What is the task of the Holy Spirit in the Church?

Mission Lab

The Holy Spirit (1) preserves the Church as the Body of Christ and as the Bride of Christ so that she can remain faithful to Him in holiness until the end of time; and (2) assists the Church in purifying and renewing herself and her members.1. The Holy Spirit preserves the Church as the Body of Christ.

The Holy Spirit, Whom Jesus sent from the Father to His Church at Pentecost, continues His work in the Church, and will do so until the end of time. He brings about a union between Christ and His members, which St. Paul describes as “the Body of Christ.” Each member of the Body is united to each other, with Christ as the Head, by a strong interior bond, which is the Holy Spirit.

2. The Holy Spirit assists the Church in purifying and renewing herself and her members.

Every Christian receives the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Baptism and in the Sacrament of Confirmation. The Holy Spirit, with the Father and the Son, actually lives in the Christian. Jesus said, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (John 14:23).

Through the Holy Spirit, a Christian shares in the life of grace, which is God’s life in his soul. St. Paul reminds the Christian that he is holy because the Holy Spirit dwells in him. “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If any one destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and that temple you are” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).

The Holy Spirit enlightens our minds to accept and believe the teaching of Jesus and gives us the strength to live according to it. An openness to God and a willingness to respond to the guidance of His Holy Spirit is necessary for holiness. St. Paul says, “Do not quench the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19).

Holiness is expected from the whole Church. Giving Himself to all, God makes it possible for everyone to give himself completely to Him and to his fellow man. All are called to holiness, according to the gifts and talents each possesses.

St. Paul also speaks of charisms, that is, “gifts of grace,” which are blessings, freely given, of an extraordinary and transitory nature that the Holy Spirit confers directly on certain individuals for the good of others (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:4-11). These blessings may also benefit indirectly the one who possesses them, but their immediate purpose is the spiritual welfare of the Christian community.

So that we may live well as God’s children, the Holy Spirit helps us in many ways. He gives us “actual graces” to help us to think, desire and do things pleasing to God. Without His grace it is impossible to do anything to achieve our Salvation or the Salvation of others. With the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit, the Church is constantly purified and renewed spiritually.