Beloved spiritual brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
THE DESCENT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT,
THE THIRD PERSON OF THE HOLY TRINITY
"And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, Who
proceeds from the Father, Who with the Father and the
Son together are worshipped and glorified; Who spoke
by the Prophets" (Symbol of Faith (The Creed).
The Holy Spirit is CONSUBSTANTIAL (OF ONE ESSENCE) with the Son and the Father because ALL THREE PERSONS OF THE HOLY TRINITY HAVE A COMMON ESSENCE OR NATURE, and A COMMON ENERGY OR INTENTION GLORY. This is why WHEREVER CHRIST, THERE IS THE HOLY SPIRIT, AND WHEREVER THE HOLY SPIRIT IS, THERE IS CHRIST.
The Persons of the Holy Trinity ARE NOT SEPARATE, NOR IN THEIR WORK INDEPENDENT. Saint Maximos the Confessor says that the IS Holy Spirit IS ACTIVE IN ALL PEOPLE, BUT IN A DIFFERENT WAY IN EACH ONE. He works in all people without exception, SINCE THEY ARE CREATED BY GOD, Who is able to hold together, provide for, and set in motion the natural seeds.
The Church was founded on the day of Pentecost, in that the Apostles became MEMBERS OF THE Body of Christ. Thus, while they previously had A COMMUNION with Christ, now by the power and energy of the Holy Spirit they became members of the Body of Christ. The Church CHANGED FROM SPIRIT to FLESH. The saints, THE DEIFIED, had A RELATIONSHIP AND COMMUNION NOT ONLY WITH THE UNINCARNATE LOGOS/WORD BUT THE LOGOS/WORD BECOME FLESH, Christ the Godman. The theology that the Church is the Body of Christ and the saints are the members of the Body of Christ is explained by the Apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 13:1-31). He says THAT THE CHURCH IS NOT A RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION, but THE BODY OF CHRIST. Moreover, he says that the distribution of the Gifts of Grace TAKES PLACE BY THE ENERGY OF THE Holy Spirit. To conclude, the Apostle Paul says, "Now YOU ARE BODY OF CHRIST, AND EACH ONE OF YOU IS A PART OF IT" (1 Corinthians 12:27).
It should be added that in the teaching of the holy Fathers two truths appear which show the common energy of the Persons of the Holy Trinity. The Christians are MEMBERS OF THE BODY OF CHRIST (1 Corinthians 12:27). but at the same time, they ARE TEMPLES OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (1 Corinthians 6:19). One does not exclude the other… The Descent of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost is that the Holy Spirit made the Disciples members of the Body of Christ and gave them THE POWER TO PARTICIPATE IN CHRIST’S VICTORY OVER DEATH.
"…The Holy Spirit came down into the hearts of the Apostles and IS WORKING IN MEN THROUGH THEIR OWN WILL AND NOT AS SERVANTS. But MEN MUST RESPOND TO THE ENERGY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT WITH THEIR WILL SINCE GOD DOES NOT VIOLATE THEIR FREEDOM…
"…With the Holy Baptism MAN BECOMES A MEMBER OF THE CHURCH, A MEMBER OF THE BODY OF CHRIST. The day of Pentecost was THE DAY OF THE DISCIPLES’ BAPTISM BECAUSE THEY BECAME MEMBERS OF THE Body of Christ. Thus Christ IS NOT ONLY THEIR TEACHER BUT THEIR HEAD.
Christ said to His Disciples, right after His Resurrection: "For John baptized with water, but in a few days YOU WILL BE BAPTIZED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT" (Acts 1:5). When the Holy Spirit DESCENDED ON THE DISCIPLES HE BAPTIZED THEM, AND SO THE HOUSE WHERE THEY WERE, AWAITING THE PROMISE OF THE FATHER, BECAME FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT, WHICH MADE THE HOUSE A SPIRITUAL FONT (Saint Gregory Palamas).
THE PRESENCE of the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room came with a violent wind. Saint Luke writes: "Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting" (Acts 2:2). This violent wind was prefigured and predicted i many1 situations in the Old Testament. It is the sound about which the mother of the Prophet Samuel said, "The Lord has gone up to heaven and has thundered" (1 Samuel 2:10). The Prophet Elijah’s vision of God predicted this sound when he saw God through the sound of a gentle breeze. Christ suggested this sound when He cried, "IF ANYONE THIRSTS, LET HIM COME TO ME AND DRINK", FOR THIS POWERFUL WORD HE MEANT THE HOLY SPIRIT, WHICH WAS GOING TO RECEIVE ALL WHO BELIEVED IN HIM. Likewise, it was indicated beforehand by Christ’s BREATHING ON THE DISCIPLES AFTER HIS RESURRECTION, GIVING THEM THE HOLY SPIRIT SO THAT THEY COULD FORGIVE SINS.
The MANIFESTATION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AS A STRONG WIND IS SIGNIFICANT, BECAUSE IT SHOWS THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT CONQUERS ALL THINGS, PASSES OVER THE WALLS OF THE EVIL ONE, DEMOLISHES THE CITIES AND EVERY FORTIFICATION OF THE ENEMY. At the same time, IT HUMBLES THE PROUD, LIFTS UP THE HUMBLE OF HEART, PUTS TOGETHER WHAT IS BADLY DAMAGED, BREAKS THE BONDS OF ERRORS, AND RELEASES WHAT IS CONFINED (Saint Gregory Palamas). By the power of the Holy Spirit man can become A LIVING MEMBER OF THE CHURCH AND CONQUER ALL THE POWER OF THE ENEMY, OVERCOME EVEN DEATH ITSELF.
All the graces and Gifts which are given to the members of the Church ARE GIFTS OF THE Holy Spirit. Prophetic vision, the Apostolic life, and the Martyr’s end are Gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit. This means that the vision of the Prophets is not a fabrication of the mind and imagination, the Aposlolic faith is not anthropocentric mission, the Martyrdom of the Saints is not the activation of a strong will, FOR ALL ARE GIFTS GRANTED BY THE All-Holy Spirit.
Among the Gifts with which the one who receives the Gift of the Holy Spirit is endowed is the SAINTLY LIFE, when the person struggles to keep God’s Commandments to the highest degree and to live in purity of soul and body, the married life in Christ within the social customs, the pastoral diaconate in Christ with its many cares, etc – in other words, ALL THE GIFTS OF GRACE THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT GRANTS. THUS THE HOLY SPIRIT "WHOLLY MAKES UP THE INSTITUTION OF THE CHURCH", WHICH IS THE BODY OF CHRIST.
"…Saint Nicodemos the Hagiorite says, "We must disregard all things of the world, and when our NOUS returns to the heart, as in a temple, we can pray without ceasing in accordance witih the words of the holy Apostle Paul "PRAY CONTINUALLY" (1 Thessalonians 5:17). In other words, we must rise high above WHAT IS EARTHLY, ABOVE ALL SENSUALITY, LOVE OF MONEY AND LOVE OF GLORY AND EVERY OTHER PASSION, AND BE IN THE Upper Room all the time, in the PURE NOUS. Then the heart will be rid of passion and the soul will be at peace from blasphemous, evil and disgraceful thoughts". Saint Basil the Great says that it is impossible for us to become capable OF RECEIVING DIVINE GRACE UNLESS WE PUT ALL THE EVIL PASSIONS OUT OF OUR SOUL. What was there before must be poured out in order to be able to contain what is brought in.
Saint Diadochos of Photike teaches taht by HolyBaptism WE RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT IN OUR HEART AND BECOME A MEMBER OF THE Body of Christ. However, we cover this grace with passions, but it is not lost completely, but IS COVERED BY THEM. We must, on the one hand, throw out the ashes ofthe passions, and in the other hand throw on as wood the doing of the Commandments. But in order for the wood TO BE IGNITED BY THE SPARKS OF DIVINE GRACE WE MUST BLOW STRONGLY WITH THE PRAYER: "LORD JESUS CHRIST, SON AND LOGOS/WORD OF GOD, HAVE MERCY ON ME", while our nous returns to the heart. This prayer is called "NOETIC AND HOLY PRAYER."
The holy Apostle Paul is clear when he says, "THOSE WHO ARE LED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD ARE SONS OF GOD" (Romans 8:14). NOT ALL PEOPLE WHO WERE CREATED BY GOD ARE CHILDREN OF GOD, BUT ONLY THOSE WHO ARE LED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT. Sonship is connected with inner noetic prayer" And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father’ (Romans 8:15). The Spirit of God which will be present in the heart of man "testifies with our spirit that WE ARE GOD’S CHILDREN" (Romans 8:16). He is himself the son of God who has the Holy Spirit WITHIN HIM, WHICH TESTIFIES WITH OUT SPIRIT AND CONFIRMS THAT THE MAN IS A CHILD OF GOD. However, THE PRESENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IS CONFIRMED BY THE INNER PRAYER OF THE HEART WHICH COMES WITH A CRY.
If one DOES NOT HAVE the Spirit of God in him, HE DOES NOT BELONG TO CHRIST, which means that HE IS NOT A LIVING MEMBER OF THE Body of Christ. Even if he has been baptized at some time, THE GRACE OF BAPTISM REMAINS INACTIVE, AND THIS MAN IS A DEAD MEMBER OF THE CHURCH. This is said by the holy Apostle Paul in an important and revealing passage: "AND IF ANYONE DOES NOT HAVE THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST, HE DOES NOT BELONG TO CHRIST" (Romans 8:9). No one belongs to Christ if he does not have the Holy Spirit, with the preconditions which we have seen before. By contrast, IF ANYONE HAS IN HIM THE HOLY SPIRIT, HE IS REALLY A MEMBER OF THE BODY OF CHRIST, SINCE HE IS NOT "CONTROLLED BY THE SINFUL NATURE BUT BY THE Spirit" (Roman 8-9).
We should feel a great honor and blessing, for we belong to the Orthodox Church and have the possibility of sharing the Holy Spirit and becoming earthly worshippers of the Holy Trinity. Provided, of course, THAT WE LIVE UP TO THIS GREAT BLESSING. (Source: The Feasts of the Lord, by Metropolitan of Nafpaktos HIEROTHEOS)
"Glory Be To GOD