The teaching of Bl. John Paul II on the Holy Spirit
A prominent Polish theologian, Fr. Zdzislaw Kijas OFM Conv. spoke in Rome about the Holy Spirit, sanctifying man and transforming the face of the earth. In the hall of John Paul II at the Polish church of St. Stanislaus in Rome on Sunday 4th March, the third meeting of the "Power and Beauty of Faith" series was held, based on the John Paul II's catechesis on the Creed. The series is being organized by John Paul II Pontificate’s Center for Documentation and Research (John Paul II Foundation) and Pastoral Staff of St. Stanislaus Church in Rome.
The speaker recalled that Bl. John Paul II gave catechesis on the Holy Spirit in 1989-1991. It was a time of political and social change in Europe and the world. The Holy Father was sensitive to the spiritual sense of history. Perhaps that was why he was particularly interested in the activity of the Holy Spirit in the Church and in man. The Holy Spirit breaks the human schemes of thinking and predicting in order to put them in God's plan of salvation. Reliance on the action of the Spirit means to see life through the eyes of faith and not to lose hope, despite unfavorable circumstances. Catechesis on the Holy Spirit – which was emphasized by Fr Kijas – is enclosed in the brackets of two teachings on Faith and on Hope.
The lecturer explained that the mission of the Holy Spirit is not "settling debts" with the sinful world, which condemned Christ to death, but to give witness to the truth of redemption. We are enabled to bear witness to that truth by the sacrament of confirmation. The life of John Paul II was the testimony of the fact that Christ is the Redeemer of man. Having mentioned the topic of the beautiful gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit, Fr Kijas discussed the Spirit’s actions in the human soul while in prayer. It is also obvious when the Pope spoke about prayer, that he was sharing his own experience of the spiritual life.
Some questions asked after the lecture concerned the Catholic-Orthodox dialogue and charisms. The speaker emphasized that the differences with the Orthodox Church do not involve any important points of theology of the Holy Spirit, and that they should be attributed to historical misunderstandings. Church authorities also benefit from the assistance of the Holy Spirit and for this reason, charisms cannot be in opposition to the hierarchy of the Church.
An interesting discussion ensued about the Holy Spirit and the theological virtues. Taking part in the discussion were people who are involved in matters related to processes of beatification. The realization was that the Holy Spirit cannot be made to fit into our patterns of holiness.
The next meeting will be devoted to the topic of "I believe in the Church." It will be held on Sunday 15th April. The lecture will be given by Fr Prof. Łukasz Kamykowski from the Pontifical University of John Paul II in Krakow. Organizers: the Centre for Research and Documentation of the Pontificate (John Paul II Foundation) and Pastoral Staff of St. Stanislaus Church in Rome, cordially invite you to participate.
Rev. Andrzej Dobrzyński, Rome