Mary, Spouse of the Holy Spirit

In 2020, the Solemnity of Pentecost lands on May 31st, the day we celebrate the Feast of the Visitation. This draws our attention to the interesting parallel of these two celebrations.

After all, we call Mary the Spouse of the Holy Spirit[1]. Mary was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit already at the Incarnation[2] and she followed His promptings to bring Christ to others just as quickly[3] as Peter would do on Pentecost[4]. Just as Mary’s greeting cleansed John in his mother’s womb and brought the Holy Spirit on Elizabeth herself[5], Peter’s words brought many to desire baptism and the gift of the Holy Spirit[6].

The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity. As God, He has been acting to fulfil His designs since the beginning of time. We can find references to the Holy Spirit starting from the first pages of scripture: in creation[7], speaking through the prophets[8], revealing Christ to the world[9], and leading the early Church[10]. At this time in history, the Holy Spirit’s mission is to guide and sanctify us to build up the Kingdom[11].

The disciples had to learn from Jesus about the Holy Spirit and the role He would play in their lives. At the Last Supper He told them, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.[12]

So, Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will always be here for us who obey His commandments. The first proof of this is in His Mother. Mary, in her purity, always listened to the Holy Spirit and followed His inspirations without hesitation. Therefore, we must take her as our example for being attentive to the Holy Spirit’s inspirations, for discerning the spirits and for readiness in carrying out what we have heard.

First, in order to be attentive to the motions of the Holy Spirit like Mary, we must be pure. This means we have to get rid of everything in our lives that keep us away from God. It will be impossible for us to hear Him speak to us if we are distracted with many other things[13] because He speaks in peace and quiet[14].

Second, we must discern the spirits, in other words be able to tell when we hear the Holy Spirit as opposed to our human thoughts or even the motions of the evil spirit. To do this we must be prudent just like Mary was. After all, she “considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be[15]” because God’s Spirit always leads us to greater things, better than comfort or self-glorification.

Third, we must be ready to do whatever it is He tells us to do[16]! Even though the Spirit might pry us out of our comfort zone sometimes, the fruits of living in docility to the Holy Spirit is well worth the effort. Not only that, the Holy Spirit Himself will be our helper by giving us His gifts[17].

So, let us ask this wonderful Mother of ours, the Blessed Virgin Mary, to help us every day to imitate her relationship with the Holy Spirit and live the fruits of the Spirit which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control[18].

In Jesus, Mary and Joseph,

Sr. Mary of the Holy Family

[1] Cf. Litany to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

[2] Cf. Luke 1:35

[3] Cf. Luke 1:39

[4] Cf. Acts 2:4, 14ff

[5] Cf. Luke 1:41

[6] Cf. Acts 2:37-38

[7] Cf. Genesis 1:2

[8] Ex: Cf. Nehemiah 9:29-31

[9] Ex: Cf. Matthew 3:16-17

[10] Ex: Cf. Acts 16:6

[11] Cf. 1 Corinthians 12

[12] John 14:15-17

[13] Cf. Luke 10:41

[14] CF. 1 Kings 19:11-13

[15] Luke 1:29

[16] Cf. John 2:5

[17] The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit are Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety and Fear of the Lord.

[18] Cf. Galatians 5:22

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