by Sr Tamsin Geach o.p.
The last few weeks, Eastertide have been exploring the nature of Christ. First of all we looked at how He was in His Risen nature truly human – able to eat, be touched, talk, share experiences, have breakfast. In this second half of Lent we are looking at Jesus in His Divine Nature, as the Second Person of the Trinity. So in week 4 of Eastertide we saw Jesus using the divine name , ‘I am’, and last week we continued in this theme.
This week we begin the preparation for the Sending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and in this context we are introduced to God as Trinity: ‘I shall ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you for ever, that Spirit of truth.’
So Who is this ‘Spirit’?
The Hobrew word for ‘Spirit’ is ‘ruach’ This word refers generally to wind, breath, mind, spirit. In animals it is their breath, but in humans it also means the life principle, possessing reason will and conscience.
When referrring to God the word ‘Ruach’ indicates the creative and active power of God, ‘The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.’(Job 33.4) The Spirit of God is identified with God throughout the Old Testament under titles such as the Holy Spirit of God, the spirit of the Lord God, The Holy Spirit.
It is the Spirit Who brings conversion ‘I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.’ (Ezekiel 36.26-7) God gives His ‘Good Spirit to instruct’ us (Neh.9.20) He is God’s abidinng presence ‘I am with you, says the Lord of hosts, according to the promise that I made you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit abides among you’ (Hagg.2.5) and it is promised that He shall rest upon the coming Messiah ‘ the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord’ (Isa.11.2) So the Holy Spirit of the Old Testament is now promised by the Lord at the Last Supper, as His Gift from God the Father. This theme will continue until Pentecost, when this Lifegiving Spirit is promised to us in a new way brought about by Christ’s Life, Death and Resurrection.