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DIVINUM ILLUD MUNUS
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE LEO XIII
ON THE HOLY SPIRIT


To Our Venerable Brethren, The Patriarchs, Primates,
Archbishops, Bishops, and other Local Ordinaries having
Peace and Communion with the Holy See.

Venerable Brethren, Health and the Apostolic Benediction.

That divine office which Jesus Christ received from His Father for the welfare of mankind, and most perfectly fulfilled, had for its final object to put men in possession of the eternal life of glory, and proximately during the course of ages to secure to them the life of divine grace, which is destined eventually to blossom into the life of heaven. Wherefore, our Saviour never ceases to invite, with infinite affection, all men, of every race and tongue, into the bosom of His Church: "Come ye all to Me," "I am the Life," "I am the Good Shepherd." Nevertheless, according to His inscrutable counsels, He did not will to entirely complete and finish this office Himself on earth, but as He had received it from the Father, so He transmitted it for its completion to the Holy Ghost. It is consoling to recall those assurances which Christ gave to the body of His disciples a little before He left the earth: "It is expedient to you that I go: for if I go not, the Paraclete will not come to you: but if I go, I will send Him to you" (1 John xvi., 7). In these words He gave as the chief reason of His departure and His return to the Father, the advantage which would most certainly accrue to His followers from the coming of the Holy Ghost, and, at the same time, He made it clear that the Holy Ghost is equally sent by-and therefore proceeds from-Himself and the Father; that He would complete, in His office of Intercessor, Consoler, and Teacher, the work which Christ Himself had begun in His mortal life. For, in the redemption of the world, the completion of the work was by Divine Providence reserved to the manifold power of that Spirit, who, in the creation, "adorned the heavens" (Job xxvi., 13), and "filled the whole world" (Wisdom i., 7).

The Two Principal Aims of Our Pontificate

2. Now We have earnestly striven, by the help of His grace, to follow theexample of Christ, Our Saviour, the Prince of Pastors, and the Bishop of ourSouls, by diligently carrying on His office, entrusted by Him to the Apostlesand chiefly to Peter, "whose dignity faileth not, even in his unworthysuccessor" (St. Leo the Great, Sermon ii., On the Anniversary of hisElection). In pursuance of this object We have endeavoured to direct all that Wehave attempted and persistently carried out during a long pontificatetowards two chief ends: in the first place, towards the restoration, both in rulers and peoples, of the principles of the Christian life in civil and domestic society, since there is no true life for men except from Christ; and, secondly, to promote the reunion of those who have fallen away from the Catholic Church either by heresy or by schism, since it is most undoubtedly the will of Christ that all should be united in one flock under one Shepherd. But now that We are looking forward to the approach of the closing days of Our life, Our soul is deeply moved to dedicate to the Holy Ghost, who is the life-giving Love, all the work We have done during Our pontificate, that He may bring it to maturity and fruitfulness. In order the better and more fully to carry out this Our intention, We have resolved to address you at the approaching sacred season of Pentecost concerning the indwelling and miraculous power of the Holy Ghost; and the extent and efficiency of His action, both in the whole body of the Church and in the individual souls of its members, through the glorious abundance of His divine graces. We earnestly desire that, as a result, faith may be aroused in your minds concerning the mystery of the adorable Trinity, and especially that piety may increase and be inflamed towards the Holy Ghost, to whom especially all of us owe the grace of following the paths of truth and virtue; for, as St. Basil said, "Who denieth that the dispensations concerning man, which have been made by the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ, according to the goodness of God, have been fulfilled through the grace of the Spirit?" (Of the Holy Ghost, c. xvi., v. 39).

The Catholic Doctrine of the Blessed Trinity

3. Before We enter upon this subject, it will be both desirable and useful to say a few words about the Mystery of the Blessed Trinity. This dogma is called by the doctors of the Church "the substance of the New Testament," that is to say, the greatest of all mysteries, since it is the fountain and origin of them all. In order to know and contemplate this mystery, the angels were created in Heaven and men upon earth. In order to teach more fully this mystery, which was but foreshadowed in the Old Testament, God Himself came down from the angels unto men: "No man bath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He bath declared Him" (John i., 18). Whosoever then writes or speaks of the Trinity must keep before His eyes the prudent warning ofthe Angelic Doctor: "When we speak of the Trinity, we must do so withcaution and modesty, for, as St. Augustine saith, nowhere else are moredangerous errors made, or is research more difficult, or discovery morefruitful" (Summ. Th. la., q. xxxi. De Trin. 1 L, c. 3). The danger thatarises is lest the Divine Persons be confounded one with the other in faith orworship, or lest the one Nature in them be separated: for "This is theCatholic Faith, that we should adore one God in Trinity and Trinity inUnity." Therefore Our predecessor Innocent XII, absolutely refused thepetition of those who desired a special festival in honour of God the Father.For, although the separate mysteries connected with the Incarnate Word arecelebrated on certain fixed days, yet there is no special feast on which theWord is honoured according to His Divine Nature alone. And even the Feast ofPentecost was instituted in the earliest times, not simply to honour the HolyGhost in Himself, but to commemorate His coming, or His external mission. Andall this has been wisely ordained, lest from distinguishing the Persons menshould be led to distinguish the Divine Essence. Moreover the Church, in orderto preserve in her children the purity of faith, instituted the Feast of theMost Holy Trinity, which John XXII. afterwards extended to the Universal Church.He also permitted altars and churches to be dedicated to the Blessed Trinity,and, with the divine approval, sanctioned the Order for the Ransom of Captives,which is specially devoted to the Blessed Trinity and bears Its name. Many factsconfirm its truths. The worship paid to the saints and angels, to the Mother ofGod, and to Christ Himself, finally redounds to the honour of the BlessedTrinity. In prayers addressed to one Person, there is also mention of theothers; in the litanies after the individual Persons have been separatelyinvoked, a common invocation of all is added: all psalms and hymns conclude withthe doxology to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; blessings, sacred rites, andsacraments are either accompanied or concluded by the invocation of the BlessedTrinity. This was already foreshadowed by the Apostle in those words: "Forof Him, and by Him, and in Him, are all things: to Him be glory for ever"(Rom. xi., 36), thereby signifying both the Trinity of Persons and the Unity ofNature: for as this is one and the same in each of the Persons, so to each is equally owing supreme glory, as to one and the same God. St. Augustine commenting upon this testimony writes: "The words of the Apostle, of Him, and by Him, and in Him are not to be taken indiscriminately; of Him refers to the Father, by Him to the Son, in Him to the Holy Ghost" (De Trin. 1. vi., c. 10; 1. i., c. 6). The Church is accustomed most fittingly to attribute to the Father those works of the Divinity in which power excels, to the Son those in which wisdom excels, and those in which love excels to the Holy Ghost. Not that all perfections and external operations are not common to the Divine Persons; for "the operations of the Trinity are indivisible, even as the essence of the Trinity is indivisible" (St. Aug., De Trin., I. 1, cc. 4-5); because as the three Divine Persons "are inseparable, so do they act inseparably" (St. Aug., i6.). But by a certain comparison, and a kind of affinity between the operations and the properties of the Persons, these operations are attributed or, as it is said, "appropriated" to One Person rather than to the others. "Just as we make use of the traces of similarity or likeness which we find in creatures for the manifestation of the Divine Persons, so do we use Their essential attributes; and this manifestation of the Persons by Their essential attributes is called appropriation" (St. Th. la., q. 39, xxxix., a. 7). In this manner the Father, who is "the principle of the whole God-head" (St. Aug. De Trin. 1 iv., c. 20) is also the efficient cause of all things, of the Incarnation of the Word, and the sanctification of souls; "of Him are all things": of Him, referring to the Father. But the Son, the Word, the Image of God is also the exemplar cause, whence all creatures borrow their form and beauty, their order and harmony. He is for us the Way, the Truth, and the Life; the Reconciles of man with God. "By Him are all things": by Him, referring to the Son. The Holy Ghost is the ultimate cause of all things, since, as the will and all other things finally rest in their end, so He, who is the Divine Goodness and the Mutual Love of the Father and Son, completes and perfects, by His strong yet gentle power, the secret work of man's eternal salvation. "In Him are all things": in Him, referring to the Holy Ghost.

The Holy Ghost and the Incarnation

4. Having thus paid the due tribute of faith and worship owing to the Blessed Trinity, and which ought to be more and more inculcated upon the Christian people, we now turn to the exposition of the power of theHoly Ghost. And, first of all, we must look to Christ, the Founder of the Churchand the Redeemer of our race. Among the external operations of God, the highestof all is the mystery of the Incarnation of the Word, in which the splendour ofthe divine perfections shines forth so brightly that nothing more sublime caneven be imagined, nothing else could have been more salutary to the human race.Now this work, although belonging to the whole Trinity, is still appropriatedespecially to the Holy Ghost, so that the Gospels thus speak of the BlessedVirgin: "She was found with child of the Holy Ghost," and "thatwhich is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost" (Matt. i., 18, 20). Andthis is rightly attributed to Him who is the love of the Father and the Son,since this "great mystery of piety" (1 Tim. iii., 16) proceeds fromthe infinite love of God towards man, as St. John tells us: "God so lovedthe world as to give His only begotten Son" (John iii., 16). Moreover,human nature was thereby elevated to a personal union with the Word; and thisdignity is given, not on account of any merits, but entirely and absolutelythrough grace, and therefore, as it were, through the special gift of the HolyGhost. On this point St. Augustine writes: "This manner in which Christ wasborn of the Holy Ghost, indicates to us the grace of God, by which humanity,with no antecedent merits, at the first moment of its existence, was united withthe Word of God, by so intimate a personal union, that He, who was the Son ofMan, was also the Son of God, and He who was the Son of God was also the Son ofMan" (Enchir., c. xl. St. Th., 3a., q. xxxii., a. 1). By the operation ofthe Holy Spirit, not only was the conception of Christ accomplished, but alsothe sanctification of His soul, which, in Holy Scripture, is called His"anointing" (Acts x., 38). Wherefore all His actions were"performed in the Holy Ghost" (St. Basil de Sp. S., c. xvi.), andespecially the sacrifice of Himself: "Christ, through the Holy Ghost,offered Himself without spot to God" (Heb. ix., 14). Considering this, noone can be surprised that all the gifts of the Holy Ghost inundated the soul ofChrist. In Him resided the absolute fullness of grace, in the greatest and mostefficacious manner possible; in Him were all the treasures of wisdom andknowledge, graces gratis datae, virtues, and all other gifts foretold in theprophecies of Isaias (Is. iv., I; xi., 23), and also signified in that miraculous dove which appeared at the Jordan, when Christ, by His baptism, consecrated its waters for a new sacrament. On this the words of St. Augustine may appropriately be quoted: "It would be absurd to say that Christ received the Holy Ghost when He was already thirty years of age, for He came to His baptism without sin, and therefore not without the Holy Ghost. At this time, then (that is, at His baptism), He was pleased to prefigure His Church, in which those especially who are baptized receive the Holy Ghost" (De. Trin. 1., xv., c. 26). Therefore, by the conspicuous apparition of the Holy Ghost over Christ and by His invisible power in His soul, the twofold mission of the Spirit is foreshadowed, namely, His outward and visible mission in the Church, and His secret indwelling in the souls of the just.

The Holy Ghost and the Church

5. The Church which, already conceived, came forth from the side of the second Adam in His sleep on the Cross, first showed herself before the eyes of men on the great day of Pentecost. On that day the Holy Ghost began to manifest His gifts in the mystic body of Christ, by that miraculous outpouring already foreseen by the prophet Joel (ii., 28-29), for the Paraclete "sat upon the apostles as though new spiritual crowns were placed upon their heads in tongues of fire" (S. Cyril Hier. Catech. 17). Then the apostles "descended from the mountain," as St. John Chrysostom writes, "not bearing in their hands tables of stone like Moses, but carrying the Spirit in their mind, and pouring forth the treasure and the fountain of doctrines and graces" (In Matt. Hom. L, 2 Cor. iii., 3). Thus was fully accomplished that last promise of Christ to His apostles of sending the Holy Ghost, who was to complete and, as it were, to seal the deposit of doctrine committed to them under His inspiration. "I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now; but when He, the Spirit of Truth, shall come, He will teach you all truth" (John xvi., 12-13). For He who is the Spirit of Truth, inasmuch as He proceedeth both from the Father, who is the eternally True, and from the Son, who is the substantial Truth, receiveth from each both His essence and the fullness of all truth. This truth He communicates to His Church, guarding her by His all powerful help from ever falling into error, and aiding her to foster daily more and more the germs of divine doctrineand to make them fruitful for the welfare of the peoples. And since the welfareof the peoples, for which the Church was established, absolutely requires thatthis office should be continued for all time, the Holy Ghost perpetuallysupplies life and strength to preserve and increase the Church. "I will askthe Father, and He will give you another Paraclete, that He may abide with youfor ever, the Spirit of Truth" (john xiv., 16, 17).

6. By Him the bishops are constituted, and by their ministry are multiplied not only the children, but also the fathers-that is to say, the priests-to rule and feed the Church by that Blood wherewith Christ has redeemed Her. "The Holy Ghost hath placed you bishops to rule the Church of God, which He bath purchased with His own Blood" (Acts xx., 28). And both bishops and priests, by the miraculous gift of the Spirit, have the power of absolving sins, according to those words of Christ to the Apostles: "Receive ye the Holy Ghost; whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven them, and whose you shall retain they are retained" (John xx., 22, 23). That the Church is a divine institution is most clearly proved by the splendour and glory of those gifts and graces with which she is adorned, and whose author and giver is the Holy Ghost. Let it suffice to state that, as Christ is the Head of the Church, so is the Holy Ghost her soul. "What the soul is in our body, that is the Holy Ghost in Christ's body, the Church" (St. Aug., Serm. 187, de Temp.). This being so, no further and fuller "manifestation and revelation of the Divine Spirit" may be imagined or expected; for that which now takes place in the Church is the most perfect possible, and will last until that day when the Church herself, having passed through her militant career, shall be taken up into the joy of the saints triumphing in heaven.

The Holy Ghost in the Souls of the Just

7. The manner and extent of the action of the Holy Ghost in individual souls is no less wonderful, although somewhat more difficult to understand, inasmuch as it is entirely invisible. This outpouring of the Spirit is so abundant, that Christ Himself, from whose gift it proceeds, compares it to an overflowing river, according to those words of St. John: "He that believeth in Me, as the Scripture saith, out of his midst shall flow rivers of livingwater"; to which testimony the Evangelist adds the explanation: "Nowthis He said of the Spirit which they should receive who believed in Him"(John vii., 38, 39). It is indeed true that in those of the just who livedbefore Christ, the Holy Ghost resided by grace, as we read in the Scripturesconcerning the prophets, Zachary, John the Baptist, Simeon, and Anna; so that onPentecost the Holy Ghost did not communicate Himself in such a way "as thenfor the first time to begin to dwell in the saints, but by pouring Himself forthmore abundantly; crowning, not beginning His gifts; not commencing a new work,but giving more abundantly" (St. Leo the Great, Hom. iii., de Pentec.). Butif they also were numbered among the children of God, they were in a state likethat of servants, for "as long as the heir is a child he differeth nothingfrom a servant, but is under tutors and governors" (Gal. iv., I, 2).Moreover, not only was their justice derived from the merits of Christ who wasto come, but the communication of the Holy Ghost after Christ was much moreabundant, just as the price surpasses in value the earnest and the realityexcels the image. Wherefore St. John declares: "As yet the Spirit was notgiven, because Jesus was not yet glorified" (John vii., 39). So soon,therefore, as Christ, "ascending on high," entered into possession ofthe glory of His Kingdom which He had won with so much labour, He munificentlyopened out the treasures of the Holy Ghost: "He gave gifts to men"(Eph. iv., 8). For "that giving or sending forth of the Holy Ghost afterChrist's glorification was to be such as had never been before; not that therehad been none before, but it had not been of the same kind" (St. Aug., DeTrin., 1. iv. c. 20).

8. Human nature is by necessity the servant of God: "The creature is a servant; we are the servants of God by nature" (St. Cyr. Alex., Thesaur. I. v., c. 5). On account, however, of original sin, our whole nature had fallen into such guilt and dishonour that we had become enemies to God. "We were by nature the children of wrath" (Eph. ii., 3). There was no power which could raise us and deliver us from this ruin and eternal destruction. But God, the Creator of mankind and infinitely merciful, did this through His only begotten Son, by whose benefit it was brought about that man was restored so that rank and dignity whence he had fallen, and was adornedwith still more abundant graces. No one can express the greatness of this workof divine grace in the souls of men. Wherefore, both in Holy Scripture and inthe writings of the fathers, men are styled regenerated, new creatures,partakers of the Divine Nature, children of God, god-like, and similar epithets.Now these great blessings are justly attributed as especially belonging to theHoly Ghost. He is "the Spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry: Abba,Father." He fills our hearts with the sweetness of paternal love: "TheSpirit Himself giveth testimony to our spirit that we are the sons of God"(Rom. viii., 15-16). This truth accords with the similitude observed by theAngelic Doctor between both operations of the Holy Ghost; for through Him"Christ was conceived in holiness to be by nature the Son of God," and"others are sanctified to be the sons of God by adoption" (St. Th. 3a,q. xxxii., a. I). This spiritual generation proceeds from love in a much morenoble manner than the natural: namely, from the untreated Love.

9. The beginnings of this regeneration and renovation of man are by Baptism. In this sacrament, when the unclean spirit has been expelled from the soul, the Holy Ghost enters in and makes it like to Himself. "That which is born of the Spirit, is spirit" (John iii., 6). The same Spirit gives Himself more abundantly in Confirmation, strengthening and confirming Christian life; from which proceeded the victory of the martyrs and the triumph of the virgins over temptations and corruptions. We have said that the Holy Ghost gives Himself: "the charity of God is poured out into our hearts by the Holy Ghost who is given to us" (Rom. v., 5). For He not only brings to us His divine gifts, but is the Author of them and is Himself the supreme Gift, who, proceeding from the mutual love of the Father and the Son, is justly believed to be and is called "Gift of God most High." To show the nature and efficacy of this gift it is well to recall the explanation given by the doctors of the Church of the words of Holy Scripture. They say that God is present and exists in all things, "by His power, in so far as all things are subject to His power; by His presence, inasmuch as all things are naked and open to His eyes; by His essence, inasmuch as he is present to all as the cause of their being." (St. Th. Ia, q. viii., a. 3). But God is in man, not only as in inanimate things, but because he ismore fully known and loved by him, since even by nature we spontaneously love,desire, and seek after the good. Moreover, God by grace resides in the just soulas in a temple, in a most intimate and peculiar manner. From this proceeds thatunion of affection by which the soul adheres most closely to God, more so thanthe friend is united to his most loving and beloved friend, and enjoys God inall fulness and sweetness. Now this wonderful union, which is properly called"indwelling," differing only in degree or state from that with whichGod beatifies the saints in heaven, although it is most certainly produced bythe presence of the whole Blessed Trinity-"We will come to Him and make ourabode with Him," (John xiv. 23.)-nevertheless is attributed in a peculiarmanner to the Holy Ghost. For, whilst traces of divine power and wisdom appeareven in the wicked man, charity, which, as it were, is the special mark of theHoly Ghost, is shared in only by the just. In harmony with this, the same Spiritis called Holy, for He, the first and supreme Love, moves souls and leads themto sanctity, which ultimately consists in the love of God. Wherefore the apostlewhen calling us to the temple of God, does not expressly mention the Father orthe Son, or the Holy Ghost: "Know ye not that your members are the templeof the Holy Ghost, who is in you, whom you have from God?" (1 Cor. vi. 19).The fullness of divine gifts is in many ways a consequence of the indwelling ofthe Holy Ghost in the souls of the just. For, as St. Thomas teaches, "whenthe Holy Ghost proceedeth as love, He proceedeth in the character of the firstgift; whence Augustine with that, through the gift which is the Holy Ghost, manyother special gifts are distributed among the members of Christ." (Summ.Th., la. q. xxxviii., a. 2. St. Aug. de Trin., xv., c. 19). Among these giftsare those secret warnings and invitations, which from time to time are excitedin our minds and hearts by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. Without thesethere is no beginning of a good life, no progress, no arriving at eternalsalvation. And since these words and admonitions are uttered in the soul in anexceedingly secret manner, they are sometimes aptly compared in Holy Writ to thebreathing of a coming breeze, and the Angelic Doctor likens them to themovements of the heart which are wholly hidden in the living body. "Thy heart has a certain hidden power, and therefore the Holy Ghost, who invisibly vivifies and unites the Church, is compared to the heart." (Summ. Th. 3a, q. vii., a. I, ad 3). More than this, the just man, that is to say he who lives the life of divine grace, and acts by the fitting virtues as by means of faculties, has need of those seven gifts which are properly attributed to the Holy Ghost. By means of them the soul is furnished and strengthened so as to obey more easily and promptly His voice and impulse. Wherefore these gifts are of such efficacy that they lead the just man to the highest degree of sanctity; and of such excellence that they continue to exist even in heaven, though in a more perfect way. By means of these gifts the soul is excited and encouraged to seek after and attain the evangelical beatitudes, which, like the flowers that come forth in the spring time, are the signs and harbingers of eternal beatitude. Lastly there are those blessed fruits, enumerated by the Apostle (Gal. v., 22), which the Spirit, even in this mortal life, produces and shows forth in the just; fruits filled with all sweetness and joy, inasmuch as they proceed from the Spirit, "who is in the Trinity the sweetness of both Father and Son, filling all creatures with infinite fullness and profusion." (St. Aug. de Trin. 1. vi., c. 9). The Divine Spirit, proceeding from the Father and the Word in the eternal light of sanctity, Himself both Love and Gift, after having manifested Himself through the veils of figures in the Old Testament, poured forth all his fullness upon Christ and upon His mystic Body, the Church; and called back by his presence and grace men who were going away in wickedness and corruption with such salutary effect that, being no longer of the earth earthy, they relished and desired quite other things, becoming of heaven heavenly.

On Devotion to the Holy Ghost

10. These sublime truths, which so clearly show forth the infinite goodness of the Holy Ghost towards us, certainly demand that we should direct towards Him the highest homage of our love and devotion. Christians may do this most effectually if they will daily strive to know Him, to love Him, and to implore Him more earnestly; for which reason may this Our exhortation, flowing spontaneously from a paternal heart, reach their ears. Perchance there are still to be found among them, even nowadays, some, who if asked, as were those of old bySt. Paul the Apostle, whether they have received the Holy Ghost, might answer inlike manner: "We have not so much as heard whether there be a HolyGhost" (Acts xix., 2). At least there are certainly many who are verydeficient in their religious practices, but their faith is involved in muchdarkness. Wherefore all preachers and those having care of souls should rememberthat it is their duty to instruct their people more diligently and more fullyabout the Holy Ghost-avoiding, however, difficult and subtle controversies, andeschewing the dangerous folly of those who rashly endeavour to pry into divinemysteries. What should be chiefly dwelt upon and clearly explained is themultitude and greatness of the benefits which have been bestowed, and areconstantly bestowed, upon us by this Divine Giver, so that errors and ignoranceconcerning matters of such moment may be entirely dispelled, as unworthy of"the children of light." We urge this, not only because it affects amystery by which we are directly guided to eternal life, and which musttherefore be firmly believed; but also because the more clearly and fully thegood is known the more earnestly it is loved. Now we owe to the Holy Ghost, aswe mentioned in the second place, love, because He is God: "Thou shalt lovethe Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thywhole strength" (Deut. vi., 5). He is also to be loved because He is thesubstantial, eternal, primal Love, and nothing is more lovable than love. Andthis all the more because He has overwhelmed us with the greatest benefits,which both testify to the benevolence of the Giver and claim the gratitude ofthe receiver. This love has a twofold and most conspicuous utility. In the firstplace it will excite us to acquire daily a clearer knowledge about the HolyGhost; for, as the Angelic Doctor says, "the lover is not content with thesuperficial knowledge of the beloved, but striveth to inquire intimately intoall that appertains to the beloved, and thus to penetrate into the interior; asis said of the Holy Ghost, Who is the Love of God, that He searcheth even theprofound things of God" (1 Cor. ii., 10; Summ. Theol., la. 2ae., q. 28, a.2). In the second place it will obtain for us a still more abundant supply ofheavenly gifts; for whilst a narrow heart contracteth the hand of the giver, a grateful and mindful heart causeth it to expand. Yet we must strive that this love should be of such a nature as not to consist merely in dry speculations or external observances, but rather to run forward towards action, and especially to fly from sin, which is in a more special manner offensive to the Holy Spirit. For whatever we are, that we are by the divine goodness; and this goodness is specially attributed to the Holy Ghost. The sinner offends this his Benefactor, abusing His gifts; and taking advantage of His goodness becomes more hardened in sin day by day. Again, since He is the Spirit of Truth, whosoever faileth by weakness or ignorance may perhaps have some excuse before Almighty God; but he who resists the truth through malice and turns away from it, sins most grievously against the Holy Ghost. In our days this sin has become so frequent that those dark times seem to have come which were foretold by St. Paul, in which men, blinded by the just judgment of God, should take falsehood for truth, and should believe in "the prince of this world," who is a liar and the father thereof, as a teacher of truth: "God shall send them the operation of error, to believe lying (2 Thess. ii., 10). In the last times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to spirits of error and the doctrines of devils" (1 Tim. iv., 1). But since the Holy Ghost, as We have said, dwells in us as in His temple, We must repeat the warning of the Apostle: "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed" (Eph. iv., 30). Nor is it enough to fly from sin; every Christian ought to shine with the splendour of virtue so as to be pleasing to so great and so beneficent a guest; and first of all with chastity and holiness, for chaste and holy things befit the temple. Hence the words of the Apostle: "Know you not that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? But if any man violate the temple of God, him shall God destroy. For the temple of God is holy, which you are" (1 Cor. iii., 16-17): a terrible, indeed, but a just warning.

11. Lastly, we ought to pray to and invoke the Holy Spirit, for each one of usgreatly needs His protection and His help. The more a man is deficient inwisdom, weak in strength, borne down with trouble, prone to sin, so ought he themore to fly to Him who is the never-ceasing fount of light, strength,consolation, and holiness. And chiefly that first requisite of man, theforgiveness of sins, must be sought for from Him: "It is the special character of the Holy Ghost that He is the Gift of the Father and the Son. Now the remission of all sins is given by the Holy Ghost as by the Gift of God" (Summ. Th. 3a, q. iii., a. 8, ad 3m). Concerning this Spirit the words of the Liturgy are very explicit: "For He is the remission of all sins" (Roman Missal, Tuesday after Pentecost). How He should be invoked is clearly taught by the Church, who addresses Him in humble supplication, calling upon Him by the sweetest of names: "Come, Father of the poor! Come, Giver of gifts! Come, Light of our hearts! O, best of Consolers, sweet Guest of the soul, our refreshment!" (Hymn, Veni Sancte Spiritus). She earnestly implores Him to wash, heal, water our minds and hearts, and to give to us who trust in Him "the merit of virtue, the acquirement of salvation, and joy everlasting." Nor can it be in any way doubted that He will listen to such prayer, since we read the words written by His own inspiration: "The Spirit Himself asketh for us with unspeakable groanings" (Rom. viii., 26). Lastly, we ought confidently and continually to beg of Him to illuminate us daily more and more with His light and inflame us with His charity: for, thus inspired with faith and love, we may press onward earnestly towards our eternal reward, since He "is the pledge of our inheritance" (Eph. i. 14).

12. Such, Venerable Brethren, are the teachings and exhortations which We haveseen good to utter, in order to stimulate devotion to the Holy Ghost. We have nodoubt that, chiefly by means of your zeal and earnestness, they will bearabundant fruit among Christian peoples. We Ourselves shall never in the futurefail to labour towards so important an end; and it is even Our intention, inwhatever ways may appear suitable, to further cultivate and extend thisadmirable work of piety. Meanwhile, as two years ago, in Our Letter ProvidaMatris, We recommended to Catholics special prayers at the Feast of Pentecost,for the Re-union of Christendom, so now We desire to make certain furtherdecrees on the same subject.

An Annual Novena Decreed

13. Wherefore, We decree and command that throughout the whole Catholic Church,this year and in every subsequent year, a Novena shalltake place before Whit-Sunday, in all parish churches, and also, if the local Ordinaries think fit, in other churches and oratories. To all who take part in this Novena and duly pray for Our intention, We grant for each day an Indulgence of seven years and seven quarantines; moreover, a Plenary Indulgence on any one of the days of the Novena, or on Whit-Sunday itself, or on any day during the Octave; provided they shall have received the Sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist, and devoutly prayed for Our intention. We will that those who are legitimately prevented from attending the Novena, or who are in places where the devotions cannot, in the judgment of the Ordinary, be conveniently carried out in church, shall equally enjoy the same benefits, provided they make the Novena privately and observe the other conditions. Moreover We are pleased to grant, in perpetuity, from the Treasury of the Church, that whosoever, daily during the Octave of Pentecost up to Trinity Sunday inclusive, offer again publicly or privately any prayers, according to their devotion, to the Holy Ghost, and satisfy the above conditions, shall a second time gain each of the same Indulgences. All these Indulgences We also permit to be applied to the suffrage of the souls in Purgatory.

14. And now Our mind and heart turn back to those hopes with which We began, andfor the accomplishment of which We earnestly pray, and will continue to pray, tothe Holy Ghost. Unite, then, Venerable Brethren, your prayers with Ours, and atyour exhortation let all Christian peoples add their prayers also, invoking thepowerful and ever-acceptable intercession of the Blessed Virgin. You know wellthe intimate and wonderful relations existing between her and the Holy Ghost, sothat she is justly called His Spouse. The intercession of the Blessed Virgin wasof great avail both in the mystery of the Incarnation and in the coming of theHoly Ghost upon the Apostles. May she continue to strengthen our prayers withher suffrages, that, in the midst of all the stress and trouble of the nations,those divine prodigies may be happily revived by the Holy Ghost, which wereforetold in the words of David: "Send forth Thy Spirit and they shall becreated, and Thou shalt renew the face of the earth" (Ps. ciii., 30).

15. As a pledge of Divine favour and a testimony of Our affection, Venerable Brethren, to you, to your Clergy, andpeople, We gladly impart in the Lord the Apostolic Benediction.

Given at St. Peter's, in Rome, on the 9th day of May, 1897, in the 20th year of Our Pontificate.

LEO XIII

 

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