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The Holy Spirit Is Not a Mere Custodian — He Is the Lord and Giver of Life

The Holy Spirit is the author of holiness and the principal agent of evangelization, and we need some holiness and evangelization in the Church today. We need the Holy Spirit to nurture holiness in our hearts and in the hearts of every man, woman and child baptized in Jesus Christ. We need the Holy Spirit to spur us on to proclaim the Gospel to the whole world.

By cooperating with the Holy Spirit, we receive the graces that bring forth our salvation and growth in holiness. It is precisely the holiness of the baptized that serves as the spiritual blood — the literal life force — of the Church as she labors to accomplish the summons given her by the Lord Jesus:

“And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned’” (Mark 16:15-16).

In its dogmatic constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentiumthe Second Vatican Council emphasized this exact point:

“For the Church is compelled by the Holy Spirit to do her part that God’s plan may be fully realized, whereby He has constituted Christ as the source of salvation for the whole world. By the proclamation of the Gospel she prepares her hearers to receive and profess the faith. She gives them the dispositions necessary for baptism, snatches them from the slavery of error and of idols and incorporates them in Christ so that through charity they may grow up into full maturity in Christ” (17).

The work of the Church ad extra or ad gentes, namely, “to the nations” — to those who do not yet believe, or who believe incompletely, or who believe with lukewarm hearts — relies upon the graces received from the work of the Church ad intra, “from within.” The internal holiness of the Church opens the door for the Holy Spirit to bear fruit in the Church’s external work of evangelization.

If the Church’s call to holiness, which was so echoed and emphasized by the Second Vatican Council, is accepted and lived, then the Church is strong and her witness to the world is robust and credible. If the call to holiness, however, is not heeded or fanned into flame, then the work of the Church in the midst of humanity is hindered and its evangelistic fruitfulness is diminished.

If there’s only a little blood, then a body is weak. If there’s no abundance of grace, then the Church is weak. When the Church is weak, the Spirit cannot move and work through her as he wants to, and the Church’s efforts in evangelization are debilitated and made feeble.

The holiness of the Church’s members is lessened when there’s confusion, lack of clarity, purposeful ambiguity, needless concession, compromise, lack of accountability, corruption, scandal, and misplaced pastoral accommodation to sin and the ideologies of our fallen world.

Read more at National Catholic Register 

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