse of love who kindles in her zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of souls; He gives light and strength to her shepherds, fervor and energy to her apostles, courage in invincible faith to her martyrs.


Today’s (Pentecost Sunday) Gospel speaks very forcefully about charity, which is at the same time both the condition for and the result of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in our souls. It is the condition, because, according to Jesus Himself, the three divine Persons dwell only in a souls who loves; it is the result, because “the charity of God is poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, who is given to us” (Rm 5:5)

Veni, Creator Spiritus – mentes tuorum visita,
Imple superna gratia – quae to creasti pectora.

Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest,
And in our hearts take up Thy rest,
Come with Thy grace and heavenly aid,
To fill the hearts which Thou hast made.

Interestingly, #189 in OCP is Veni Creator Spiritus...

The Council of Vienne and the Fifth Lateran Council both stated that "the soul is the form of the body. We have the Mystical Body of Christ, whose soul is the Holy Spirit, fed by the body and blood of the actual Body of Christ; much here to meditate on...

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