Every Sunday we Catholics say we believe in one God in three divine persons, but most of us think of “God” as either Jesus Christ or God the Father (usually in human form). Not the Holy Spirit… Maybe because a dove at Jesus’ baptism or fire rebaptizing the Apostles’ heads at Pentecost don’t look human at all. For example: How do you imagine the giver of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit looks? [Fill in mentally. . . . . . . . . . .]
Be honest, now, you pictured God the Father or Jesus. So–why don’t we call them gifts of the Father or gifts of the Son? Because we really haven’t followed the clues about who the Holy Spirit is. Even though we say every Sunday that the Holy Spirit is God.
The first sentence in the Hebrew Old Testament starts a theological “picture” of the Holy Spirit that seems easy to understand. Before the world was created (Genesis 1:1) , a “mighty wind” existed, an invisible power, a mover that moves others. Catholic theology suspects that this line hints that God as SPIRIT existed in more than one way before the material world (created by God). (In Hebrew, the word spirit means breath, wind, etc.) It’s the first clue about the Holy Spirit as God, different from God the creator. The Old Testament adds many more hints of the Spirit and of Jesus as the God-Man, but Jewish theology has always insisted that God was just ONE God.
Catholic theology sees the Holy Trinity (God as THREE PERSONS) revealed in the Bible, most strongly in the New Testament, with angels reporting the arrival on earth of God the Son through the work of the Holy Spirit and God the Father’s voice announcing the fact to the whole crowd at Jesus’ baptism (the debut of the Holy Spirit as dove).
The Catholic Holy Trinity means
God the Father = God acting as Creator of Everything
God the Son, Jesus Christ = God and Man Saving and Redeeming Us
The Holy Spirit = GOD BEING PRESENT TO US IN OUR DAILY LIVES
The Christian definition of God starts with God as MYSTERY (completely beyond our human mental capacity, we’ll never totally understand)—but that’s only half the story. Catholics also believe that GOD IS PRESENT RIGHT HERE AND RIGHT NOW. GOD IS MYSTERY PRESENT.
God has been revealing Himself to us from the beginning of creation, mostly as the Holy Spirit (once nature was set up by God as creator) using prophets’ words and God’s promises and “mighty deeds” and whispers to keep us on the path till Jesus arrived for a few years to give us a clearer message.
Since then, promised by Jesus, the Holy Spirit has been present to us.
The Holy Spirit is God being with us all the time, giving us the power to help our fellow humans, to pray to the Father and the Son, to save our souls. The Holy Spirit is God’s loving presence. The Holy Spirit is grace.