The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity. We believe that He “proceeds from the Father and the Son” (Nicene Creed). In his Vigil talk, the Pope described the Holy Spirit as “a unity of lived communion” – the communion of the Father and the Son constantly loving and giving of themselves to each other. Thus, the Holy Spirit is abiding love and self-giving; God shares himself as love in the Holy Spirit. The Pope goes on to say that “Love is the sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit!” And the Holy Spirit exemplifies for us the true characteristics of love – enduring, faithful, and certain.
The Holy Spirit has been present throughout all of history, acting alongside the Father and Son and continuing to work in our world today. The Spirit was present at the time of Creation and continues now to preserve and animate creation. He spoke through the prophets, and it was through Him that the Virgin Mary conceived the Son of God. The Spirit continues to be active today in the Church, leading her in her mission, unifying her, and guiding her in the path of truth. The Spirit works continuously to bring Christ’s work to fulfillment. In fact, the Catechism tells us, “The desire and work of the Spirit in the heart of the Church is that we may live from the life of the risen Christ” (CCC 1091).
We can see the work of the Holy Spirit alive in the Church in many ways. The Spirit inspired the human authors of Scripture and assists the Church’s Magisterium and Tradition today. He is present in the sacramental liturgy and makes the mystery of Christ present in the Eucharist. He intercedes for us and unites our souls to God in prayer (Rm 8:26). He converts our hearts and bestows His gifts on us, acting through the sacraments to strengthen our faith and lead us to the truth. The Spirit empowers us to participate in the life of the Church and bear witness to Christ in our lives. He is also seen in the apostolic and missionary life of the Church, as well as in the witness of the saints (CCC 688).