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Holy Ghost

Catholic Doctrine

In the glossary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Holy Spirit is defined in this way: “The Holy Spirit is the third divine Person of the Blessed Trinity, the personal love of Father and Son for each other. Also called the Paraclete (Advocate) and Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit is at work with the Father and the Son from the beginning to the completion of the divine plan for our salvation.”

The Holy Spirit is equal to the Father and the Son in the Trinity, is the spirit of both the Father and the Son, and according to the creed of the church from the Council of Constantinople, the Holy Spirit is to be worshipped and glorified.

The Holy Spirit fulfills multiple missions in the Church. The Holy Spirit “...reveals that, with them, the Spirit is one and the same God” (Catechism 263). Within the Liturgy, the Holy Spirit is to “...prepare the assembly to encounter Christ; to recall and manifest Christ to the faith of the assembly; to make the saving work of Christ present and active by his transforming power; and to make the gift of communion bear fruit in the Church” (Catechism 1112). The Holy Spirit instructs and guides the Church in prayer, is linked to the forgiveness of sins, sanctifies the Church, and provides inspiration in praise, thanksgiving, and blessings. The Holy Spirit prepares the faithful of the Church to receive Christ in all things and guides them to all truth.

It was the Holy Spirit that anointed Jesus to be consecrated as Christ, and it was Jesus, referring to the Holy Spirit as another comforter who poured out the Holy Spirit onto his apostles and the Church. Through the Holy Spirit, the being of the Father and the Son and the mystery of the Trinity is revealed in its fullness.

The Holy Spirit is present in the liturgy and in many spiritual aspects of Church rite. The Holy Spirit is received through the sacrament of confirmation by anointing of the forehead with oil and the laying on of the minister’s hand. As the Holy Spirit is received, there are seven gifts the Holy Spirit can confer upon those who believe in Christ. These include wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord (Catechism 1845).

The Holy Spirit abides within each believer to teach, expound, and inspire them to live the gospel in its fullness. Within the soul, the Holy Spirit heals that which is scarred from sin, and renews the person “...through a spiritual transformation” (Catechism 1695). Through this transformation comes an increase in faith, by which the Holy Spirit provides help, encouragement, and sanctification to the soul.

See Catechism 179, 243-246, 264, 685, 744-747, 984, 1111-1112, 1133, 1316, 1320, 1695, 1845, 1982, 1983, 2026, 2661, and 2644.

Latter-day Saint Doctrine

From the time of Adam and Eve, the presence and importance of the Holy Ghost (or Holy Spirit as it is commonly referred to by the Catholic Church) has been felt. After Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden, the Holy Ghost was given to comfort, help, and guide them and there descendants, all the children of God.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints defines the nature and mission of the Holy Ghost as the following: “The Holy Ghost is a member of the Godhead (1 John 5:7). He is a spirit that has the form and likeness of a man. He can be in only one place at a time, but his influence can be everywhere at the same time. The Holy Ghost is our Heavenly Father’s messenger and is a special gift to us. The mission of the Holy Ghost is to bear witness of the Father and the Son and of the truth of all things” (Gospel Principles, 37).

The Holy Ghost testifies that Jesus is the Christ, and through the power of the Spirit (a common Latter-day Saint reference to the Holy Ghost), we are given guidance and knowledge to live the gospel.

God allows his children to feel and experience the Holy Ghost and gives them the opportunity to posses the “gift of the Holy Ghost” through faith, baptism and confirmation. The gift of the Holy Ghost provides continual guidance and inspiration if one lives the precepts of the gospel in righteousness. Temporary guidance can be obtained through the Holy Ghost without baptism and confirmation; however, such guidance and influence is not made constant until faith and commitment are exercised in their fullness through the receiving of these sacred ordinances.

The gift of the Holy Ghost is given through the laying on of hands by Melchizedek Priesthood. This is called the ordinance of confirmation which takes place following baptism, frequently the day of, or shortly thereafter. Although the gift of the Holy Ghost is given, the person receiving the gift must exercise faith, live worthily, have a desire to receive help and guidance, and learn to feel and heed the promptings of the Holy Ghost to experience the effects of this gift.

The gift of the Holy Ghost can bring peace to our souls and confidence of understanding the deep things of God (1 Corinthians 2:9–12). In addition we can be blessed with the gifts of the spirit for the benefit of ourselves and others in returning back to our heavenly home. These gifts include: The Gift of Tongues; The Gift of Interpretation of Tongues; The Gift of Translation; The Gift of Wisdom; The Gift of Knowledge; The Gift of Teaching Wisdom and Knowledge; The Gift of Knowing That Jesus Christ Is the Son of God; The Gift of Believing the Testimony of Others; The Gift of Prophecy; The Gift of Healing; The Gift of Working Miracles; and The Gift of Faith; (Gospel Principles, 141)

Each of us has one or more of these gifts of the Spirit and must learn to recognize, develop, and use these gifts while on the earth. Satan has his own imitations of these gifts and hopes to use them to deceive the children of God. We are called to be wise in our administration of the gifts of the Spirit.

See chapter 6 in Catholic Roots, Mormon Harvest for a more comprehensive explanation and commentary on the Holy Ghost.

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