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5 Things to know about the Holy Spirit

Holy spirit.

Pascal Deloche | Godong

Philip Kosloski - published on 06/12/22

Here are five things to know about the Holy Spirit that you may not be familiar with.

As Christians, we believe that God is a Trinity of persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. However, we don’t always know much about the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity.

Here are five things to know about the Holy Spirit from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

1The Holy Spirit has Always Existed

God himself is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and he has destined us to share in that exchange.

CCC 221

Before his Passover, Jesus announced the sending of “another Paraclete” (Advocate), the Holy Spirit. At work since creation, having previously “spoken through the prophets,” the Spirit will now be with and in the disciples, to teach them and guide them “into all the truth.” The Holy Spirit is thus revealed as another divine person with Jesus and the Father.

CCC 243

2The Holy Spirit is God

The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, is God, one and equal with the Father and the Son, of the same substance and also of the same nature. . . Yet he is not called the Spirit of the Father alone,. . . but the Spirit of both the Father and the Son.

CCC 245

3The Holy Spirit is not a dove

While most often depicted as a dove, the Holy Spirit is not an actual dove, but God himself, who on occasion may take the form of a dove.

At the end of the flood, whose symbolism refers to Baptism, a dove released by Noah returns with a fresh olive-tree branch in its beak as a sign that the earth was again habitable. When Christ comes up from the water of his baptism, the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, comes down upon him and remains with him. The Spirit comes down and remains in the purified hearts of the baptized … Christian iconography traditionally uses a dove to suggest the Spirit.

CCC 701

4The Holy Spirit was fully revealed at Pentecost

On the day of Pentecost when the seven weeks of Easter had come to an end, Christ’s Passover is fulfilled in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, manifested, given, and communicated as a divine person: of his fullness, Christ, the Lord, pours out the Spirit in abundance. On that day, the Holy Trinity is fully revealed. 

CCC 731

5Christians receive the Holy Spirit at Baptism

From the very day of Pentecost the Church has celebrated and administered holy Baptism. Indeed St. Peter declares to the crowd astounded by his preaching: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

CCC 1226
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