DIGNITY AND RESPONSIBILITY OF BEING HUMAN
Fr Rodney Kissinger, S.J
Table of Contents
The Church proclaims the objective law, and also proclaims the interior law of the Spirit. “God is love.” (1 John 4) God loved me into existence. Love is not indifferent, it demands a response. God has given us a free will which enables us to return this love. God wants this intimate, personal relationship with us. It would be very strange indeed if God who wants this intimate, personal relationship with us only communicated to us indirectly, through external laws and not immediately and directly with us through personal inspiration and communication.
Scripture tells us that God does communicate with us directly and immediately. “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Rom. 5:5) “…not a covenant of written letters but of the Spirit: the written letters bring death, but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Cor. 3:6) “The law of the Spirit giving life in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 8:2) (cf. Catechism Part 3; #1695)
The whole life of Jesus, our model, was lived under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit at the Annunciation. At his baptism in the Jordan, the Holy Spirit descended upon him in the form of a dove. He was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. The Spirit led him into the synagogue on that Sabbath where he read from the Book of Isaiah and proclaimed that the text was fulfilled in him. It was by the power of the Holy Spirit that he expelled demons, even though the Pharisees claimed that he did so by the power of Beelzebub. On Calvary he prayed, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” Before he ascended into heaven he promised his apostles that he would send them the Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, who would remain with them forever and remind them of all he told them. (Jo.16:12-14)
The Mystical Body of Jesus, the Church, was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost and lives its life under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. St. Augustine called the Holy Spirit the soul of the Church. Just as the soul is the principle of life of the human body, so also the Holy Spirit is the principle of life of the Mystical Body of Jesus, the Church. The Acts of the Apostles which gives us the history of the early Church is called the Gospel of the Holy Spirit. It was by the power of the Holy Spirit that the Gospel of Christ crucified, so incredible and paradoxical in itself, so contrary to human nature and preached by such simple, unlettered men, conquered the known world in a few centuries. It was by the power of the Holy Spirit that for some 2,000 years the Church has been able to withstand diabolical attempts from without to destroy it, and corrupting influences from within.
Each Christian is conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit at Baptism and lives his life under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Paul tells us that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and that no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” without the Holy Spirit. What is called the spiritual life is actually the life of the Spirit in us. At Baptism we receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit which like giant TV antennae make us more receptive to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is the principle of life of the Church inspiring it and guiding it to make laws for the common good. The Holy Spirit is also the principle of life of the individual Christian, inspiring and enlightening him to understand, accept, and apply the law to himself in a particular concrete situation. Therefore, there is balance and protection. The objective law protects us against self-illusion, and the wiles of the evil spirit. And the internal law of the Spirit saves us from legalism. “In contrast, the fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self control. Against such there is no law.” (Gal. 5: 22-23)
The Lord did not give many detailed instructions, many laws, to his disciples. He gave them the Spirit to guide them in all they did. With the help of the Spirit they have established the Church. God’s revelation as taught by the Church, however powerful and beautiful it may be, it can only be effective if I can indeed receive it and apply it to myself. I must be open from within. God must manifest Himself to me, not only from outside myself but also inside myself. Otherwise it would be a dead collection of dogmas and precepts. “If today you hear his voice, harden not your heart.” (Ps.95)
GOOD MORAL IS GOOD MEDICINE
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