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Christ is totally holy

Catechesis by Pope John Paul II on the Holy Spirit
General Audience, 6 June 1990 - in Italian & Spanish  

"1. "The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God" (Lk 1:35). As we know, these words which the angel spoke to Mary at the annunciation in Nazareth refer to the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son-Word by the power of the Holy Spirit. They refer to a key truth of our faith which was the object of previous catecheses. By the power of the Holy Spirit—as we said—the hypostatic union is brought about: the Son consubstantial with the Father assumed a human nature from the Virgin Mary by which he became true man without ceasing to be true God. The union of divinity and humanity in the one Person of the Word-Son, that is the hypostatic union (hypostasis: "person") is the Holy Spirit's greatest accomplishment in the history of creation and in salvation history. Even though the entire Trinity is its cause, it is still attributed by the Gospel and by the Fathers to the Holy Spirit, because it is the highest work wrought by divine Love. It was wrought with the absolute gratuitousness of grace, in order to communicate to humanity the fullness of holiness in Christ. All these effects are attributed to the Holy Spirit [1] .

2. The words addressed to Mary during the annunciation indicate that the Holy Spirit is the source of holiness for the Son who is to be born of her. At the instant in which the Eternal Word becomes man, a unique fullness of human holiness is accomplished in the assumed nature, a fullness which goes beyond that of any other saint, not only of the old but also of the new covenant. This holiness of the Son of God as man, as Son of Mary—a holiness from the source rooted in the hypostatic union—is the work of the Holy Spirit. He will continue to act in Christ to the point of crowning his masterpiece in the Easter mystery.

3. This type of holiness is a result of the unique consecration about which Christ himself will speak explicitly during a discussion with his hearers: "Can you say that the one whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world blasphemes because I said: 'I am the Son of God'?" (Jn 10:36). That consecration (that is, sanctification) is linked to the coming into the world of the Son of God. As the Father sends the Son into the world by the power of the Holy Spirit (the messenger told Joseph: "It is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her," Mt 1:20), so he consecrates this Son in his humanity by the working of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the author of the sanctification of all people. He is especially the author of the sanctification of the man conceived and born of Mary, as well as the sanctification of his most pure mother. From the very first moment of the conception of this man who is the Son of God, he received from the Holy Spirit an extraordinary fullness of holiness, in a measure corresponding to the dignity of his divine Person [2].

4. This sanctification refers to the entire humanity of the Son of God, his soul and his body, as is made clear by John the evangelist, who seems to stress the bodily aspect of the Incarnation: "The Word was made flesh" (Jn 1:14). The power of the Holy Spirit in the Incarnation of the Word overcomes that concupiscence which St. Paul speaks about in the Letter to the Romans (cf. Rom 7:7-25) and which wounds man from within. The "law of the Spirit" (Rom 8:2) liberates a person precisely from that concupiscence, so that the one who lives in the Spirit walks also according to the Spirit (cf. Gal 5:25). The holiness of Christ's full humanity is the result of the action of the Holy Spirit. The human body of the Son of Mary shares fully in this holiness through a growing dynamism which has its highpoint in the Easter mystery. Thanks to that, the body of Jesus, which the Apostle terms "in the likeness of sinful flesh" (Rom 8:3), achieves the perfect holiness of the body of the risen one (cf. Rom 1:4). Thus a new destiny for the human body is begun—and for every body in the world, created by God and called, even in its materialness, to share in the benefits of the redemption [3] .

5. It must be added at this point that the body, which by the power of the Holy Spirit belongs from the first moment of its conception to the humanity of the Son of God, must eventually become in the Eucharist the spiritual food for men and women. In announcing the institution of this wonderful sacrament, Jesus Christ will stress that in it his flesh (under the species of bread) will be able to become food for people, thanks to the working of the Holy Spirit who gives life. In this regard, the words he said near Capernaum are very significant: "It is the Spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail" (Jn 6:63). While Christ left us his flesh as spiritual food, he wanted at the same time to teach us about that state of consecration and of holiness which, by the power of the Holy Spirit, was and is a prerogative even of his body in the mystery of the Incarnation and of the Eucharist.

6. Luke the evangelist, perhaps echoing private conversations with Mary, tells us that, as the Son of Man, "Jesus grew in wisdom, age and favor before God and man (Lk 2:52; cf. Lk 2:40). In an analogous way one can also speak of "growth" in holiness in the sense of an ever more complete manifestation and fulfillment of that fundamental fullness of holiness with which Jesus came into the world. The moment in which the consecration of the Son in the Holy Spirit was made known in a special way, at the level of mission, was at the start of the messianic activity of Jesus of Nazareth: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me: because he has anointed me; he has sent me" (Lk 4:18).

This activity manifested that holiness which one day Simon Peter will feel obliged to acknowledge with these words: "Lord, depart from me for I am a sinner" (Lk 5:8). And also at another time: "We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Son of God" (Jn 6:69).

7. The mystery-reality of the Incarnation, therefore, signals the entrance into the world of a new holiness. It is the holiness of the divine Person of the Son-Word who, in hypostatic union with humanity, permeates and consecrates the entire reality of the Son of Mary: soul and body. By the power of the Holy Spirit, the holiness of the Son of Man constitutes the principal and lasting source of holiness in human and world history."

[1]   cf. St. Thomas, Summa Theol., III, q. 32, a. 1
[2]   cf. St. Thomas, Summa Theol., III, q. 7, aa. 1, 9-11
[3]   cf. St. Thomas, Summa Theol., III, q. 8, a. 2

After the Catechesis, Papa Giovanni Paolo II greeted the pilgrims in various languages

Ai fedeli di lingua tedesca

Mit dieser kurzen Betrachtung grüße ich alle Pilger und Besucher deutscher Sprache sehr herzlich. Mein besonderer Gru gilt den Teilnehmern an der Romwallfahrt der Erzdiözese München-Freising anläßlich der Altarweihe in Santo Stefano Rotondo, der Titelkirche unseres geschätzten Herrn Kardinals Friedrich Wetter. Unter den Teilnehmern sind eine große Gruppe aus der Pfarrei Jetzendorf sowie Pilger aus Passau und Jugendliche ungarischer Abstammung, die in Deutschland leben. Ihr habt Euren Kardinal nach Rom begleitet und damit auch Euere Verbundenheit mit dem Nachfolger des heiligen Petrus bekundet.

Ferner begrüße ich die Gruppe von Lesern der Wochenzeitung “ Konradsblatt ” aus der Erzdiözese Freiburg sowie das Volkstheater Sankt Konrad aus Weiden und eine Gruppe des Katholischen Bildungswerkes Wunsiedel aus Marktredwitz.

Euch allen und Euren Angehörigen in der Heimat erteile ich von Herzen meinen Apostolischen Segen.

Ai fedeli di lingua francese

Chers Frères et Soeurs,

Je salue cordialement tous les pèlerins francophones présents à cette audience. Je vous souhaite de trouver à Rome, qui garde le souvenir de tant de saints, un encouragement à progresser à votre tour dans la fidélité aux dons de l’Esprit de Sainteté.

Et que la Bénédiction du Seigneur vous aide le long de vos chemins!

Ai pellegrini di espressione inglese

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I wish to welcome the Sisters of the Institute of Our Lady of Mercy who are celebrating their Golden Jubilee of Religious Profession. Dear Sisters: as you visit the tombs of the Apostles and Martyrs and give thanks to God for the many blessings you have received in these past fifty years, may you be renewed in your commitment to serve Christ and his Church with joy and gladness. My greetings go as well to the group of Capuchin Brothers who are taking part in a course of formation in Rome. To all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors, especially those from England, the United States, Korea and Sri Lanka, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of grace and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ai numerosi visitatori di espressione spagnola

Saludo ahora cordialmente a todos los peregrinos y visitantes de lengua española.

En particular, a la representación de Televisa, que tan destacada labor informativa realizó durante mi reciente viaje pastoral a México. Saludo igualmente a los integrantes de la “ Asociación Misionera Club de la Paz ”, de Costa Rica y a la peregrinación organizada por los Hermanos Misioneros de los Enfermos Pobres, de Barcelona.

A todas las personas, familias y grupos procedentes de los diversos países de América Latina y de España imparto con afecto la Bendición Apostólica.

Ai fedeli di lingua portoghese

Amadíssimos irmãos e irmãs,

Aos peregrinos do Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre e São Paulo, bem como às demais pessoas de língua portuguesa, como penhor de abundantes dons divinos que sirvam de estímulo para sua vida cristã, concedo benevolmente minha Benção Apostólica.

Ai fedeli polacchi

“Niech zstpi Duch Twój i odnowi oblicze ziemi”.

W niedziele Piećdziesiatnicy Apostołowie wyszli z Wieczernika i zaczęli dawać świadectwo o Chrystusie wobec Jerozolimy i pielgrzymów przybyłych na święto. Niedziela Pięćdziesiątnicy powtarza się co roku. Kościół wychodzi z Wieczernika na różnych miejscach ziemi i staje wobec świata: wobec ludzi tworzących współczesny świat.

W tym roku w naszej Ojczyźnie, a także u naszych sąsiadów i pobratymców Kościół w dniu Pięćdziesiątnicy zastaje ludzi tych samych, lecz świat, który tworzą, uległ wielu przeobrażeniom.

Jak Kościół ma dawać temu światu świadectwo o Chrystusie?

“Sobór Watykański wzywa wszystkich . . . aby starali się urabiać ludzi, którzy respektujc ład moralny, są posłuszni prawowitej władzy, a zarazem miłują autentyczną wolność. Chodzi o takich ludzi, którzy by własnym sądem rozstrzygali problemy w świetle prawdy, którzy - działając z poczuciem odpowiedzialności, podążając za wszystkim, co sprawiedliwe, chtnie zespol swój wysiłek z prac innych ”.

Kościół naszych czasów wiernie bronił praw człowieka. Trzeba, aby w nowych okolicznościach człowiek na nowo “ stawał się drogą Kościoła ”.

Bogarodzica, która w Wieczerniku jerozolimskim trwała na modlitwie z Apostołami, trwa z nami na modlitwie w wieczerniku jasnogórskim.

Jest to modlitwa o odnową oblicza ziemi pod działaniem Parakleta: Ducha Prawdy.

Pozdrawiam pielgrzymów z Polski, w szczególności: z Mogiły-Nowej Huty, z sanktuarium Świętego Krzyża ojców cystersów; pielgrzymkę z Krakowa do grobu ojca Pio; pielgrzymów z parafii św. Bartłomieja w Morawicy; z parafii św. Józefa z Częstochowy; neoprezbiterów z Gdańska; pielgrzymów z parafii św. Jacka ze Słupska; z parafii św. Katarzyny Sieneńskiej z Nowej Rudy; z parafii świętych Piotra i Pawła ze Strzegomia; współpracowników misyjnych księżypallotynów z całej Polski; kolejarzy z Częstochowy i z Zawiercia; grupę Cenrexu z Warszawy; pielgrzymkę z parafii św. Józefa z Torunia, ojcowie redemptoryści; grupę Turysty oraz innych pielgrzymów z kraju i emigracji, nie objtych tymi grupami.

Ai pellegrini di lingua italiana

Rivolgo ora il mio cordiale saluto ai pellegrini della diocesi di Altamura-Gravina-Acquaviva delle Fonti i quali, accompagnati dal Vescovo, Monsignor Tarcisio Pisani, dalle autorità civili, da numerosi sacerdoti e religiosi, desiderano far benedire la prima pietra del nuovo Seminario Diocesano, che sarà intitolato a Papa Benedetto XIII, originario di Gravina. Formulo l’auspicio che si accresca il numero dei giovani che accolgono generosamente e con spirito di fede il dono inestimabile della vocazione, mentre esorto le famiglie ad apprezzare come una benedizione di Dio sulla loro casa la chiamata divina al sacerdozio.

Saluto anche i rappresentanti dell’Associazione Tempo Libero Handicappati, che ha organizzato un viaggio di giovani disabili in Italia per conoscere centri ed istituti di riabilitazione e per avere utili contatti anche con organizzazioni parallele. Esprimo il mio compiacimento a quanti operano in questa istituzione, agli interpreti, agli animatori ed a tutto il gruppo newyorchese qui presente.

Il mio pensiero va poi ai pellegrini della Parrocchia di Santa Maria del Colle di Mormanno, in Diocesi di Cassano allo Ionio, accompagnati dal loro parroco. Saluto in particolare i ragazzi e le ragazze della Prima Comunione e della Cresima, con l’augurio che tale esperienza di fede sia costante motivo di orientamento per la loro vita futura e soprattutto per una sempre più consapevole partecipazione alla messa festiva ed alla catechesi.

Ai giovani, agli ammalati e agli sposi novelli

Saluto pure i Giovani, gli Ammalati, gli Sposi Novelli. La vicina festa della Trinità ci riconduce al grande e fondamentale mistero della vita intima di Dio Uno e Trino, centro della fede cristiana. La conoscenza del vero Dio è la ragion d’essere di tutta la storia della rivelazione e della salvezza. Dalla Parola divina sappiamo che Dio si è manifestato a noi come Padre; ha inviato il suo Verbo eterno, fatto carne, crocifisso e risorto; ha donato a noi lo Spirito Santo, “che è Signore e dà la vita”. Alla luce di queste profonde verità invito tutti i giovani ad approfondire la propria fede in Dio-Trinità, e a testimoniarla con convinzione. Chiedo agli Ammalati di trovare nell’amore di Dio il proprio conforto e la pace interiore. Esorto gli Sposi Novelli a riconoscere che nel mistero di Dio sta il fondamento della santificazione della loro nascente famiglia.

Prima di concludere l’udienza, il Santo Padre invita i fedeli presenti ad unirsi alla preghiera di tutta la Chiesa per il buon esito dei lavori della sesta Sessione Plenaria della Commissione Mista Internazionale per il dialogo teologico tra la Chiesa cattolica e la Chiesa ortodossa. Queste le sue parole. 

Chiedo a tutti voi qui presenti di unirvi alla mia preghiera, affinché il Signore sostenga con la luce del suo Spirito i membri cattolici e ortodossi che iniziano oggi, a Monaco di Baviera, in Germania, ospiti dell’arcivescovo di quella città, il card. Fredrick Wetter, i lavori della sesta Sessione plenaria della Commissione Mista Internazionale per il dialogo teologico tra la Chiesa cattolica e la Chiesa ortodossa. Formulo l’auspicio che tali incontri ecumenici contribuiscano a promuovere una migliore, reciproca conoscenza e una più profonda carità.

Sosteniamo con le nostre preghiere tutti coloro che sono impegnati in questo cammino. A tutti la mia benedizione apostolica.

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