Sweet Guest of the Soul
From book "Divine Intimacy - Meditations on the Interior Life for Every Day Of The Liturgical Year"... Presence of God O Holy Spirit, You who deign to ...
Presence of God
O Holy Spirit, You who deign to dwell in me, help me to open my soul completely to Your action.
I. 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 oflife in the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ (cf. Divinum Illud).
We have seen that the Holy Spirit was in Christ’s soul to direct Him in the accomplishment 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 ofChrist. 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 and invincible faith to her martyrs.
II. The Church, because she is the "society" of the faithful, is constituted by their union : it is the faithful, it is we ourselves, who form the Church. Hence, to say thatJesus merited the Holy Spirit for His Church is equivalent to saying that He merited Him for us; to say thatJesus, together with the Father, has sent and continues to send His Spirit to the Church, is equivalent to affirming that He has sent and continues to send Him to us. The Encyclical Mystici Corporis asserts that the Holy Spirit "is communicated to the Church abundantly, so that she herself and each one of her members may become, day by day, more like our Redeemer." Thus the Holy Spirit exercises His influence not only in the Body of the Church, but also in each soul in which He dwells as the "sweet Guest." He is in us : to take possession of our souls, to sanctify them, to form them in the likeness of Christ, and to urge us to continue His redemptive mission; He is that impulse of love which urges us to do God’s will, guides us towards the glorification of the Most Holy Trinity, and brings us to God.
But if the Holy Spirit is an impulse of love that comes into us to sanctify us and bring us to God, why do we not all become saints? The mystery of human responsibility enters here. The Holy Spirit, with the Father and the Son, has created us free beings and He wishes us so; therefore, in coming to us, He respects our liberty and does no violence to it. Although He is eager to enter our souls and to possses it, He will not act thus unless we give Him free access. It is an example of the great principle on which St. Teresa of Jesus liked to insist : "God docs not force anyone, He takes what we give Him; but He does not give Himself wholly to us, until we give ourselves wholly to Him" (Way, 28). If we do not become saints, it is not because the Holy Spirit does not will it—He was sent to us and comes to us for this very purpose—but it is because we do not give full liberty to His action. This is the point in which we fail : we do not use our liberty to wholly yield our soul to His powerful, loving invasion. If our will would open the doors wide, the Holy Spirit would take us under His direction, and, with His help, we would become saints.
"O Holy Spirit, You formed our Redeemer in the pure womb of the Virgin Mary; You gave life to Jesus, and directed Him in all He thought, said, did, and suffered during His earthly life, and in the sacrifice He Himself offered to the Father for us on the Cross. WhenJesus ascended into heaven, You came upon earth to establish the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church, and to apply to this Body the fruits of the life, Blood, Passion, and death of Christ. Otherwise, Jesus would have suffered and died in vain. Furthermore, O Holy Spirit, You descended to us at holy baptism to form Jesus Christ in our souls, to incorporate us into Him, to give us birth and life in Him, to apply to us the effects and merits of His Blood and of His death, to animate and inspire us, and to guide and direct us in all that we should think, say, do, and suffer for God. What, then, should our life be? Oh! it should be completely holy, divine, and spiritual, according to the words of Jesus : ‘ that which is born of the Spirit is spirit! ’
"O Divine Spirit, I give myself entirely to You. Take possession ofmy soul, direct me in everything, and grant that I may live as a true child of God, as a true member of Jesus Christ; grant that, born ofYou, I may totally belong to You, be totally possessed, animated, and directed by You" (St. John Eudes).
"O Holy Spirit, Soul ofmy soul, I adore You. Enlighten me, guide me, fortify me, console me. Tell me what I should do, give me Your orders. I promise to be submissive to all that You ask ofme and to accept everything that You permit to happen to me" (Cardinal Mercier).
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