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"REFERENCES TO THE HOLY SPIRIT, or the Spirit of God, are more common in the last two decades than they were for several centuries. Groups as sharply diverse as the Charismatic Movement and the enthusiasts of the so-called New Age, as well as many others who use the name of the Holy Spirit, will attribute all kinds of effects to this Divine Person. Traditional theologians and feminist writers will evoke the Holy Spirit, attributing gender to a pure Spirit who is neither Father nor Son, thus involving this most mysterious Person in controversies unthought of at the time of the writing of Sacred Scripture. Christians as different as cloistered nuns and Quakers rely heavily on this mysterious influence to direct their prayers and even their lives.

"It is startling that with all this interest and activity the scriptural and traditional teaching of the Church on the Holy Spirit is almost unknown. One might ask why the Church has any special claim to tell the world about the Holy Spirit. The fact is that, drawing from the Holy Scriptures and especially from the words of Christ in the Gospels, the bishops of the early Catholic Church gave us the knowledge of the Holy Spirit beginning with the post-apostolic times and coming to a great conclusion at the First Council of Constantinople in 381. Then the Holy Spirit was declared to be a Person and not merely an aspect of divine activity as might appear in the Old Testament. The Holy Spirit is distinct from the Father and the Son. In defining the Holy Spirit as a Person, which means an ultimate subject of predication (e.g., the Holy Spirit does this or that), the bishops of the ancient Church proclaimed the dogma of the Holy Trinity and with it taught that the Holy Spirit can be invoked and responds and has a unique role in the salvation of the world.

'Since Constantinople I, a rich teaching, both theological and spiritual, both speculative and practical, has developed around the Third Person of the Trinity. But, as I said, very few believers are actually aware of this teaching. My confrere and dear friend, Fr. Andrew Apostoli, has filled this need by writing a readable and down-to-earth book on the Holy Spirit. This book, like all Fr. Andrew's works, is meant for the informed and devout reader. It is both simple and profound, serious and humorous at the same time.

"When we began our reform movement, the Franciscans of the Renewal, in 1987, the eight original friars agreed that we had only two apostolates -- care of the very poor and evangelical preaching. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, is an essential part of that endeavor. Those familiar with Fr. Andrew's approach and charming humor will hear him as they read these pages. Those who are not familiar with his style and presentations, as well as his deep faith, will admire all of these qualities for the first time. All will find a Spirit-filled fervor, the essential human ingredient for Christian reform.

"We are all encouraged in the contemporary Church to pray to the Holy Spirit and to ponder the influence of the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity in our lives with grateful praise. We are encouraged to rely upon the Holy Spirit in times of need and special stress. We are even told that by the gifts of the Holy Spirit we may go beyond our ordinary strength and even beyond the practice of the virtues given us by divine grace. The Holy Spirit can make the timid brave and the foolish wise. He can cause sinners to repent and move the lukewarm to fervor! Thus the Holy Spirit is an important part of the life of every devout Christian. I can't think of any other recent book of this size and popularity that can inform and encourage the believing reader in the practice of Christian life with the help of the Holy Spirit. One hopes that this book will begin a series of books by Fr. Andrew which will make his deep and genuine piety and ability known to a wider audience." - from the Preface by Benedict Groeschel, CFR.



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