Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Notes on Dominum et Vivificantem (Part 5 and Final)

  • Jesus is not with us as a visible human being, but he is present and active in the Church. This is possible through the H.S.
  • The "most complete sacramental expression of the departure of Christ through the mystery of the Cross and Resurrection is the Eucharist." It is through the Eucharist that the H.S. accomplishes that strengthening of the inner man (Eph 3:16). 
  • This giving of life promised by Jesus is accomplished through the Eucharist because the Spirit constantly draws from the wealth of Christ's redemption..
  • "The Church is the visible dispenser of the sacred signs (sacraments), while the H.S. is the invisible dispenser of the life they signify. Through the sacraments the Church accomplishes her salfivic mission to man.
The breadth of the divine life, the Holy Spirit, in its simplest and most common manner, expresses itself and makes itself felt in prayer.
'...if prayer is offered throughout the world, in the past, in the present and in the future, equally widespread is the presence and action of the Holy Spirit, who "breathes" prayer in the heart of man in all the endless range of the most varied situations and conditions... Many times, through the influence of the Spirit, prayer rises from the human heart in spite of prohibitions and persecutions and even official proclamations regarding the non-religious or even atheistic character of public life."
 "The Holy Spirit is the gift that comes into man's heart together with prayer. In prayer he manifests himself first of all and above all as the gift that "helps us in our weakness." 
The Holy Spirit enables us to pray but also guides our prayers from within. "Prayer through the power of the Holy Spirit becomes the ever more mature expression of the new man, who by means of this prayer participates in the divine life."

This following passage is encouraging for a member of a charismatic community
[In] recent years have been seeing a growth in the number of people who, in ever more widespread movements and groups, are giving first place to prayer and seeking in prayer a renewal of their spiritual life. This is a significant and comforting sign, for from this experience there is coming a real contribution to the revival of prayer among the faithful, who have been helped to gain a clearer idea of the Holy Spirit as he who inspires in hearts a profound yearning for holiness. In many individuals and many communities there is a growing awareness that, even with all the rapid progress of technological and scientific civilization, and despite the real conquests and goals attained, man is threatened, humanity is threatened. In the face of this danger, and indeed already experiencing the frightful reality of man's spiritual decadence, individuals and whole communities, guided as it were by an inner sense of faith, are seeking the strength to raise man up again, to save him from himself, from his own errors and mistakes that often make harmful his very conquests. And thus they are discovering prayer, in which the "Spirit who helps us in our weakness"manifests himself. In this way the times in which we are living are bringing the Holy Spirit closer to the many who are returning to prayer."
I wonder if the Pope was thinking of the Charismatic Renewal and charismatic communities when he wrote this.

  • The Pentecost that occurred in the Upper Room is not an event of the past, In a real sense, the Church is always in the Upper Room praying, together with Mary awaiting the coming of the H.S.
  For the Spirit is given to the Church in order that through his power the whole community of the People of God, however widely scattered and diverse, may persevere in hope: that hope in which "we have been saved."288 It is the eschatological hope, the hope of definitive fulfillment in God, the hope of the eternal Kingdom, that is brought about by participation in the life of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit, given to the Apostles as the Counselor, is the guardian and animator of this hope in the heart of the Church.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Notes on Dominum et Vivificantem (Part 4)

The Holy Spirit gives strength to the inner man

  • The Church gives forever witness to the resurrection. In the resurrection the H.S.  revealed itself as the giver of life. The church witness and help the H.S in this life giving mission.
  • The life of man in God is possible through the H.S
Under the influence of the Holy Spirit this inner, "spiritual," man matures and grows strong. Thanks to the divine self- communication, the human spirit which "knows the secrets of man" meets the "Spirit who searches everything, even the depths of God."252 In this Spirit, who is the eternal gift, the Triune God opens himself to man, to the human spirit. The hidden breath of the divine Spirit enables the human spirit to open in its turn before the saving and sanctifying self-opening of God. Through the gift of grace, which comes from the Holy Spirit, man enters a "new life," is brought into the supernatural reality of the divine life itself and becomes a "dwelling-place of the Holy Spirit," a living temple of God.253 For through the Holy Spirit, the Father and the Son come to him and take up their abode with him.254 In the communion of grace with the Trinity, man's "living area" is broadened and raised up to the supernatural level of divine life. Man lives in God and by God: he lives "according to the Spirit," and "sets his mind on the things of the Spirit."

  • This intimate relationship with God in the Spirit helps man to see himself in a new life, to fully realize what it means to be in the image and likeness of God. From Jesus Christ we learn this truth, but it is through the action of the Spirit in our lives that we put it into practice.
  • It is in this way that God transforms the world from within, from inside minds and hearts. 
The Holy Spirit-says the great Basil- "while simple in essence and manifold in his virtues...extends himself without undergoing any diminishing, is present in each subject capable of receiving him as if he were the only one, and gives grace which is sufficient for all."

  • 2Cor 3:17 "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom" The H.S alone can ehlp us to free ourselves from the old and new things that determine our behavior (determinisms) because it guides to the knowledge of the "law of the Spirit" which in turn gives us life in Christ. Through life in Christ man discovers the "full measure of man's true freedom".

Also in the ordinary conditions of society, Christians, as witnesses to man's authentic dignity, by their obedience to the Holy Spirit contribute to the manifold "renewal of the face of the earth," working together with their brothers and sisters in order to achieve and put to good use everything that is good, noble and beautiful in the modern progress of civilization, culture, science, technology and the other areas of thought and human activity.264 They do this as disciples of Christ who-as the Council writes-"appointed Lord by his Resurrection...is now at work in the hearts of men through the power of his Spirit. He arouses not only a desire for the age to come but by that very fact, he animates, purifies and strengthens those noble longings too by which the human family strives to make its life more humane and to render the earth submissive to this goal."265 Thus they affirm still more strongly the greatness of man, made in the image and likeness of God, a greatness shown by the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God, who "in the fullness of time," by the power of the Holy Spirit, entered into history and manifested himself as true man, he who was begotten before every creature, "through whom are all things and through whom we exist"266

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Notes on Dominum et Vivifacantem (part 3)

Why is the sin against the Holy Spirit unforgivable?
  • This blasphemy is not necessarily offending the H.S in words but rather," the refusal to accept the salvation which God offers to man through the H.S, working through the power of the cross."
  • "The blasphemy against the H.S. consists... in the radical refusal to accept forgiveness, of which he is the intimate giver and which presupposes the genuine conversion which he brings about in the conscience."
  • This blasphemy is not forgiven because "this non-forgiveness is linked ... to non repentance, ... to the radical refusal to be converted.... It is the the sin committed by the person who claims the right to persist in evil... and who rejects Redemption."
  • "In our time this attitude of mind and heart is perhaps reflected in the loss of the sense of sin" which at the same time is " a loss of the sense of God." 
  • The H.S, who leads the human conscience to know the truth about sin, also leads it to know the truth about the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
  • This last point is related to the idea of justification. This portion of the Catechism shed some light on it Justification
The greatest accomplishment of the H.S is the conception and birth of Jesus Christ. It is he who makes the hypostatic union (the union of the divine and human nature in Jesus Christ) possible. At the moment of Jesus' conception the communication of God with man, through the H.S. reaches its climax.

This encyclical was written when the Church was preparing to celebrate the Jubilee of the year 2000. The pope says in relation to this preparation 
The Church cannot prepare for the Jubilee in any other way than in the Holy Spirit. What was accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit "in the fullness of time" can only through the Spirit's power now emerge from the memory of the Church.
All is accomplished through and by the power of the Spirit. He makes it possible for us:

  • to be adopted sons/ daughters
  • to have a new life as part of the family of God
  • to partake of the divine nature, our life becomes "permeated" with a divine, supernatural dimension.
  • to have access to the Father in the H.S.
Unfortunately this possibility of sharing in the divine life is met with opposition "in our human reality". 

To a certain degree this opposition comes from the contrasting natures of God and the world. Whether God is invisible, absolute spirit, perfect; man is, by nature, visible, material, and imperfect. This difference in nature doesn't necessarily means conflict, but sin raised them to an act of rebellion and conflict.

This tension between "openness to the action of the Holy Spirit and resistance and opposition to him, to his saving gift" is part of the psychological and ethical reality of every human being. We can also see this same tension manifest itself at a wider, external level in a society. We see this in the prevalent materialism which "radically excludes the presence and action of God, who is spirit in the world and above all in man... It does not accept God's existence, being a system that is essentially and systematically atheist."

  • is both a a theoretical system of thought and, in practical terms, a method of interpreting and evaluating facts, and of evaluating behavior.
  • is the core of Marxism.
  • sees reality as matter because matter is the only form of being.
  • sees religion as an idealistic illusion (because it deals with more than matter)
  • can be seen as a "systematic and logical development' of the opposition between the desires of the flesh and the desires of the spirit (as stated by St Paul)
  • accepts death as the definitive end of human existence ( we see "signs of death": euthanasia, wars, abortion, etc)
But in the midst of these signs of death we Christians are certain that
 the Spirit blows where he wills and that we possess "the first fruits of the Spirit," and that therefore even though we may be subjected to the sufferings of time that passes away, "we groan inwardly as we wait for...the redemption of our bodies,"244 or of all our human essence, which is bodily and spiritual. Yes, we groan, but in an expectation filled with unflagging hope, because it is precisely this human being that God has drawn near to, God who is Spirit. God the Father, "sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh."245 At the culmination of the Paschal Mystery, the Son of God, made man and crucified for the sins of the world, appeared in the midst of his Apostles after the Resurrection, breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit." This "breath" continues forever, for "the Spirit helps us in our weakness."246

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Notes on Dominum et Vivificantem (Part 2)

  • At Pentecost the Holy Spirit is revealed in a new way. It is he who will continue the salvific work that has its roots in the cross.
  • The Holy Spirit "convinces concerning sin" - he becomes the light of consciences, that is, he makes man realize his own evil, and direct him to what is good.
  • In other words, conversion of the human heart is possible by the influence of the Holy Spirit because he leads to contrition, an indispensable condition for forgiveness.
  • We might think of conscience just at that "inner voice" that helps us distinguish between good and evil. In reality, conscience is the voice of God.
  • "Convincing concerning sin" under the influence of the Holy Spirit is accomplished through our conscience.
  • An upright, well formed, conscience call good, good and evil, evil.
  • The Holy Spirit searches the depth of the human soul revealing the "roots of sin are to be found in man's most inner being", in his inner imbalance, his contradictions, the contrary principles at work in him.
  • This constant struggle in the inner world of man is a "laborious effort."
  • This laborious effort marks the path to conversion, where the heart turns away from sin, feels remorse (sorrow for the evil committed), and through the action of the H.S. a person becomes open to forgiveness, to the remission of sin. Suffering has been transformed into salvific love.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Summer Learning Notes

Monday May 19th

  • Read a chapter of Edmund Campion Hero of God's Underground.
  • Read about the French Revolution on Trevor Cairns Monarchs and Revolutions.
  • Finish the first week of Kitchen Chemistry on Futurelearn.com.
  • Did an experiment on rising hot air (burning tea bags)
  • Explored density with an experiment on how hot water rises (see picture)
  • Watched episode 6 of When We Left the Earth, a documentary of U.S space missions.
  • Nico continued reading The Hobbit
    Hot water rises

The Need for the Holy Spirit: Notes on Reading Dominum et Vivificantem (Part 1)


In John 16:7 Jesus said
"... it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I don't go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go away, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convince the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgement: of sin, because they do not believe me, of righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more, of judgement, because the ruler of this world is judged."
 Sin in this context means

  • people did not believe Jesus
  • they did not recognize him
  • they rejected his mission and condemned him to death
Righteousness in this context means
  • the justice restored to Jesus by the Father when he grants him the glory of his Resurrection and Ascension
Judgement in this context means
  • the Spirit of Truth will show the guilt of the world in condemning Jesus to death
But, Jesus did not come to judge or condemn, but to save.

It is the Holy Spirit, sent by Jesus after his departure, that have the mission " to convince the world concerning sin." Jesus' words in the Gospel can be taken in a narrow sense- the context mentioned above- , what Jesus was intending to say to his disciples, in the upper room, at that particular point in time. It can be taken also in a broader sense, as to be applied to all humanity, for all time, because of the universal character of the Redemption won by Jesus.

The world in this context means (as expressed in Gaudium et Spes)
"... the world of men, the whole human family along with the sum of those realities in the midst of which it lives; that world which is the theater of man's history, and the heir of his energies, his tragedies and his triumphs; that world which the Christian sees as created and sustained by its Maker's love, fallen indeed into the bondage of sin, yet emancipated now by Christ, Who was crucified and rose again to break the strangle hold of personified evil, so that the world might be fashioned anew according to God's design and reach its fulfillment."

Christ prophecies of the coming of the Holy Spirit find its complete fulfillment on the day of Pentecost.

From the very beginning after Pentecost, it has been the mission of the Holy Spirit to "convince the world of sin." This convincing of sin  "  is linked inseparably with the witness to be borne to the Paschal Mystery: the mystery of the Crucified and Risen One. " ( DEV #31)

This convincing has as its purpose a call to conversion
Conversion requires convincing of sin; it includes the interior judgment of the conscience, and this, being a proof of the action of the Spirit of truth in man's inmost being, becomes at the same time a new beginning of the bestowal of grace and love: "Receive the Holy Spirit."118 Thus in this "convincing concerning sin" we discover a double gift: the gift of the truth of conscience and the gift of the certainty of redemption. The Spirit of truth is the Counselor.
This Spirit of Truth is the only one that can convince the world of the "ineffable truth" that, through his death, Jesus conquered death and brought us life. The Spirit searches not only the depth of man but the depth of God drawing "God's response to man's sin".

It is through the Holy Spirit that man can be "convinced" of the reality and depth of sin, but also it is through the Holy Spirit that we can be convinced of the reality and depth of the mystery of redemption.

Sin has its beginning in original sin, that first disobedience, man's will butting heads with God's will.

The Spirit of God is witness to the mutual love between the Father and the Son. The love from which creation came about. Furthermore, the Spirt is this love, it is " the eternal uncreated gift", the "source and the beginning of every giving of gifts."
To create means to call into existence from nothing: therefore, to create means to give existence. And if the visible world is created for man, therefore the world is given to man.131 And at the same time that same man in his own humanity receives as a gift a special "image and likeness" to God. This means not only rationality and freedom as constitutive properties of human nature, but also, from the very beginning, the capacity of having a personal relationship with God, as "I" and "you," and therefore the capacity of having a covenant, which will take place in God's salvific communication with man. Against the background of the "image and likeness" of God, "the gift of the Spirit" ultimately means a call to friendship, in which the transcendent "depths of God" become in some way opened to participation on the part of man. The Second Vatican Council teaches; "The invisible God out of the abundance of his love speaks to men as friends and lives among them, so that he may invite and take them into fellowship with himself.
In other words, the gift of the Holy Spirit is a call to friendship with God.

Man is in constant pressure to reject God

The analysis of sin in its original dimension indicates that, through the influence of the "father of lies," throughout the history of humanity there will be a constant pressure on man to reject God, even to the point of hating him: "Love of self to the point of contempt for God," as St. Augustine puts it.143 Man will be inclined to see in God primarily a limitation of himself, and not the source of his own freedom and the fullness of good. We see this confirmed in the modern age, when the atheistic ideologies seek to root out religion on the grounds that religion causes the radical "alienation" of man, as if man were dispossessed of his own humanity when, accepting the idea of God, he attributes to God what belongs to man, and exclusively to man! Hence a process of thought and historico-sociological practice in which the rejection of God has reached the point of declaring his "death." An absurdity, both in concept and expression! But the ideology of the "death of God" is more a threat to man, as the Second Vatican Council indicates when it analyzes the question of the "independence of earthly affairs" and writes: "For without the Creator the creature would disappear...when God is forgotten the creature itself grows unintelligible."144 The ideology of the "death of God" easily demonstrates in its effects that on the "theoretical and practical" levels it is the ideology of the "death of man."