BITE-SIZE THEOLOGY (74) – What is the mission of the Holy Spirit in the History of Salvation?

– Rev José Mario O Mandía


The opening verses of the Bible tell us: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light” (Genesis 1:1-2). These words reveal to us that the Blessed Trinity was present at the time of creation. The “Spirit of God” was there, and the Word of God was also there (“God said” – he speaks through His Word). 

The CCC 703 reaffirms that “in the beginning,” it was not only the Father who was creating. Both Second and Third Persons were with Him: “The Word of God and his Breath are at the origin of the being and life of every creature.”

Even after Adam and Eve sinned, the Holy Spirit continued to accompany the chosen people, speaking “through the prophets” (Hebrews 1:1). “The term ‘prophets’ means those who were inspired by the Holy Spirit to speak in the name of God,” says the CCCC (no 140). 


The same point of the CCCC  says further: “The Spirit brings the prophecies of the Old Testament to their complete fulfillment in Christ whose mystery he reveals in the New Testament.” The Spirit is present in the transition from the Old to the New. 

We see His action in John the Baptist. “John was ‘filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb’ (Luke 1:15, 41)” (CCC 717).  “In him, the Holy Spirit concludes his speaking through the prophets. John completes the cycle of prophets begun by Elijah (cf Matthew 11:13-14). He proclaims the imminence of the consolation of Israel; he is the ‘voice’ of the Consoler who is coming’ (John 1:23; cf Isaiah 40:1-3)” (CCC 719).

We find His action in the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Compendium (no 142) explains: “The Holy Spirit brought to fulfillment in Mary all the waiting and the preparation of the Old Testament for the coming of Christ. 

[1] “In a singular way he filled her with grace and made her virginity fruitful so that she could give birth to the Son of God made flesh.

[2] “He made her the Mother of the ‘whole Christ,’ that is, of Jesus the Head and of the Church his body.

[3] “Mary was present with the twelve on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit inaugurated the ‘last days’ with the manifestation of the Church.”

The CCC (no 721) teaches us: “Mary, the all-holy ever-virgin Mother of God, is the masterwork of the mission of the Son and the Spirit in the fullness of time. For the first time in the plan of salvation and because his Spirit had prepared her, the Father found the dwelling place where his Son and his Spirit could dwell among men. In this sense the Church’s Tradition has often read the most beautiful texts on wisdom in relation to Mary (cf Proverbs 8:1-9:6; Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 24). Mary is acclaimed and represented in the liturgy as the ‘Seat of Wisdom.’ In her, the ‘wonders of God’ that the Spirit was to fulfill in Christ and the Church began to be manifested.”

We see Him acting on Christ’s humanity. The CCCC (no 143) teaches us that through the anointing of the Spirit, Jesus Christ “was consecrated in his humanity as the Messiah by means of the anointing of the Spirit. He revealed the Spirit in his teaching, fulfilled the promises made to the Fathers, and bestowed him upon the Church at its birth when he breathed on the apostles after the Resurrection.”