Condensed from the Holy Spirit, Lord & Giver of Life prepared by the Theological Historical Commission for the Great Jubilee
we can say that the Great Jubilee becomes a unique occasion to rediscover the mystery of the Church, emphasizing in the light of the Spirit its evangelizing vocation in announcing the Gospel to the world. In this, the role of the Holy Spirit in the building of the Church becomes evident. "Because the Spirit is communion with the Father and with the Son, they have wished for us to have communion among ourselves and with them in the Holy Spirit, who is God and the gift of God. It is in him that the people of God are joined in unity ... The Church is the very work of the Holy Spirit and outside of him there is no remission of sins" (St. Augustine, Sermons, LXXI). Rediscovering the role of the Holy Spirit means involving every believer in the new Pentecost that the Jubilee can represent, above all in rediscovering the true role of the Church, sacrament of Christs presence in history.
The principal work of the Spirit, who is the Spirit of "communion," consists in rendering the Church ever more a sign of Gods Trinitarian love. The Spirit makes every member of the Church a being-in-relationship, whose identity is expressed in the logic of communion and solidarity. If believers want to be genuine, they can only become Church and live communion as a style of evangelization, experiencing the unity whose source is the Spirit. "To believe in Christ means to desire unity; to desire unity means to desire the Church; to desire the Church means to desire the communion of grace which corresponds to the Fathers plan for all eternity" (UUS, 9).
Thus, the mission of the Church in todays reality is to be the sign and ferment of universality. This mission must be accomplished, above all, in an atmosphere of contemporary religious pluralism, which subverts and seems to unhook religious experience from any historical mediation, in an atmosphere marked by the relativizing of doctrinal formulations. It will be opportune to rediscover the roots of Catholic identity in the awareness that the Gospel is for every person, just as the Church is for all in the strength of the Spiritthe link of unity between God and the world. The Church, because it is communion and unity in diversity, is the universal sign of salvation, a messianic people in dialogue between Christianity and society and between Christianity and religions.
In second place is the incessant commitment to Christian unity in the one truth of Jesus Christ. The pope affirms: "At the dawn of the new millennium, how can we not implore from the Lord, with renewed enthusiasm and a deeper awareness, the grace to prepare ourselves, together, to offer this sacrifice of unity?" (UUS, 102). He also recommends this in Tertio Millennio Adveniente: "The reflection of the faithful in the second year of preparation ought to focus particularly on the value of unity within the Church, to which the various gifts and charisms bestowed upon her by the Spirit are directed. In this regard, it will be opportune to promote a deeper understanding of the ecclesiological doctrine of the Second Vatican Council as contained primarily in the dogmatic constitution, Lumen Gentium. This important document has expressly emphasized that the unity of the body of Christ is founded on the activity of the Holy Spirit, guaranteed by the apostolic ministry and sustained by mutual love (see 1 Cor. 13:1-8). This Catechetical enrichment of the faith cannot fail to bring the members of the people of God to a more mature awareness of their own responsibilities, as well as to a more lively sense of the importance of ecclesial obedience" (TMA, 47). The Great jubilee, therefore, must constitute an important moment for the full recovery of the Christian vocation of universality and unity in multiplicity, in which the Church is the prophetic sign of truth within love (see Eph. 4:15) and of reconciliation in the world.
a beautiful text of St. Augustine is very suggestive (Discourse on the Gospel of John, 32:7-8). It says that having the Spirit means to be in the Church, and being in the Church means to be universal, truly "catholic" in name and in fact: "The Church itself speaks the languages of all peoples. First the Church was enclosed in one population, where it spoke the languages of all. Speaking the languages of all was a sign that in the future, growing among the people, it would speak the languages of everybody.
"Those who are not in this Church do not now receive the Holy Spirit. Those who are separated and detached from the unity of the membersthe unity of which speaks the languages of all become aware that they do not have him [the Spirit]. If they have him, they give the sign he gave them: they speak the languages of everybody. And (you will object to me) you perhaps speak every language? Certainly, because every language is mine, that is, in the body of which I am a member. Spread among the people, the Church speaks every language. The Church is the body of Christ. In this body you are a member. Being a member of that body that speaks every language, you also, be assured, speak all languages. The unity of the members coincides in charity, and this unity speaks as one man spoke then. We too receive the Holy Spirit if we love the Church, if we are melded into charity, if we take joy in the name Catholic and in the Catholic faith.
"Brothers and sisters, we believe that to the extent that we love the Church, to that extent we have the Holy Spirit.... Therefore, we have the Holy Spirit if we love the Church. We love it if we persevere in its body and in its charity".
Condensed from The Holy Spirit, Lord & Giver of Life prepared by the Theological-Historical Commission for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000. © 1997 The Crossroad Publishing ISBN 0-8245-1704-0, an accessible study aid for adult catechesis and religious education offering a general overview of the mystery of the Holy Spirit. Available at Pauline Books & Media, 46 Kearny Street, San Francisco. Credit Card sales welcome by calling 415/781-5180.
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