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August 30, 2005

Ch. XXII. Q. 125. How did the Holy Ghost begin His work in the Church?

THE Holy Ghost began His work in the Church by descending upon the visible society, ἐκκλησία, which Christ had called together and organised, in the form of cloven tongues of fire: (a.) making that society to be the Church and mystical Body of Christ: (b.) taking up a special and permanent abode in the Church: (c.) ordaining her members for the various functions to which Christ had appointed them: (d.) bestowing such gifts upon her members, whether permanent or temporary, personal or official, as were suited to their various vocations and ministries and to the exigencies of her work. 1

2. The manner of His descent was symbolic. (a.) The fire signified the penetrating, purifying and transforming effect of His presence and work: (b.) The form of the fire, having one body but tongues distributed to the head of every person, showed that the members of the Church were to possess divers gifts proceeding from the same Spirit. 2

3. The descent of the Holy Ghost upon the disciples made the society or ἐκκλησία, into which Christ had gathered them, to be the Catholic Church and mystical extension of the Body of Christ, by means of whose organization that Body is identified. In the Church the conditions of the special presence of the Holy Ghost on earth are found, and from her proceeds every influence of the Spirit among men, whether immediate or remote. Thus the Church becomes the pillar and ground of the truth, the source of grace and holiness, and the ark of human safety. 3

4. The work of the Holy Ghost in the Church is four-fold, (a.) As Life-giver He vitalizes the whole Church by uniting her to the glorified Body of Christ and by filling her with His own presence; and both regenerates and sustains her members, whom He engrafts into the Body of Christ by Baptism and feeds with the Flesh and Blood of Christ in the Holy Eucharist4: (b.) As Illuminator, He guides the Church into all truth; enabling her to discharge her dogmatic office securely, inspiring her Sacred Scriptures and sacramentally elevating the spiritual understanding of her faithful members5: (c.) As Sanctifier, He makes the Church the channel of actual and habitual grace to her members (Q. 137. 5-8) and both cleanses and sanctifies them through the instrumentality of her Sacraments and discipline6: (d.) As Advocate, Παράκλητος, He pleads with men and aids them in their devotional approaches to the Father.7

5. The Holy Ghost ordains the members of the Church to different offices, ministerial and lay.8 These offices are permanent, and represent the divinely instituted organization of the Church. They signify the particular parts which her members discharge in her corporate and sacramental functions. The Church can be distinguished from this organization, but cannot be divorced from it. She is in fact identified by means of it. 9

6. Besides the gifts of saving and sanctifying grace in general and those gifts by which the faithful are ordained and fitted for their various corporate offices, the Holy Ghost bestows special gifts for special purposes—such as miraculous gifts, which are given when the conditions are such as to make them necessary; and those personal endowments of grace which fit individual men for their particular vocations and lines of spiritual growth. 10

1 Webb's Presence and Office of the H. Sp., pt. I. ch. Ill: Bp. Sessums, in N.Y. Church Club Lec. 1891: Mason's Faith of the Gosp. VII. 8: Ewer's Oper'n. of the H. Sp., Lec. II: Hutchings, on the Holy Ghost, Lec. IV.

2 Moberly's Bamp. Lec. pp. 36-40: Hutchings, 99-124. esp. 111-115.

3 Moberly's Bamp. Lec., 29 , 30: Staley's Cath. Church, I. v: Hutchings, 128 et. seq: Milligan, on the Ascension, 179-183, 209-212: Ewer, 80, 81.

4 John III. 5. 6: Rom. VIII. 15, 16: I. Cor. VI. 11: Tit. III. 5.

5 John XIV. 26: XVL 13: I. Cor. II. 10, 11: II. Tim. III. 16: II. Pet. 1. 21.

6I. Cor. VI, 11: III. 16, 17, Gal. V. 16: Ephes. IV. 12: 11. Thess. II. 13: I. Pet. I. 2.

7 Rom. VIII. 26, ,27. Pearson, 577-583: Ewer, pp. 59-78: Hutchings, 138-169, 232-238.

8 Acts XX. 28: cf. Ephes. IV. 11: John XX. 21, 22: I. Cor. XII. 28.

9 Moberly, p. 44: Palmer on the Church, Vol. I. 161-165: Pearson, 585: N.Y. Church Club Lec. 1895, Lec. V.

10 I. Cor. XII. Moberly, pp. 40-44: Palmer, Vol. I. 144,145: Hutchings' Lec's. V, VI: Ewer, IIL IV. esp. pp. 98-103, 119-125.

Posted by AKMA at August 30, 2005 05:38 AM