II. God is One in Three Divine Persons
Our teacher of these things is Jesus Christ, who also was born for this purpose, and was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
procurator of Judea, in the times of Tiberius Caesar; and that we reasonably worship Him, having learned that He is the Son
of the true God Himself, and holding Him in the second place, and the prophetic Spirit in the third, we will prove." Justin
Martyr, First Apology, 13 (A.D. 155).
"[T]he ever-truthful God, hast fore-ordained, hast revealed beforehand to me, and now hast fulfilled. Wherefore also I
praise Thee for all things, I bless Thee, I glorify Thee, along with the everlasting and heavenly Jesus Christ, Thy beloved
Son, with whom, to Thee, and the Holy Ghost, be glory both now and to all coming ages. Amen." Martyrdom of Polycarp 14
"For God did not stand in need of these [beings], in order to the accomplishing of what He had Himself determined with
Himself beforehand should be done, as if He did not possess His own hands. For with Him were always present the Word and Wisdom,
the Son and the Spirit, by whom and in whom, freely and spontaneously, He made all things, to whom also He speaks, saying,
'Let Us make man after Our image and likeness;' He taking from Himself the substance of the creatures [formed], and the pattern
of things made, and the type of all the adornments in the world." Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 4,20:1 (A.D. 180).
"And first, they taught us with one consent that God made all things out of nothing; for nothing was coequal with God:
but He being His own place, and wanting nothing, and existing before the ages, willed to make man by whom He might be known;
for him, therefore, He prepared the world. For he that is created is also needy; but he that is uncreated stands in need of
nothing. God, then, having His own Word internal within His own bowels, begat Him, emitting Him along with His own wisdom
before all things. He had this Word as a helper in the things that were created by Him, and by Him He made all things. He
is called governing principle' (arche), because He rules, and is Lord of all things fashioned by Him. He, then, being Spirit
of God, and governing principle, and wisdom, and power of the highest, came down upon the prophets, and through them spoke
of the creation of the world and of all other things. For the prophets were not when the world came into existence, but the
wisdom of God which was in Him, and His holy Word which was always present with Him. Wherefore He speaks thus by the prophet
Solomon: When He prepared the heavens I was there, and when He appointed the foundations of the earth I was by Him as one
brought up with Him.' And Moses, who lived many years before Solomon, or, rather, the Word of God by him as by an instrument,
says, In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.'" Theophilus of Antioch, To Autolycus, II:10 (c. A.D. 181).
"In the course of time, then, the Father forsooth was born, and the Father suffered, God Himself, the Lord Almighty, whom
in their preaching they declare to be Jesus Christ. We, however, as we indeed always have done and more especially since we
have been better instructed by the Paraclete, who leads men indeed into all truth), believe that there is one only God, but
under the following dispensation, or oikonomia, as it is called, that this one only God has also a Son, His Word, who proceeded
from Himself, by whom all things were made, and without whom nothing was made. Him we believe to have been sent by the Father
into the Virgin, and to have been born of her--being both Man and God, the Son of Man and the Son of God, and to have been
called by the name of Jesus Christ; we believe Him to have suffered, died, and been buried, according to the Scriptures, and,
after He had been raised again by the Father and taken back to heaven, to be sitting at the right hand of the Father, and
that He will come to judge the quick and the dead; who sent also from heaven from the Father, according to His own promise,
the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete, the sanctifier of the faith of those who believe in the Father, and in the Son, and in the
Holy Ghost. That this rule of faith has come down to us from the beginning of the gospel, even before any of the older heretics,
much more before Praxeas, a pretender of yesterday, will be apparent both from the lateness of date which marks all heresies,
and also from the absolutely novel character of our new-fangled Praxeas." Tertullian, Against Praxeas, 2 (post A.D. 213).
"Bear always in mind that this is the rule of faith which I profess; by it I testify that the Father, and the Son, and
the Spirit are inseparable from each other, and so will you know in what sense this is said. Now, observe, my assertion is
that the Father is one, and the Son one, and the Spirit one, and that They are distinct from Each Other. This statement is
taken in a wrong sense by every uneducated as well as every perversely disposed person, as if it predicated a diversity, in
such a sense as to imply a separation among the Father, and the Son, and the Spirit. I am, moreover, obliged to say this,
when (extolling the Monarchy at the expense of the Economy) they contend for the identity of the Father and Son and Spirit,
that it is not by way of diversity that the Son differs from the Father, but by distribution: it is not by division that He
is different, but by distinction; because the Father is not the same as the Son, since they differ one from the other in the
mode of their being. For the Father is the entire substance, but the Son is a derivation and portion of the whole, as He Himself
acknowledges: My Father is greater than I.' In the Psalm His inferiority is described as being a little lower than the angels.'
Thus the Father is distinct from the Son, being greater than the Son, inasmuch as He who begets is one, and He who is begotten
is another; He, too, who sends is one, and He who is sent is another; and He, again, who makes is one, and He through whom
the thing is made is another.” Tertullian, Against Praxeas, 9 (post A.D. 213).
“Happily the Lord Himself employs this expression of the person of the Paraclete, so as to signify not a division
or severance, but a disposition (of mutual relations in the Godhead); for He says, I will pray the Father, and He shall send
you another Comforter. ...even the Spirit of truth,' thus making the Paraclete distinct from Himself, even as we say that
the Son is also distinct from the Father; so that He showed a third degree in the Paraclete, as we believe the second degree
is in the Son, by reason of the order observed in the Economy. Besides, does not the very fact that they have the distinct
names of Father and San amount to a declaration that they are distinct in personality? For, of course, all things will be
what their names represent them to be; and what they are and ever will be, that will they be called; and the distinction indicated
by the names does not at all admit of any confusion, because there is none in the things which they designate. "Yes is yes,
and no is no; for what is more than these, cometh of evil." Tertullian, Against Praxeas, 9 (post A.D. 213).
"[T]he statements made regarding Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are to be understood as transcending all time, all ages,
and all eternity. For it is the Trinity alone which exceeds the comprehension not only of temporal but even of eternal intelligence;
while other things which are not included in it are to be measured by times and ages." Origen, First Principles, 4:28
""Next, I may reasonably turn to those who divide and cut to pieces and destroy that most sacred doctrine of the Church
of God, the Divine Monarchy, making it as it were three powers and partitive subsistences and god-heads three. I am told that
some among you who are catechists and teachers of the Divine Word, take the lead in this tenet, who are diametrically opposed,
so to speak, to Sabellius's opinions; for he blasphemously says that the Son is the Father, and the Father the Son, but they
in some sort preach three Gods, as dividing the sacred Monad into three subsistences foreign to each other and utterly separate.
For it must needs be that with the God of the Universe, the Divine Word is united, and the Holy Ghost must repose and habitate
in God; thus in one as in a summit, I mean the God of the Universe, must the Divine Triad be gathered up and brought together.
For it is the doctrine of the presumptuous Marcion, to sever and divide the Divine Monarchy into three origins,--a devil's
teaching, not that of Christ's true disciples and lovers of the Saviour's lessons, For they know well that a Triad is preached
by divine Scripture, but that neither Old Testament nor New preaches three Gods.” Pope Dionysius [regn. 260-268],
to Dionysius of Alexandria, fragment in Athanasius' Nicene Definition 26 (A.D. 262).
“Equally must one censure those who hold the: Son to be a work, and consider that the Lord has come into being, as
one of things which really came to be; whereas the divine oracles witness to a generation suitable to Him and becoming, but
not to any fashioning or making. A blasphemy then is it, not ordinary, but even the highest, to say that the Lord is in any
sort a handiwork. For if He came to be Son, once He was not; but He was always, if (that is) He be in the Father, as He says
Himself, and if the Christ be Word and Wisdom and Power (which, as ye know, divine Scripture says), and these attributes be
powers of God. If then the Son came into being, once these attributes were not; consequently there was a time, when God was
without them; which is most absurd…
Neither then may we divide into three Godheads the wonderful and divine Monad;
nor disparage with the name of 'work' the dignity and exceeding majesty of the Lord; but we must believe in God the Father
Almighty, and in Christ Jesus His Son, and in the Holy Ghost, and hold that to the God of the universe the Word is united.
For 'I,' says He, 'and the Father are one; 'and, 'I in the Father and the Father in Me.' For thus both the Divine Triad, and
the holy preaching of the Monarchy, will be preserved." Pope Dionysius [regn. 260-268], to Dionysius of Alexandria, fragment
in Athanasius' Nicene Definition 26 (A.D. 262).
"Now the person in each declares the independent being and subsistence. But divinity is the property of the Father; and
whenever the divinity of these three is spoken of as one, testimony is borne that the property of the Father belongs also
to the Son and the Spirit: wherefore, if the divinity may be spoken of as one in three persons, the trinity is established,
and the unity is not dissevered; and the oneness Which is naturally the Father's is also acknowledged to be the Son's and
the Spirit's." Gregory the Wonderworker (Thaumaturgus), Sectional Confession of Faith, 8 (A.D. 270).
"For the kingdom of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is one, even as their substance is one and their dominion
one. Whence also, with one and the same adoration, we worship the one Deity in three Persons, subsisting without beginning,
uncreate, without end, and to which there is no successor. For neither will the Father ever cease to be the Father, nor again
the Son to be the Son and King, nor the Holy Ghost to be what in substance and personality He is." Methodius, Oration
on the Palms, 4 (A.D. 305).
"We believe in one God, the Father almighty,maker of all things, visible and invisible; And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the
Son of God,begotten from the Father,only-begotten,that is,from the substance of the Father,God from God,light from light,true
God from true God,begotten,not made,of one substance with the Father...And in the Holy Spirit." Creed of Nicea (A.D. 325).
"Let no one therefore separate the Old from the New Testament; let no one say that the Spirit in the former is one, and
in the latter another; since thus he offends against the Holy Ghost Himself, who with the Father and the Son together is honoured,
and at the time of Holy Baptism is included with them in the Holy Trinity. For the Only-begotten Son of God said plainly to
the Apostles, Go ye, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and
of the Holy Ghost. Our hope is in Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost. We preach not three God; let the Marcionites be silenced;
but with the Holy Ghost through One Son, we preach One God. The Faith is indivisible; the worship inseparable. We neither
separate the Holy Trinity, like some; nor do we as Sabellius work confusion. But we know according to godliness One Father,
who sent His Son to be our Saviour we know One Son, who promised that He would send the Comforter from the Father; we know
the Holy Ghost, who spake in the Prophets, and who on the day of Pentecost descended on the Apostles in the form of fiery
tongues, here, in Jerusalem, in the Upper Church of the Apostles..." Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, 16:4 (c.
"I can see no limit to my venture of speaking concerning God in terms more precise than He Himself has used. He has assigned
the Names--Father, Son and Holy Ghost,--which are our information of the Divine nature. Words cannot express or feeling embrace
or reason apprehend the re suits of enquiry carried further; all is ineffable, unattainable, incomprehensible. Language is
exhausted by the magnitude of the theme, the splendour of its effulgence blinds the gazing eye, the intellect cannot compass
its boundless extent...When Israel hears that its God is one, and that no second god is likened, that men may deem him God,
to God Who is God's Son, the revelation means that God the Father and God the Son are One altogether, not by confusion of
Person but by unity of substance. For the prophet forbids us, because God the Son is God, to liken Him to some second deity....But
I cannot describe Him, Whose pleas for me I cannot describe. As in the revelation that Thy Only-begotten was born of Thee
before times eternal, when we cease to struggle with ambiguities of language and difficulties of thought, the one certainty
of His birth remains; so I hold fast in my consciousness the truth that Thy Holy Spirit is from Thee and through Him, although
I cannot by my intellect comprehend it." Hilary of Poiters, On the Trinity, 2:5,4:42,12:56 (A.D. 359).
"[T]hey ought to confess that the Father is God, the Son God, and the Holy Ghost God, as they have been taught by the divine
words, and by those who have understood them in their highest sense. Against those who cast it in our teeth that we are Tritheists,
let it be answered that we confess one God not in number but in nature. For everything which is called one in number is not
one absolutely, nor yet simple in nature; but God is universally confessed to be simple and not composite." Basil, To
the Caesareans, Epistle 8 (A.D. 360).
"For this Synod of Nicea is in truth a proscription of every heresy. It also upsets those who blaspheme the Holy Spirit,
and call Him a Creature. For the Fathers, after speaking of the faith in the Son, straightway added, 'And we believe in the
Holy Ghost,' in order that by confessing perfectly and fully the faith in the Holy Trinity they might make known the exact
form of the Faith of Christ, and the teaching of the Catholic Church. For it is made clear both among you and among all, and
no Christian can have a doubtful mind on the point, that our faith is not in the Creature, but in one God, Father Almighty,
maker of all things visible and invisible: and in one Lord Jesus Christ His Only-begotten Son, and in one Holy Ghost; one
God known in the holy and perfect Trinity, baptized into which, and in it united to the Deity, we believe that we have also
inherited the kingdom of the heavens, in Christ Jesus our Lord, hrough whom to the Father be the glory and the power for ever
and ever. Amen." Athanasius, To the Bishops in Africa, 11 (A.D. 372).
"And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father, who together with the Father and the
Son is worshipped and glorified." Epiphanius, Creed (A.D. 374).
"The Substance of the Trinity is, so to say, a common Essence in that which is distinct, an incomprehensible, ineffable
Substance. We hold the distinction, not the confusion of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; a distinction without separation; a
distinction without plurality; and thus we believe in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as each existing from and to eternity in
this divine and wonderful Mystery: not in two Fathers, nor in two Sons, nor in two Spirits. For there is one God, the Father,
of Whom are all things, and we in Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by Whom are all things, and we by Him.' There is One born
of the Father, the Lord Jesus, and therefore He is the Only-begotten. There is also One Holy Spirit,' as the same Apostle
hath said. So we believe, so we read, so we hold. We know the fact of distinction, we know nothing of the hidden mysteries;
we pry not into the causes, but keep the outward signs vouchsafed unto us." Ambrose, On the Christian Faith, 8:92 (A.D.
"I have very carefully considered this matter in my own mind...but I have been unable to discover any thing on earth with
which to compare the nature of the Godhead...I picture to myself an eye, a fountain, a river, as others have done before,
to see if the first might be analogous to the Father, the second to the Son, and the third to the Holy Ghost...Again I thought
of the sun and a ray and light. But here again there was a fear lest people should get an idea of composition in the Uncompounded
Nature, such as there is in the Sun and the things that are in the Sun. And in the second place lest we should give Essence
to the Father but deny Personality to the Others, and make Them only Powers of God, existing in Him and not Personal." Gregory
of Nazianen, 5th Oration (31), 31, 32 (A.D. 380).
"We believe in one God, the Father, almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible; And in one
Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten from the Father before all ages, light from light, true God from
true God, begotten not made, of one substance with the Father, through Whom all things came into existence...And in the Holy
Spirit, the Lord and life-giver, Who proceeds from the Father, Who with the Father and the Son is together worshipped and
together glorified..." Creed of Constantinople (A.D. 381).
"For neither the centurion nor that poor woman who for twelve years was wasting away with a bloody flux, had believed in
the mysteries of the Trinity, for these were revealed to the Apostles after the resurrection of Christ; so that the faith
of such as believe in the mystery of the Trinity might have its due preeminence: but it was her singleness of mind and her
devotion to her God that met with our Lord's approval: 'For she said within herself, If I do but touch his garment, I shall
be made whole.' This is the faith which our Lord said was seldom found. This is the faith which even in the case of those
who believe aright is hard to find in perfection. 'According to your faith, be it done unto you,' says God. I do not, indeed,
like the sound of those words. For if it be done unto me according to my faith, I shall perish. And yet I certainly believe
in God the Father, I believe in God the Son, and I believe in God the Holy Ghost. I believe in one God; nevertheless, I would
not have it done unto me according to my faith." Jerome, Against Luciferians, 15 (A.D. 382).
"But they[ie. Catholics] worship the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, One Godhead; God the Father, God the Son and
(do not be angry) God the Holy Ghost, One Nature in Three Personalities, intellectual, perfect, Self-existent, numerically
separate, but not separate in Godhead." Gregory of Nazianzen, Against the Arians and concerning himself, Oration 33:16
(ante A.D. 389).
"Seest thou that he implies that there is no difference in the gifts of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost? Not
confounding the Persons, God forbid! But declaring the equal honor of the Essence. For that which the Spirit bestows, this
he saith that God also works; this, that the Son likewise ordains and grants. Yet surely if the one were inferior to the other,
or the other to it, he would not have thus set it down nor would this have been his way of consoling the person who was vexed."
John Chrysostom, Homily on 1st Corinthians, 29:4 (c. A.D. 392).
"Since, then, in the case of those who are regenerate from death to eternal life, it is through the Holy Trinity that the
life-giving power is bestowed on those who with faith are deemed worthy of the grace, and in like manner the grace is imperfect,
if any one, whichever it be, of the names of the Holy Trinity be omitted in the saving baptism--for the sacrament of regeneration
is not completed in the Son and the Father alone without the Spirit: nor is the perfect boon of life imparted to Baptism in
the Father and the Spirit, if the name of the Son be suppressed: nor is the grace of that Resurrection accomplished in the
Father and the Son, if the Spirit be left out :--for this reason we rest all our hope, and the persuasion of the salvation
of our souls, upon the three Persons, recognized by these names; and we believe in the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who
is the Fountain of life, and in the Only-begotten Son of the Father, Who is the Author of life, as saith the Apostle, and
in the Holy Spirit of God, concerning Whom the Lord hath spoken, 'It is the Spirit that quickeneth". And since on us who have
been redeemed from death the grace of immortality is bestowed, as we have said, through faith in the Father, and the Son,
and the Holy Spirit, guided by these we believe that nothing servile, nothing created, nothing unworthy of the majesty of
the Father is to be associated in thought with the Holy Trinity; since, I say, our life is one which comes to us by faith
in the Holy Trinity, taking its rise from the God of all, flowing through the Son, and working in us by the Holy Spirit.”
Gregory of Nyssa, To the City of Sebasteia, Epistle 2 (ante A.D. 394).
“Having, then, this full assurance, we are baptized as we were commanded, and we believe as we are baptized, and
we hold as we believe; so that with one accord our baptism, our faith, and our ascription of praise are to the Father, and
to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. But if any one makes mention of two or three Gods, or of three God-heads, let him be accursed.
And if any, following the perversion of Arius, says that the Son or the Holy Spirit were produced from things that are not,
let him be accursed. But as many as walk by the rule of truth and acknowledge the three Persons, devoutly recognized in Their
several properties, and believe that there is one Godhead, one goodness, one rule, one authority and power, and neither make
void the supremacy of the Sole-sovereignty, nor fall away into polytheism, nor confound the Persons, nor make up the Holy
Trinity of heterogeneous and unlike elements, but in simplicity receive the doctrine of the faith, grounding all their hope
of salvation upon the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,--these according to our judgment are of the same mind as we, and
with them we also trust to have part in the Lord." Gregory of Nyssa, To the City of Sebasteia, Epistle 2 (ante A.D. 394).
"We have said elsewhere that those things are predicated Specially in the Trinity as belonging severally to each person,
which are predicated relatively the one to the other, as Father and Son, and the gift of both, the Holy Spirit; for the Father
is not the Trinity, nor the Son the Trinity, nor the gift the Trinity: but what whenever each is singly spoken of in respect
to themselves, then they are not spoken of as three in the plural number, but one, the Trinity itself, as the Father God,
the Son God, and the Holy Spirit God; the Father good, the Son good, and the Holy Spirit good; and the Father omnipotent,
the Son omnipotent, and the Holy Spirit omnipotent: yet neither three Gods, nor three goods, nor three omnipotents, but one
God, good, omnipotent, the Trinity itself; and whatsoever else is said of them not relatively in respect to each other, but
individually in respect to themselves. For they are thus spoken of according to l essence, since in them to be is the same
as to be great, as to be good, as to be wise, and whatever else is said of each person individually therein, or of the Trinity
itself, in respect to themselves. And that therefore they are called three persons, or three substances, not in order that
any difference of essence may be understood, but that we may be able to answer by some one word, should any one ask what three,
or what three things? And that there is so great an equality in that Trinity, that not only the Father is not greater than
the Son, as regards divinity, but neither are the Father and Son together greater than the Holy Spirit; nor is each individual
person, whichever it be of the three, less than the Trinity itself." Augustine, On the Trinity, 8 Pref (A.D. 416).
"All those Catholic expounders of the divine Scriptures, both Old and New, whom I have been able to read, who have written
before me concerning the Trinity, Who is God, have purposed to teach, according to the Scriptures, this doctrine, that the
Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit intimate a divine unity of one and the same substance in an indivisible equality;
and therefore that they are not three Gods, but one God: although the Father hath begotten the Son, and so He who is the Father
is not the Son; and the Son is begotten by the Father, and so He who is the Son is not the Father; and the Holy Spirit is
neither the Father nor the Son, but only the Spirit of the Father and of the Son, Himself also co-equal with the Father and
the Son, and pertaining to the unity of the Trinity. Yet not that this Trinity was born of the Virgin Mary, and crucified
under Pontius Pilate, buried and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven, but only the Son. Nor, again, that this
Trinity descended in the form of a dove upon Jesus when He was baptized; nor that, on the day of Pentecost, after the ascension
of the Lord, when there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind,' the same Trinity sat upon each of them with
cloven tongues like as of fire,' but only the Holy Spirit. Nor yet that this Trinity said from heaven, Thou art my Son,' whether
when He was baptized by John, or when the three disciples were with Him in the mount, or when the voice sounded, saying, I
have both glorified it, and will glorify it again;' but that it was a word of the Father only, spoken to the Son; although
the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as they are indivisible, so work indivisibly. This is also my faith, since it
is the Catholic faith." Augustine, On the Trinity, I:4,7 (A.D. 416).
"But after him the schism of Sabellius burst forth out of reaction against the above mentioned heresy, and as he declared
that there was no distinction between the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, he impiously confounded, as far as was possible, the
Persons, and failed to distinguish the holy and ineffable Trinity. Next after him whom we have mentioned there followed the
blasphemy of Arian perversity, which, in order to avoid the appearance of confounding the Sacred Persons, declared that there
were different and dissimilar substances in the Trinity." John Cassian, The Incarnation of Christ, 2 (A.D. 430).
"In God there is one substance, but three Persons; in Christ two substances, but one Person. In the Trinity, another and
another Person, not another and another substance (distinct Persons, not distinct substances)...Because there is one Person
of the Father, another of the Son, another of the Holy Ghost; but yet there is not another and another nature (distinct natures)
but one and the same nature." Vincent of Lerins, Commonitory for the Antiquity and Universality of the Catholic Faith,
37 (A.D. 434).
"But although, dearly-beloved, the actual form of the thing done was exceeding wonderful, and undoubtedly in that exultant
chorus of all human languages the Majesty of the Holy Spirit was present, yet no one must think that His Divine substance
appeared in what was seen with bodily eyes. For His Nature, which is invisible and shared in common with the Father and the
Son, showed the character of His gift and work by the outward sign that pleased Him, but kept His essential property within
His own Godhead: because human sight can no more perceive the Holy Ghost than it can the Father or the Son. For in the Divine
Trinity nothing is unlike or unequal, and all that can be thought concerning Its substance admits of no diversity either in
power or glory or eternity. And while in the property of each Person the Father is one, the Son is another, and the Holy Ghost
is another, yet the Godhead is not distinct and different; for whilst the Son is the Only begotten of the Father, the Holy
Spirit is the Spirit of the Father and the Son, not in the way that every creature is the creature of the Father and the Son,
but as living and having power with Both, and eternally subsisting of That Which is the Father and the Son." Pope Leo
the Great (regn. 440-461), Sermon 77:2 (ante A.D. 461).
"Or, if any one should perhaps think that this is done out of veneration for the supreme Trinity, neither so is there any
objection to immersing the person to be baptized in the water once, since, there being one substance in three subsistences,
it cannot be in any way reprehensible to immerse the infant in baptism either thrice or once, seeing that by three immersions
the Trinity of persons, and in one the singleness of the Divinity may be denoted." Pope Gregory the Great (regn. A.D.
590-604), To Leander Bishop of Hispalis, Letter 43 (A.D. 591).
"These hypostases are within each other, not so that they are confused, but so that they contain one another, in accordance
with the word of the Lord: I am in the Father and the Father is in me ...We do not say three gods, the Father, the Son, and
the Holy Spirit. On the contrary, we say only one God, the Holy Trinity, the Son, and the Spirit going back to only one Principle,
without composition or confusion, quite unlike the heresy of Sabellius. These Persons are united, not so that they are confused
with each other, but so that they are contained within each other. There is between them a circumincession without mixture
or confusion, by virtue of which they are neither seperated nor divided in substance, unlike the heresy of Arius. In fact,
in a word, the divinity is undivided in the individuals, just as there is only one light in three suns contained within each
other, by means of an intimate interprenetration." John of Damascus, Orthodox Faith, I:8 (A.D. 712
***The symbolds of the Holy Spirit as depicted on this page are an originial creation of PrayTheRosary Apostolate. Please
provide a link when using***
The Gifts of the Holy Spirit are important for us because they help us to: make wise decisions about important matters,
to understand the real meaning of life, advise and help others to make the right decisions;
be strong to uphold and
do what is right and to condemn and avoid what is wrong;
to know the teaching of God and our true destiny;
to give true
worship and praise to God;
to fear offending God who is our loving Father.
Wisdom is a gift by which the mind is lifted up from earthly and transitory things, enabling us to contemplate
things eternal, that is to say, God Himself, the eternal truth, and to relish and love Him, in which consists all our good.
Understanding is a gift which facilitates, as far as this is possible to mortal man, the understanding
of the truths of faith and of the mysteries of God, which we are unable to know by the natural light of the intellect.
Counsel is a gift by which, amidst the doubts and uncertainties of human life, we are enabled to recognize
those things that redound more to God's glory, to our own salvation, and to that of our neighbor.
Fortitude is a gift which inspires us with valor and courage to observe faithfully the holy law of God
and of the Church, by conquering all obstacles and all the assaults of our enemies.
Knowledge is a gift enabling us to estimate created things at their proper worth, and to learn how to use
them rightly and to direct them to our last end, which is God.
Piety is a gift enabling us to venerate and love
God and His Saints, and to preserve a pious and benevolent mind towards our neighbor for the love of God.
Fear of the Lord
The Fear of the Lord is a gift which makes us respect God and fear to offend His Divine Majesty,
and which detaches us from evil while inciting us to good.
Prayer for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit, divine Consoler, I adore You as my true God, with God the Father and God the Son. I adore You
and unite myself to the adoration You receive from the angels and saints.
I give You my heart and I offer
my ardent thanksgiving for all the grace which You never cease to bestow on me.
O Giver of all supernatural gifts, who filled the soul of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, with such immense favors,
I beg You to visit me with Your grace and Your love and to grant me the gift of holy fear, so that it may act on me as a check
to prevent me from falling back into my past sins, for which I beg pardon.
Grant me the gift of piety, so that I may serve You for the future with increased fervor, follow with more promptness
Your holy inspirations, and observe your divine precepts with greater fidelity.
Grant me the gift of knowledge, so that I may know the things of God and, enlightened by Your holy teaching, may walk,
without deviation, in the path of eternal salvation.
Grant me the gift of fortitude, so that I may overcome courageously all the assaults of the devil, and all the dangers
of this world which threaten the salvation of my soul.
Grant me the gift of counsel, so that I may choose what is more conducive to my spiritual advancement and may discover
the wiles and snares of the tempter.
Grant me the gift of understanding, so that I may apprehend the divine mysteries and by contemplation of heavenly things
detach my thoughts and affections from the vain things of this miserable world.
Grant me the gift of wisdom, so that I may rightly direct all my actions, referring them to God as my last end; so that,
having loved Him and served Him in this life, I may have the happiness of possessing Him eternally in the next.
Symbols of the Holy Spirit
The symbolism of water signifies the Holy Spirit's action in Baptism, since after
the invocation of the Holy Spirit it becomes the efficacious sacramental sign of new birth: just as the gestation of our first
birth took place in water, so the water of Baptism truly signifies that our birth into the divine life is given to us in the
Holy Spirit. As "by one Spirit we were all baptized," so we are also "made to drink of one Spirit." Thus the Spirit is also
personally the living water welling up from Christ crucified as its source and welling up in us to eternal life.
The symbolism of anointing with oil also signifies the Holy Spirit, to the point of becoming a synonym for the
Holy Spirit. In Christian initiation, anointing is the sacramental sign of Confirmation. Its full force can be grasped
only in relation to the primary anointing accomplished by the Holy Spirit, that of Jesus. Christ (in Hebrew "messiah") means
the one "anointed" by God's Spirit. There were several anointed ones of the Lord in the Old Covenant, pre-eminently King David.
But Jesus is God's Anointed in a unique way: the humanity the Son assumed was entirely anointed by the Holy Spirit. The Holy
Spirit established him as "Christ."
The Virgin Mary conceived Christ by the Holy Spirit who, through the angel, proclaimed him the Christ at his birth, and
prompted Simeon to come to the temple to see the Christ of the Lord. The Spirit filled Christ and the power of the Spirit
went out from him in his acts of healing and of saving. Finally, it was the Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead. Now, fully
established as "Christ" in his humanity victorious over death, Jesus pours out the Holy Spirit abundantly until "the saints"
constitute - in their union with the humanity of the Son of God - that perfect man "to the measure of the stature of the fullness
of Christ" "the whole Christ," in St. Augustine's expression.
While water signifies birth and the fruitfulness of life given in the Holy Spirit, fire symbolizes the transforming
energy of the Holy Spirit's actions. The prayer of the prophet Elijah, who "arose like fire" and whose "word burned like a
torch," brought down fire from heaven on the sacrifice on Mount Carmel. This event was a "figure" of the fire of the Holy
Spirit, who transforms what he touches. John the Baptist, who goes "before [the Lord] in the spirit and power of Elijah,"
proclaims Christ as the one who "will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." Jesus will say of the Spirit: "I came
to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled!" In the form of tongues "as of fire," the Holy Spirit
rests on the disciples on the morning of Pentecost and fills them with himself The spiritual tradition has retained this symbolism
of fire as one of the most expressive images of the Holy Spirit's actions. "Do not quench the Spirit."
These two images occur together in the manifestations of the Holy Spirit. In the theophanies of the Old Testament,
the cloud, now obscure, now luminous, reveals the living and saving God, while veiling the transcendence of his glory - with
Moses on Mount Sinai, at the tent of meeting, and during the wandering in the desert, and with Solomon at the dedication of
the Temple. In the Holy Spirit, Christ fulfills these figures. The Spirit comes upon the Virgin Mary and "overshadows" her,
so that she might conceive and give birth to Jesus. On the mountain of Transfiguration, the Spirit in the "cloud came and
overshadowed" Jesus, Moses and Elijah, Peter, James and John, and "a voice came out of the cloud, saying, 'This is my Son,
my Chosen; listen to him!'" Finally, the cloud took Jesus out of the sight of the disciples on the day of his ascension and
will reveal him as Son of man in glory on the day of his final coming.
The seal is a symbol close to that of anointing. "The Father has set his seal" on Christ and also seals us in him.
Because this seal indicates the indelible effect of the anointing with the Holy Spirit in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation,
and Holy Orders, the image of the seal (sphragis) has been used in some theological traditions to express the indelible "character"
imprinted by these three unrepeatable sacraments.
Jesus heals the sick and blesses little children by laying hands on them. In his name the apostles will do the
same. Even more pointedly, it is by the Apostles' imposition of hands that the Holy Spirit is given. The Letter to the Hebrews
lists the imposition of hands among the "fundamental elements" of its teaching. The Church has kept this sign of the all-powerful
outpouring of the Holy Spirit in its sacramental epicleses.
"It is by the finger of God that [Jesus] cast out demons." If God's law was written on tablets of stone "by the
finger of God," then the "letter from Christ" entrusted to the care of the apostles, is written "with the Spirit of the living
God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts." The hymn Veni Creator Spiritus invokes the Holy Spirit as the
"finger of the Father's right hand."
At the end of the flood, whose symbolism refers to Baptism, a dove released by Noah returns with a fresh olive-tree
branch in its beak as a sign that the earth was again habitable. When Christ comes up from the water of his baptism, the Holy
Spirit, in the form of a dove, comes down upon him and remains with him. The Spirit comes down and remains in the purified
hearts of the baptized. In certain churches, the Eucharist is reserved in a metal receptacle in the form of a dove (columbarium)
suspended above the altar. Christian iconography traditionally uses a dove to suggest the Spirit.
The Fruits of the Holy Spirit are the virtues produced in our lives when we exercise the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
are Twelve Fruits of the Holy Spirit:
Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience, Benignity, Goodness, l
Long-Suffering, Mildness, Faith, Modesty, Continency, and Chastity.
Fruits, the things that grow from the gifts of the Holy Ghost.
"Charity," love of God and. our neighbor, "Peace" with God and man and ourselves. With God, because we are His friends.
With man, because we deal justly with all and are kind to all. With ourselves, because we have a good conscience, that does
not accuse us of sin.
"Benignity," disposition to do good and show kindness.
"Long-suffering"--same as patience.
"Modesty, continency, and chastity" refer to purity in thoughts, words, looks, and actions.
We will know we are producing these Fruits in our lives when we are loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, generous,
gentle, faithful, modest, when we exercise self-control and when we are chaste and pure.
Pray a NOVENA to the Holy Spirit
Learn MORE about the Holy Trinity