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104 • Part I. The Creed: The Faith Professed

Spirit who has been given to us.” (CCC, no. 733, citing 1 Jn 4:8,

16 and Rom 5:5)

A rich example of the Holy Spirit’s transforming power can be seen

in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus. She is God’s

masterpiece, transformed by him into a luminous witness of grace from

the moment of her conception. The angel Gabriel rightly addressed her

as “full of grace.” It is also by the power of the Holy Spirit that Mary

conceived Jesus, the Son of God.

Finally, through Mary, the Holy Spirit begins to bring men, the

objects of God’s merciful love,

into communion

with Christ.

And the humble are always the first to accept him: shepherds,

magi, Simeon and Anna, the bride and groom at Cana, and the

first disciples. (CCC, no. 725)


The Holy Spirit is the last of the Persons of the Trinity to be revealed. St.

Gregory Nazianzus (AD 329-389) gives us an excellent picture of God’s

teaching method, slowly unfolding the truth about the Trinity. Scripture

reveals the truth about the Trinity in three stages:

The Old Testament proclaimed the Father clearly, but the Son

more obscurely. The New Testament revealed the Son and gave

us a glimpse of the divinity of the Spirit. Now the Spirit dwells

among us and grants us a clearer vision of himself. (CCC,

no. 684, citing St. Gregory Nazianzus,

Theological Orations


5, 26)

The fact that the Holy Spirit is God—equal in being with the Father

and the Son, of the same divine nature as they are (



them), the Third Person of the Holy Trinity—took time to be recognized

and proclaimed. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit is hidden but

is at work. “When the Church reads the Old Testament, she searches

there for what the Spirit, ‘who has spoken through the prophets,’ wants

to tell us about Christ” (CCC, no. 702). Both the Hebrew word and

the Greek word for the


originally meant a “breath,” or “air,” or