IN THE HOLY SPIRIT, THE LORD, THE GIVER OF LIFE, WHO PROCEEDS FROM THE
FATHER; WHO TOGETHER WITH THE FATHER AND THE SON IS WORSHlPPED AND
GLORIFIED; WHO SPOKE THROUGH THE PROPHETS.
When a wayfarer in the night sees a torch in the distance, he rejoices. And he directs his steps toward the torch, without questioning what sort of fire it is that is burning in the distance. The closer he comes, the more he begins to question.
The Christian faith has brought men close to the eternal light of the Godhead. This is why Christians question this mysterious and fascinating light so much - because they have drawn very near to it. Those who are further away from this light question it less.
The Semites are amazed at the Japhetites, wondering how they can believe in three gods. Who believes in three gods? Is it really possible that the Christians, who cleansed so many continents and islands of polytheism, believe in three gods?
Tell them that you do not believe in three gods but in one-the Only, Living, and True God; but that your Messiah has brought you so close to the eternal light, that you see and distinguish three flames. Three eternal flames-one Fire. Three majesties-one King. Three miracles-one Mystery. Three persons-one Being. Three hypostases-one God. The great name: The Holy Trinity-the Holy Three in One. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit-forever and ever one God.
At the foot of this life-giving mystery the seraphim and cherubim cover their holy faces, in holy fear, in divine awe, in an everlasting intoxication from ineffable sweetness. And the innumerable hosts of angels, in choir formations, chant hymns with gentle trembling as they exalt the majesties of the One God, the Living God:
"Holy, Holy, Holy Lord of Sabaoth!"
Even the great sun in the firmament represents a trinity in unity: a mass of fire, light, and warmth-all three of these elements, undivided from one another, make up one sun. Every atom on earth also represents a triunity. Even the soul of man-the image of the triune God-consists of three basic indivisible powers: emotion, intellect, and will. Yet these three do not divide the soul into three souls. The soul is one and remains one; its powers are three and remain three in unity.
But the world did not come to know about God as the Holy Trinity through these illustrations, shadows, and symbols of nature. it arrived at this knowledge by heavenly revelation. The Lord Jesus Christ proclaimed this. From Him the human race came to know about the fatherhood of the Father, the sonship of the Son, and the procession of the Holy Spirit. He led us, wayfarers in the night, closer to the eternal divine light, and we began to see and distinguish three in one: three miracles in one mystery, three hypostases in one Godhead.
From Christ we also received our belief in God's Holy Spirit, the Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father. There are many evil and deceitful spirits of darkness, divided and feeble, but there is only one Holy Spirit. People and peoples, who used to believe in many gods, were actually believing in these evil and deceitful spirits. Only true monotheists, who believe in one God, can believe in the One Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is called the Giver of Life because He bestows life, restores life, brings to life, and resurrects. When God created the world, "the Spirit of God was moving over the waters" (Gen. 1:2). When God created man, He created him "from dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the spirit of life, and man became a living soul" (Gen. 2:7). The apostle of Christ writes to the Christians: "The Spirit of God dwells in you" (Rom. 8:9). But in order not to confuse the spirit of man with the Spirit of God, the apostle points out the difference when he says: "This Spirit (of God) testifies to our spirit that we are children of God" (Rom. 8:16). And this is your joy, Spirit-bearers. What good would man's testimony that you are children of God be, if God's Holy Spirit did not Himself attest to this? And the Spirit of God is given to anyone who asks God for Him.
One must be seeking, and must purify the house of his soul in order to receive this most dear guest. Thus says our Lord, the Conqueror of death: "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?" (Luke 11:13). This is the greatest gift that God gives to men. For when He gives the Holy Spirit, He is actually giving Himself. Is there any gift greater than this? Is there any love greater than this?
How has the Holy Spirit manifested Himself to the faithful? Let us first say, as fervor in the heart. This would occur during fervent prayer, sometimes as fervent warmth in the whole person. The prophet Jeremiah bears witness to this clearly and truly. For he testifies from his own experience. Jeremiah suffered many mockeries and trials-and his torment eventually reached his throat: "There is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot." (Jer. 20:9). So irresistible is the Holy Spirit of God in a pure heart, into which He has entered.
Moreover, the Holy Spirit has manifested Himself as a voice. The holy prophets and apostles bear witness often to this mystical yet clear voice of God. You hear it, but do not see who is speaking.
Moreover, the Spirit of God has manifested Himself in the form of a dove. This happened during the baptism of the Lord Christ in the River Jordan. "And John bore witness, saying: 'I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it remained on Him."' (John 1:32). The purity of the dove is an illustration of the purity of the Holy Spirit. Blessed are the pure souls, for they will be deemed worthy of visitation by the Holy Spint.
But the most tempestuous manifestation of the Holy Spirit in human history occurred in the form of the fiery tongues on the fiftieth day after the resurrection of Christ. "When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them utterance." (Acts 2:1-4). Thus did the consecration and baptism of the first Church of Christ on earth take place-by the fire of the Holy Spirit.
Thus was the Savior's promise to the apostles fulfilled. It was fulfilled in such power and in such a manner as none of the apostles could ever have imagined. Truly, the works of God surpass all human understanding.
The Lord promised: "And I shall pray to the Father, and He will give you another Counselor, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; you know Him, for He dwells with you, and will be in you." (John 14:16-17). The first Comforter, the Lord Jesus, was more than ample comfort for the faithful. But the love of God knows no bounds. Through this boundless love even a second Comforter was sent.
Moreover, the Lord Jesus also bore witness concerning the Holy Spirit, when He said: "The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you" (John 14:26). And again: "But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness of Me" (John 15:26). And again: "And when the Spirit of truth comes, He will lead you into all truth . . . He will gorify Me" (John 16:13-14). And this promise was fulfilled, like every other promise of your Messiah, O Christ-bearers.
The Holy Spirit was promised - thus men came to know of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit manifested Himself - thus men believed in the existence of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit abides among the faithful-thus men have come to love God the Holy Spirit.
How is light begotten of the sun and how does warmth proceed from the sun-is this really known to you? How is a thought begotten of the heart and how does power proceed from the heart-have you really comprehended this? How then could you understand the eternal mystery of the unbegotten Father? How could you understand the begetting of the Son and the procession of the Holy Spirit? The sons of men were never able to grasp any truth about the Most High God, unless it was revealed to them by the Most High-neither more nor less-only to the extent that He revealed it to them.
It was revealed to us, that the Holy Spirit is not a creation of God but God. He is the Lord, the Giver of Life, whose presence creates life, gives strength, instills wisdom, produces joy. From the eternal Father He eternally proceeds. He is of the same essence as the Father, of the same essence as the Son-of the same essence of the same power, of the same glory. He differs only in respect to person. A special hypostasis distinguishes Him from the Father and the Son. But to Him also is due the same worship and the same glorification. The holy prophets spoke through Him. Into simple fishermen He poured the wisdom of heaven. To feeble men and women-martyred for Christ-He gives invincible strength, stronger than death.
The Holy Spirit, the Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father, is true God of true God. He has revealed Himself - and has been active. He continues to reveal Himself and continues to be active. Those to whom He reveals Himself and in whom he is active know Him. They do not know Him in essence; they know Him through His revelation and activity.
Belief in the Holy Spirit of God is not based on supposition, on mental hypothesis, but on revealed, experienced, and witnessed reality. Whoever wishes to become a living witness of this reality, must make an effort to cleanse his heart of sin and cense it with prayer, before any probing of the heavenly mysteries. And the Holy Spirit will reveal Himself to him, the Spirit of truth and life, the Spirit of wisdom and joy, the Spirit of freedom and adoption. And this Holy Spirit will bear witness to his spirit, concerning the truthfulness of all Christ's revelation about God, about the soul, about the way of salvation, about the eternal kingdom of God. He will bear witness to it all, just as He did to the spirit of the apostles and the holy fathers who composed the Creed.
Through the Lord Jesus, the Son of God, knowledge of God as the Holy Trinity came to mankind. He did not offer this knowledge to us in the form of philosophical teaching, but in the form of manifestation and action on the part of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. These manifestations and actions of the living God through His three hypostases are reality. Reality is the manifestation of the Father by the voice at the River Jordan and on Mount Tabor. Reality is the miraculous, manifested person of the incarnate Son of God, as well as His work, suffering, and resurrection. Reality is also the manifestation and activity of the Holy Spirit in the apostles, in the saints, in the righteous and in the entire Church of God from the beginning up to the present day. Always and forever: one God, one eternal King, one power, one glory, one love, one light, one joy, one essence-one God.
This is the faith of the clairvoyant, who direct their gaze toward the fire in the distance. This is not the faith of the blinded or the blind, who barely see even what the sun reveals to them. For the clairvoyant this physical light is darkness, through which they walk like wayfarers in the night, fixing their eyes on the light in the distance. They journey without turning their gaze from that great light. So great is that light that to them all this world seems to be shrouded with darkness. And even though the great light is distant, it illuminates their path in the night and warms their heart with wondrous warmth and joy. And they rejoice like children-like the children of this great light. And they hasten toward it like exiles to their homeland. Boldly they press ever onward and forward, and do not turn back. And in their joy they call their straying and lagging brothers, encouraging them, comforting them, and helping them on the way. With a hymn of victory they hasten ever onward and forward: "Over there, brothers, there is our Father and Savior and Comforter. Shine upon us, warm us, summon us!"
This is your faith, O Christ-bearers, the faith of your clairvoyant forefathers. Let it also be the faith of your children from generation to generation, all the way to the end of the journey. This is the faith tested in fair weather and foul, the salvation-bearing Orthodox faith, which has never been put to shame. Truly, this is the faith of the truly chosen people, of those who bear the image of God in themselves. On the Fearful Judgment Day of Christ they shall be called blessed.
The Spirit - The Comforter - worship.