US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Where do I see the Holy Spirit today? Part 4

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In answering where she sees the Holy Spirit, a reader can't ignore where she hears, smells, tastes, and feels the Holy Spirit.

Guest blog post by Joan Krebs

This question blew me away. Whether intended or not, the issue is deeply profound and context for several thought-paths. Within few words you conjured up milieus of cosmology, time and place, relationships and solidarity, anthropology, biology, ecclesiology, and theology—and these are only what came to mind immediately. In addition each word contains layers and layers of meaning.

"Where" and "today" are important. The Holy Spirit is everywhere and nowhere; she is today and not-today. She cannot be contained in either time or space. She calls from and to the future. She calls from each and every planetary/cosmic being, particle, point.

"See" with regard to the Holy Spirit is metaphorical and connotes the other four senses as well: "hear, smell, taste, touch or feel.” The Holy Spirit's fire shines in the eyes and hearts of all caring people, zealots of the right or the left (to use labels I normally detest but which are suitable here). The Holy Spirit as storm wind buffets me/us in ways too numerous to mention—as "signs of the times."

The Holy Spirit is sighted in global programs, patterns of reaching out, compassion, growth of a spirituality of solidarity with all created beings. We feel the touch and taste of the Holy Spirit in her "whispering" effects: creativity and imaginative moves, unfolding, emergence, nonviolent actions, accompaniment, presence. Hearing the Holy Spirit entails engagement in dialogue, prayer, education—all of which are relational and therefore also demand witness, speaking, proclamation, protesting as well as listening. Seeing the Holy Spirit, therefore, requires contemplation-in-action from me/us. Seeing isn't passive. The Holy Spirit and we/I are subjects, not objects.

The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity. She is the expression of the love between Father and Son; actually she is their love for each other. Trinity would not be Trinity without her as relationship. She is both life-giving and the fullness of life. She is the moving force behind and in front of evolution. Her presence and gift is essential to valid baptism into the People of God. She is guarantor of belonging in a living Communion of Saints characterized by variety and harmony in diversity. 

Holy Spirit is spirit, animator of the church. As such she is the supreme authority; she is conscience; she is not captive of "it's-always-been-this-way" and other precedent types of modeling. She is liberator, not oppressor or enabler. She is catalyst, not passive. She is future, not past. She is dynamic, not fixed, stable or unchanging. Someone once said, "Where there is chaos, there is the Holy Spirit." She transforms and affirms rather than ignores and destroys.

To sum up: Today, everywhere, the Holy Spirit is the one about whom Jesus said it was essential to leave so she could come. According to St. Paul in 2 Corinthians citing the words Isaiah ascribed to God: "At the acceptable time I heard you.... Now is the acceptable time." In context this was a reference to the era after Pentecost, therefore the time of the Holy Spirit, our time!

Guest blogger Joan Krebs is a reader from Glenview, Illinois. 

To share your answer to the question, "Where do you see the Holy Spirit in the church of today?" submit a 200-500 word reflection to

Guest blog posts express the views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of U.S. Catholic, its editors, or the Claretians.