What can a dubious mind do

What do we actually need the Holy Spirit for?

What's this?


Pentecost / Holy Spirit

Pentecost is the third highest festival in Christianity. The descent of the Holy Spirit is celebrated on a group of about 120 people: the apostles, Mary, some women and other disciples from the circle of friends of Jesus. This group originally “out of fear of the Jews” (Jn 20:19), but then gathered in the Upper Room in prayer to wait for an initiative from above. Pentecost is celebrated on the 50th day after Easter - hence the word “Pentecost”, which is derived from the Greek pentekostē (= “fiftieth”). Pentecost is considered the actual feast of the Church's birth, with a deeper meaning in the fact that the place of birth is identical with the room in which Christ instituted the Eucharist.

The Holy Spirit "is the third person of the Holy Trinity (Trinity) and of the same divine greatness as the Father and the Son." (YC 38) Before his death, Jesus had promised the disciples "another helper" (Jn 14 , 16) when he was no longer with them. When the Holy Spirit was poured out on the disciples of the early Church, they learned what Jesus had meant. They experienced a deep sense of security and joy in their faith and received certain charisms (= gifts of grace) d. H. they could prophesy, heal and work miracles. ”It is the Holy Spirit who“ gives life ”(Jn 6:63) - the individual Christian and the whole church, which without the Holy Spirit would in a sense be forsaken by God. Without the “gifts of the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor 12) the church is a dead, spiritless structure.

What does the scriptures say?


The descent of the Holy Spirit, prophetically announced by Jesus, took place on the day of the Jewish harvest festival - a dramatic event: "... a roar from heaven like a violent storm ... tongues like fire." , 3) The disciples, who did not know what was happening to them, “began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them” (Acts 2: 4). In the hour of its birth, the young, spirit-filled Church immediately developed a missionary dynamic. This is what Jesus had demanded before he left: “Go and make all the nations my disciples; baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit ”(Mt 28:19). “What should we do, brethren?” (Acts 2:37) Peter answered: “Repent and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is made to you and your children and to all those far away whom the Lord our God will call. ”(Acts 2,38) The power of the Holy Spirit can be grasped with hands:“ On this day they were communed about three thousand people added. ”(Acts 2:41) In the Holy Spirit they“ held fast to the teaching of the apostles and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayers. ”(Acts 2:42)

Even before Pentecost, the Holy Spirit is a divine reality in the New Testament: Mary receives Jesus by being “overshadowed” by the Holy Spirit (Lk 1.35). At the baptism in the Jordan the Holy Spirit comes upon Jesus (Mt 3:16). In John's Gospel, Jesus speaks of the “spirit of truth” (John 14:17). In the Old Testament, understanding of the Holy Spirit only develops gradually. “The Spirit of God”, it says in the creation account, “floated over the water” (Gen 1,2). Man comes to life when God breathes his “breath” into him (Gen 2,7). Job confesses: “God's spirit created me, the breath of the Almighty gave me life” (Job 33.4) The Hebrew word for it is ruach - and it is feminine, a sign that in God also the motherly creator of life is last place has.

The YOUCAT little catechesis


What do we need the Holy Spirit for?

When people were not yet sexually enlightened - around 1968 - a certain Oswalt Kolle landed an international blockbuster with the film "Your wife, the unknown being". Today you should make a film "The Holy Spirit - the unknown being". Nothing is more unknown in the church and hardly anything more important than the Holy Spirit, especially in times when many no longer know where back and front are.

Some bring the Holy Spirit to the somewhat poor formula, “What we need is more enthusiasm!” But the Holy Spirit does not mean increasing the emotional operating temperature during praise. In YC 38 it says: “The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Holy Trinity and of the same divine greatness as the Father and the Son” - and YOUCAT 113 reinforces this again: “To believe in the Holy Spirit means to believe in him as God to worship like the father and the son. "

Without the Holy Spirit, God is not complete, so to speak. And above all: Without the Holy Spirit, God is somehow not “there” - once again very humanly speaking.

© Photo by Valentina Uribe on Cathopic.

A ghost or what?

We can imagine something under God the Father - even if it is the naive image of an old man with a long beard. With the Son, the New Testament becomes almost palpable: "What we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have seen and what our hands have touched, we proclaim." When we talk about it, some only think of castle ghosts and other airy phenomena of dubious reality.

Now there are invisible things that are as real as stone and iron - "love" for example. No one has seen love before - but it is there without a doubt. With people love is a kind of in-between thing - the Latin language has the word interest for it (= being in-between). Because through Jesus we are in a brilliant position to look into the interior of God, we also discover an inter-eating there. God is not a monolithic block. In him there is life, community, an incessant dialogue of love. The Father's interest in the Son (and vice versa) is of such tremendous intensity that the “between” divine love is not a vague feeling or a relationship quality, but a person: the Holy Spirit.

A relationship that is a "somebody" is beyond any human imagination. And it gets even crazier! Jesus wants to bring us into the relationship of all relationships, the inter-essence of God. We are totally interesting to him. To this end, he does not press any association statutes into our hands; we do not have to artificially create a certain “spirit”.

He gives us a god, so to speak

I beg your pardon? What might the poor Corinthians have thought when Paul asked them: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who dwells in you and which you have from God?” “Our body”, YC 120 concludes logically , "Is in a sense the living room of God." The infinite God - in small format? In an accommodation made of flesh, blood and dubious thoughts?

Let's just look at how Jesus got there. The Gospel of John transmits the farewell speeches of Jesus. One can well imagine what was going on in the friends of Jesus when he announced the failure of his project. These fishermen, farmers and tax collectors, who gave up their bourgeois professions, had put everything on one card. Now would her hero make a run for it? An explanation is the least they could ask for.

And Jesus gives it. Message 1: “I will not leave you orphans!” (Jn 14:18). Message 2: “I will ask the Father and he will give you another assistant who will stay with you forever, the spirit of truth, which the world cannot receive because it does not see and does not know him. But you know him because he remains with you and will be in you. ”(Jn 14: 16-17)

Did the apostles understand something? I doubt it.

Revelation in the relationship box

We still know today where the “relationship box” is. I mean the place where the disciples entered into the relationship of all relationships. It is located in Jerusalem, on Mount Zion (for smartphone owners: GPS 31.772167, 35.229281). From Ma'ale Shazkh Street one climbs about 40 m to the "Upper Room", of which the famous archaeologist Bargil Pixner swears stone and bone that here - right under the Crusader Church from the 14th century - was the hall in which two decisive moments in the history of God's relationship with the world took place: the Lord's Supper and Pentecost.

It was the room in which Jesus entered into an unprecedented new relationship with his disciples that made him absent, so to speak. Here Jesus offered himself in a eucharistic way to eat and drink - forever and everywhere. And it was this room in Jerusalem that is called "upper room" in the Acts of the Apostles; Jesus' closest confidants returned there after the Lord had shown himself to be the risen one: “Peter and John, James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James, the son of Alphaeus, and Simon, the Zealot, as well Judas, the son of James ... ”(Acts 1:13) They had received an enigmatic instruction:“ You will receive the power of the Holy Spirit, who will come down on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the borders of the earth. ”(Acts 1,8) What was that supposed to mean?

The Descent Of The Spirit, by Gustave Doré.

Closed shop. Tension is no longer possible.

What do you do in such a moment? Waiting.

“They all remained there with one accord in prayer, together with the women and with Mary, the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.” In the middle: Mary, the relationship specialist from the beginning (“The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you ”, Lk 1.35). Her “yes” opened the space for God's incarnation.

And then they - the mother, the women, the friends - will be attacked at Pentecost. A new reality begins. “Fifty days after his resurrection,” says YC 118, “the Lord sent down the Holy Spirit from heaven on his disciples. The time of the Church began. On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit turned fearful apostles into courageous witnesses of Christ. Thousands of people were baptized in a very short time: the Church was born. The linguistic miracle of Pentecost shows that the Church is there for everyone from the beginning; it is universal (Latin for the Greek catholic) and missionary. She speaks to everyone, overcomes ethnic and linguistic boundaries and can be understood by everyone. To this day, the Holy Spirit is the Church's elixir of life. "

To be a spiritless Christian? An absurdity!

God has been in stand-by mode since Pentecost. He dwells in the heart of the Church and in the heart of every believer. Every contact with God, every appeal to him, every talk about him is "spiritual" - or he is a fraudulent label. When we pray, God calls in us to God outside of us, and when we know God, God knows in us the God above us. "Without the Holy Spirit one cannot understand Jesus," says YC 114. When there is healing in the church, it is healing in the Holy Spirit. Without him no one will be comforted, strengthened, converted, guided and reconciled. Without the Veni Sancte Spiritus, no one in the Church can teach, bless, or lead. You cannot practice theology without “anointing from above”. "Without" one cannot give sacraments either; the gifts of the earth remain unchanged. Without the Holy Spirit, pastors are only blind guides for the blind. Without the Holy Spirit, the whole highly differentiated complex of the church is nothing but a poor piece of sociology. And "wisdom, insight, advice, strength, knowledge, piety and fear of God" (YC 310) are normal skills, at least not The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. The world remains the world. Nothing comes from above.

Metropolitan Ignatius Hazim, the former Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch (1920-2012), put it in an inimitable way: “Without the Holy Spirit, God is far away, Christ remains in the past, the Gospel is a dead book, the Church one Organization, authority only rule, mission propaganda, cult an incantation and Christian action a slave morality. But with the Holy Spirit the cosmos rises and groans in the birth pangs of the kingdom, is the risen Christ there, the gospel is the power of life, the church means the triune community, authority is a liberating service, the mission is a new Pentecost , the liturgy is remembrance and anticipation, is human action glorified. ”∎