Session 3    The Holy Spirit and the Christian Life

 The Holy Spirit shown as a dove



  • Hebrew – RUACH – breath, air, wind.  The Holy Spirit breathes life into us


  • Paraclete – Gk. the one called.  Advocate, comforter, counsellor.  “The Holy Spirit pleads the Christian cause in a hostile world” – Orthodox writer.


  • Symbols:   Water and oil at Baptism

                              Oil at Confirmation

                              Fire over the heads of the Apostles

                              Dove over head of Jesus at his Baptism.


  • Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Wisdom                       to recognise things of God.

Understanding            to penetrate the mysteries of faith.

Counsel                       to choose whatever is God’s will.

Fortitude                     to stand firm in the cause of virtue and truth.

Knowledge                 to discern the difference between good and evil.

Piety                            to faithfully practice our religion.

Fear of the Lord          which inspires us with a respect for God.


  • Pentecost.   Originally a Jewish Festival of thanksgiving for the wheat harvest which took place fifty days after the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Passover) Our Pentecost is fifty days after Easter. (Acts 2:1-4)


  • Third Person of the Blessed Trinity.  He proceeds from the Father and the Son.  Orthodox believe he proceeds from the Father only.  This disagreement in doctrine helped towards the Great Schism between Catholics and Orthodox in 1054.


  • Holy Spirit in the Three Sacraments of Initiation.

1.  Baptism                  The Holy Spirit comes down on the newly baptised.

2.  Confirmation          The Spirit refreshes us (or renews or re-creates).

3.  Eucharist                The Holy Spirit is present in the celebration of the Eucharist.


  • The Liturgy.   Many references to Father, Son and Holy Spirit throughout the Mass:

The Epiclesis, when the priest calls upon the Holy Spirit “to come upon these gifts and make them holy.”

After the Consecration 

“In memory of his death and resurrection, we offer to you Father, this life-giving bread, this saving cup.


We thank  you for counting us worthy to stand in your presence and serve you.


May all of us share in the body and blood of Christ be brought together in unity by the Holy Spirit.”

Doxology (Praise)

“Through him, with him, in him ,(refers to Christ)

In the unity of the Holy Spirit,

                        All glory and honour is yours, almighty Father

                        Forever and ever.    Amen.   

(This is known as The Great Amen and should be said with great enthusiasm.)




  • Some References to the Holy Spirit in the New Testament.


Anunciation.  Lk. 1:26-38


Baptism of the Lord.

From Lk. 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor.”


In conversation with Nicodemus.:

“Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, one cannot enter into the   Kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.    (Jn. 3:5-6)


On the Cross.

                                    “Jesus bowed his head and handed over the Spirit.”   (Jn. 19:30)

                                                (This can be said to be the birth of the Church)


Appearance to Apostles on the evening of the Resurrection.

                                    He commissions them to go out to preach the Gospel.  He breathed on them:

                                    “Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven;

  if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”  (Jn. 20:21-23)


In Luke’s Gospel.  Many references.

                                      e.g.  “Behold, I send you the promise of my Father upon you;  but stay in

the city until  you are clothed with power from on high.”


Acts of the Apostles.

Written by Luke and (as in his Gospel) has many references.  Acts can be described as the book of the Holy Spirit.


Pentecost.  (50 days after the Resurrection)

                                    The Holy Spirit comes down upon each of those assembles in the form of

tongues of fire.  They are empowered to go out and preach the Gospel.


St. Paul.   Many references

                                    e.g.  “For by one Spirit we were all baptised into one body – Jews or

         Greeks, slaves of free men – and all were made to drink of one Spirit.”


“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within   

  you, which you have from God?”  (1.Cor. 6:19)



Cardinal Basil Hume on the Holy Spirit
"There is a gentle breeze if we can but catch it, which blows all the time to help us on our journey through life to our final destination. That breeze is the Holy Spirit. But the wind cannot be caught or used unless the sail is hoisted, and the hoisting is our task. We must be on the watch, ready to recognise it and play our part. God does not hold us, and will lead us if we want it; but we must want it."

With the help of the Holy Spirit, we strive to make our everyday life reflect what is in our hearts as a follower of Christ.

Some ways in which we can do this:

  • In our prayer life.
  • In our devotion to our family.
  • In our attitude to others.
  • In our concern for the poor.
  • In our concern for the sick.
  • In our concern for the imprisoned.
  • In our actions to try to make our society a better place.