The Holy Spirit in the World

Resources »Eapr »East Asian Pastoral Review 2009 »Volume 46 2009 Number 1 »The Holy Spirit In The World

By Felipe Gómez, SJ

Felipe Gómez, SJ holds a STD in Systematic Theology from the Gregorian University, Rome. From 1971-1975 he taught theology in Dalat, Vietnam. He has been engaged in theological translations into Vietnamese in Paris from 1989-1996. He is currently a faculty member at the East Asian Pastoral Institute, Manila. He has published widely in Vietnamese. The Good Shepherd is his recent English publication.

During the last several decades, the Holy Spirit has been increasingly present both in the life of the Church and in the thought of theologians. However, attention has been focused mostly on ecclesial activities or on spiritual and properly theological themes. Here we would like to call attention to the presence of the Spirit of God in nature and "worldly" realities, as a means to understand better their "mystery" or inner dimension and to "find God in all things," which is one of the goals of prayer and contemplation.

The world offers the widest horizon for the wind—the Spirit—to blow. The Spirit is "borderless," not only going beyond all fixed edges, but having a tendency to show up where nobody expects. In principle we can anticipate that wherever the Word of God creates something, the Spirit will be giving the finishing touches. The Spirit, therefore, fills up space and time and blows all up into expansion. Let us consider some aspects of this presence.

The Holy Spirit in the Work of Creation

Theology conceives of creation as the act of God, that is, of the whole Trinity.1 And yet, tradition has attributed specific operations to the individual Persons,2 like calling the Father Creator, the Son Redeemer, and the Spirit Sanctifier. In the Creed, we profess: "I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth." The Father creates through his Word, but Word and Breath go together. The New Testament bears witness to a substantial role of the Son in creation, who is the only Person of the Trinity who became a creature. The fourth Gospel begins by affirming that the Word, who became flesh (Jn 1:14), was he without whom nothing was made (Jn 1:1-5). Col 1:16-17 states: "For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." Jesus Christ was sent precisely to be head of the cosmos and therefore without him the universe does not make full sense. The Father "made him heir of all things and through him he created the universe" (Heb 1:2), "and put all things beneath his feet and gave him as head over all things" (Eph 1:22). These texts are the sources of cosmic Christology.

The role of the Holy Spirit, like his personality, is more indistinct and diffused like the wind, but omnipresent. The enigmatic text of Genesis 1:2 speaks of the Spirit of God (or mighty wind?) sweeping over the waters. Tradition has interpreted the text as indicating a positive influence of the Spirit in the very act of creation. The Spirit is the divine agent transforming chaos into cosmos.3 The Psalms have also added light: "By the Lord’s word the heavens were made; by the breath of his mouth all their host" (Ps 33:6; see Judith 16:14). This text indicates the synergy of the Word and the Spirit—the two hands of God, as Irenaeus said.4 It is important to understand that creation is not something that God made once, long ago, "in the beginning," and God then went back to rest in eternity. Creation is God’s eternal action and therefore the Word and the Spirit are creating the very being of all things now. Whatever is is-being-created. Christian theology calls this divine work creatio continua, continuous creation. It means, first, that creation is continually sustained through God’s Word and the Holy Spirit, for were the Trinity to withdraw the divine creative act, everything would cease to exist. Second, it means that creation is not a once-and-for-all act. The universe comes more and more into being over time. Just as the phrase creatio ex nihilo, creation out of nothing, expresses God’s transcendence or total otherness from creation, so creatio continua expresses God’s immanence or intimate presence within creation. It means that the divine Persons continually call forth, dwell in, and provide for creation to exist, evolve, and reach perfection. As Jesus said: "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working" (Jn 5:17).

Science has not only discovered many secrets of the universe. It has also developed a scientific method which can help theology in the never-ending quest for understanding the mystery of God. The old rationalism and scientism are dead; science is now more humble and recognizes a "space" where religion can reasonably exist. Old materialistic determinism is passé, and the fact of evolution can be interpreted in various ways, giving serious probability to the "Big Bang" and "intelligent design" theories, where theology can situate the role of the Holy Spirit.5 Sure, creation appears as God’s kenosis. God created an evolving world so perfect that it seems to be self-sufficient; thus, God does not seem to be necessary. Like in the other theophanies, however, the "cloud" both reveals and hides God. Faith sees God’s "fingerprints," but science perceives only the "stuff" of the universe and its properties. Being Love, the Father took the risk of creating free human beings, hiding his presence so that they might be truly free and responsible for the rest of creation. The Spirit, who is God’s most kenotic face, will always underpin the actions of creatures, even when they deny God. Wherever something happens, the Spirit is breathing.

To the eyes of faith, the role of the Spirit appears more conspicuous in the creation of life. As Psalm 104:29-30 states: "When you hide your face, they are lost; when you take away their breath, they perish and return to the dust from which they came; when you send forth your breath, they are created; and you renew the face of the earth." This reached its climax when "the Lord God formed man out of the clay of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being" (Gen 2:7) and God still continues doing so with all. As Elihu, Job’s friend says: "For the spirit of God has made me, the breath of the Almighty keeps me alive" (Job 33:4). Theology might have here a light that anthropology cannot see. When did a hominid become a full human person? The then professor Joseph Ratzinger maintained that only when a "man" entered into dialogue with God did he reach maturity as "human person." He wrote: "Here the Rubicon of humanization was crossed. Because man is not constituted by the use of weapons or of fire, neither by the use of new ways of cruelty or utilitarianism, but by his ability to be in immediate relationship with God. This is the point taught by the doctrine of the special creation of man [in Gen 1-2]. Above all, here is the center of our faith in creation."6 The Spirit, the Breath, is, therefore, the transcendent life-principle of all living beings, the agent bringing a creature to perfection as a full human person, and the source of renewal of all creation. "When you send forth your spirit they are created, and you renew the face of the earth" (Ps 104:30). Thus, tradition attributed to the Spirit the work of creation at all levels. "The gifts of the Holy Spirit are numerous. Not to mention the creation of the world, the propagation and government of all created beings … we have just shown that the giving of life is particularly attributed to the Holy Spirit, and this is further confirmed by the testimony of Ezekiel: I will give you spirit and you shall live."7

Wisdom literature meditated on this Old Testament conviction and transmitted it to the New Testament. Wisdom, Word, and Spirit are linked together in creating, sustaining and recreating. God’s life-giving "immortal spirit is in all things" (Wis 12:1; cf. Ps 139:7-10), since it is in the Spirit that God is omnipresent. St. Paul found some traces of this belief among the Gentiles and so he could tell the Athenians that "in him we live and move and are" (Acts 17:28). In the new dispensation, he perceived the unity of the "two hands," Word and Spirit, and said: "the Lord is the Spirit" (2 Cor 3:17), a Spirit who is "giver of life" (Jn 6:63), since he gives new life to all who believe in Christ Jesus (Rom 5:5; 8:2; 9-11; 1 Cor 15:44-45). Here what we call "natural" and "supernatural" are mixed up, because the "eye of faith" transcends our narrow vision, perceiving the hidden dimension of reality.

Summarizing this doctrine, Pope John Paul II said, "The Catechism of the Catholic Church recalls with the whole of Tradition: ‘The Word of God and his Breath are at the origin of the being and life of every creature’ (n. 703). And a meaningful text of the Byzantine liturgy says, ‘It belongs to the Holy Spirit to rule, sanctify and animate creation, for he is God consubstantial with the Father and the Son. … Power over life pertains to the Spirit for, being God, he preserves creation in the Father through the Son.’"8

So the Church invokes the Creator Spirit—Veni, Creator Spiritus—"Come and fill with divine grace the hearts you have created." Hearts filled with the Spirit, contemplating the Spirit’s work in creation, will get new insights on this world of ours, so much in need of understanding, therapy, and love. As C. H. Pinnock has said, "The Spirit is the serendipitous power of creativity which flings out the world in an ecstasy of love and stimulates within it an echo of divine relationality."9 It is the Spirit who links and relates our hearts and the rest of the cosmos into a family of common concern. Christians have to retrieve a tradition of greater sensitivity in this area, which the "industrial and technological revolutions" have impaired. In many cultures, particularly in Asia, spirituality and nature seem to thrive together nicely.10

The Holy Spirit in Nature

In view of the above, we can speak of a sacramental universe. If the world is created through the breath of the Spirit, then the universe is basically sacramental. The concept of sacramentality is analogical: applied first to Jesus, the sacrament of the Father and fundamental sacrament; secondly to the seven sacraments; and then to many other realities, like the Church, the Word of God, the cosmos, etc. Creation, through the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit, is, therefore, a sacrament of the living God. This is a basic argument for environmental theology. Everything has the possibility of becoming a revelation of the very character of God, as St. Paul taught in Romans 1:19-20. To the eyes of faith the world is transparent, as the Psalms so sing: "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge" (Ps 19:1-2). As the Spirit inspires Holy Scripture, so, in an analogous way, he "inspires" all creatures that they may be able to reveal the "fingerprints" of their Creator.

The Spirit of Truth is in all things, making sure that they are what they were created to be. This is the transcendental possibility of science, that things are true and that they do not lie about themselves. The same Spirit is in human mental activity, animating the "light of reason" and enabling it to capture the truth of things. The idea can coincide with reality or truth because they both come from the same Creator Spirit who is Truth. Theology and science belong together, according to the fundamental adage, "any truth, never mind who says it, comes from the Holy Spirit."11 The divorce between faith and science is a tragic misunderstanding, and the murder of objective truth in vast realms of modern culture is a sin against the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit is "Lord and Giver of life." It is in living realities that he should be more easily recognized. God is described in Genesis as breathing life into a figure of clay and transforming it into man; but, in fact, it was the New Adam, Christ, who first received the Spirit and became the "first born of all creatures" (Col 1:15). Christ, head of the universe (Eph 1:10, 22) and Life incarnate (see Jn 1:4; 5:26; 6:48.53; 11:25; 14:16), shares life with his fellow creatures. It is in living beings that the two hands of God, the Word and Breath, Christ and the Spirit, show best their synergy. But this life is not an outgrowth, so to say, of the evolving universe, something added to "inanimate matter" like compressed gas in a can. It is an integral dimension of creation as such. Philosophy defines God as actus purus, pure dynamism, and therefore creates a world which is intrinsically dynamic, a living cosmos. Life, of course, is not a univocal reality, but its bewildering variety has a deep common ground, from the basic forces that physics discovers in the elemental particles to the entities we call angels. The Creator Spirit breathes life into reality—call it matter, energy, spirit, or whatever—enabling it to evolve from the "Big Bang" to the "Omega Point." It is this "life" that energizes the galaxies and, in our beloved and beautiful planet, drifts the continents, quakes the crust, lights up the volcanoes, makes emerge living creatures, and multiplies and enriches their species, etc. Jürgen Moltmann writes: "It is these creative living energies which we call the divine Spirit, because it transcends all the beings it creates and even its own created energies. We call it the cosmic Spirit, because it is the life in everything that lives. Chinese call it chi, Greek eros, Hebrew ruah."12 This is the insight of Dante: "Love moves the sun and the other stars,"13because the innermost drive of all things is love and the source of all love is the Holy Spirit. If life is the achievement of evolution, that is the special act of the Spirit, who is the "achiever" in the Trinity. When any creature reaches perfection, then the Spirit is there also, giving the final touch to the creative act of the Father. Samuel Rayan writes: "The Spirit is associated with all great beginnings. He is the Initiator of fresh developments and the Leader of new movements. He is alive at every turning point in the march of life on earth. He is the Creator Spirit."14

Life is where the divine image is reflected with greater clarity. Living beings are driven by eros, that love—in whatever analogical sense it might be conceived—which drives the living to perfect itself with the possession of the beloved, thus creating new life, reproducing itself and perpetuating the species. Speaking of humankind, Pope Benedict XVI writes that "eros is somehow rooted in man’s very nature."15 In an analogous way, this is also true of any living species. The Giver of Life enkindles the creative energy which life is, enabling it to share in the creative Energy (God) which is the absolute source of all. We have to avoid the pantheistic or "New Life" conception of a living universe, with the Spirit of God as its soul. The Holy Spirit remains wholly transcendent, yet immanently energizing the tendency of life to achieve a "more" and "better" being.

The special concern of the Spirit with nature and life may shed light into the problems of ecology.16 Some have blamed the text of Gen 1:28-30, where the Creator gives man dominion over all other creatures, as the source of exploitation and devastation of nature. Not long ago, however, thinkers acclaimed that divine command as the origin of modern industry and civilization! There is something true in both views. On the one hand, man is in radical solidarity with creation, especially with living beings, with which he shares the "breath of life." On the other hand, man sinned and out of that sin emerged hybris or arrogance, which seeks despotic dominance over the world, of which the tower of Babel is a symbol. God made man steward, not master, of creation, gave him a paradise to cultivate and take care of (Gen 2:15), and put a limit to his use, i.e., two trees were forbidden. Now, modern man is conditioned to break limits and to do whatever he is able to do (especially if it is prohibited!), without ethical qualms. Hence, the predicament where all life in this planet is in.

Theology calls attention to the fact that all creatures have the same origin (the Triune God) and same destiny (to share in God’s glory). All beings have been created in solidarity with one another, so that all that exist co-exist and only thus they can subsist. Since God is co-existence and in-existence of the Three Persons in reciprocal relationships, so creation bears that divine imprint. All creatures are linked together in a sort of communion. Especially, life is communion, so that whatever lives lives from/for/with others. When something dies, all die a little.

The community of destiny is well expressed by St. Paul: "For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as children, the redemption of our body" (Rom 8:20-23). We learn from this that the quandary of creation is, at least partly, caused by our sins; that our body is the link with all creation; that there is hope for all—humans and other creatures—thanks to the Spirit in us, who has already started (the "first fruits") the process of common liberation; and therefore, we have a serious responsibility in the success or failure of that goal. Contemplating nature in this light, we shall see the Spirit "suffering" with the wounds inflicted to nature, because his perfecting work is frustrated. Saints and poets, who are better attuned to the Spirit, feel that pain, like the Jesuit poet Hopkins: "And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;/ And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil/ Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod."17 "Ecotheology," as it is called now,18 has to retrieve the relation between creation and salvation, deepen the study of the traditional idea ofcreatio continua in an evolutionary key, and show that it is absurd to believe in a God who would be indifferent to what happens to his creation. The Spirit, who leads us to the full truth, is now teaching us to read the big book of creation, where he is breathing through all its dimensions.

In this light we may perceive that matter, for example, is not just a "thing" at the bottom of the "hierarchy of being," but is pregnant with life, consciousness, and intelligence. Teilhard de Chardin could sing a "Hymn to Matter" and speak of "holy matter"19 and St. John of Damascus wrote: "Because of the Incarnation, I salute all remaining matter with reverence." The attitude towards matter reflects one’s conception of God: Manicheans hate matter; pagans worship matter; materialists are (ironically) indifferent to matter. Christians, however, give thanks and refer matter to the Creator. In fact matter is the Body of Christ, which for us appears most evidently in the Eucharist, when we offer the "fruits of the earth and work of human hands." And visionaries also guess that mystery of all things, like Dostoyevsky who has Fr. Zossima teach: "Love all God’s creation, the whole of it and every grain of sand. Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything you will perceive the divine mystery in things."20

Because of the Spirit who permeates everything, we understand that hurting nature is "grieving the Holy Spirit" and a kind of sin against him.

Finally we consider the "Sabbath Principle." The end of creation is rest. Old biblical teaching enjoins that each week a day be dedicated to thanksgiving and contemplation. Every seventh year the land must rest and be left uncultivated (Ex 23:10-11; Lev 25:1-7), debts are remitted, and slaves are liberated (Deut 15:1-6). This practice is interpreted by 2 Chronicles 36:21 as a "debt to the earth" that people contract by using its products. Nature’s fecundity therefore must be seen with a spirit of thanksgiving and its rights respected. In the context of the contemporary project of growth without limits, with no end in view beyond the process itself, the relevance of this particular principle should be evident.

Creating humans in his own image, God constituted us as the "cosmic priest," that is, the mediator between all creatures and their Creator. In us, creation reaches consciousness and responsibility. It is we, therefore, who must glorify God in all things, thanking the Creator for the gift of being and "being so good," and conscientiously guarding the treasure of being and actualizing its potentialities. The harmony of creation is a pearl that God has entrusted to us for safekeeping.

The Body

Humans are an integral part of nature, precisely through the body; in the human body, nature’s evolution reaches a peak. It is therefore natural to think that the presence of the Spirit in nature reaches here a summit, and so St. Paul tells us: "your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God" (1 Cor 6:19). The traditional heterogeneity of "matter" and "spirit" reaches also here an impasse: a Christian philosophy teaches that the human being is a single substance, so that body and soul are, in fact, the two dimensions of that single reality, a sort of synthesis of creation. From this point of view, the Creator Spirit accomplishes in the human his most intense presence in the cosmos.21

And so the body is holy. There is nothing more unchristian than the Gnostic and Manichaean hatred of the body, or the old Greek conception of soma as sema, that is, the body is the tomb of the soul, imagining salvation as liberation from the body. Again, St. Paul teaches that our hope longs for "the redemption of the body," precisely signified already in the "first fruits of the Spirit" (Rom 8:23). Christian salvation is "bodily." This is why the Apostle considers all the elements of our being as of the same dignity: "I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thess 5:23). Humans are a composite being and both sides stand or fall together. As Pope Benedict XVI writes: "Should he aspire to be pure spirit and to reject the flesh as pertaining to his animal nature alone, then spirit and body would both lose their dignity."22

It is through the body that we are baptized and anointed; through the body we are consecrated by the Spirit, who makes our members holy. It is as bodily children of the Father that we are members of the Body of Christ. Our bodily existence must be an act of worship. As St. Paul demands: "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship" (Rom 12:1). Faith makes us wonder, seeing how the Spirit transforms our daily chores into a divine liturgy. It is interesting that in the "Our Father," Jesus taught us to pray for the needs of the body—our daily bread (before those of the soul) and forgiveness of sins. It is through the body that God sanctifies us (the death of Christ, the sacraments) and we give him glory: "you were bought at a price; therefore honor God with your body" (1 Cor 6:20).

The body is sometimes seen as "enemy" of the soul, but, in fact, it is the soul—if we want to use that language—which is the sinner. The body is just the organ which the "I" uses to do good or evil. Jesus calls it the heart: "from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness" (Mk 7:21-22). But people accuse the body of all these. St. Paul had a lot of problems with himself and blamed "the misdeeds of the body" (see Rom 7:14-8:12). It is true that in the body we feel all the weight of our animality. In fact, most religions have tried to tame the body as a way to self-control. And it works, because taming "the body," we tame ourselves! So the body is imagined as a battleground of the spirits, and this is also true, since through the body God’s grace conquers Satan and the Holy Spirit glorifies the Father. We owe to ourselves a great respect for the body, treating it with care, without abuse, neither torturing nor pampering it, and discerning in the bodies of others a sparkle of the glory of God.

The body has a glorious destiny, the destiny of the whole redeemed human being. As St. Paul writes, "if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you" (Rom 8:11). This resurrection is already in process, like a planted seed sprouting in silence, thanks especially to the Eucharist, that bodily encounter with Christ, who will share his immortal life with his members (see Jn 6:54).

Man’s access to God passes through the body. Whether as crass flesh or delicate psychology, our sensitivity acts as a receiver-transmitter of the waves of the Spirit. The soul is only an embodied spirit. Seeking to meet God in prayer, the body has to pave the way, attuning itself to the Spirit, through silence, postures, breathings, etc. When spiritual masters speak of consolation or desolation, they refer to bodily reactions to the presence of God in us. As we see light through the eyes, so do we know God through the brains; not walking the way of the body means going nowhere. At the end, the Spirit only plays his divine tunes with the violin of the body; that is why it is important to keep it in good shape.

The Holy Spirit in History

As the Spirit fills the space of creation, so also does he fill up time, and still more so the "time of man," which we call history. In this domain, the Creator Spirit/Spirit of Truth is the transcendental animator of the perennial quest which is the human adventure. The innate human drive and hunger for knowledge is a gift of the Spirit. The source of all truth is the Spirit and this is still more relevant in the realm of ethics and religion, as the Book of Wisdom teaches: "whoever knew your counsel, except you had given Wisdom and sent your holy spirit from on high? And thus were the paths of those on earth made straight, and men learned what was your pleasure, and were saved by Wisdom" (Wis 9:17-18).

The history of Israel is paradigmatic for the history of all peoples; what we see there explicitly, we also believe of other peoples, in more hidden and mysterious ways. Moses laid his hands on Joshua so that he might be filled with the Spirit of wisdom to guide his people (Deut 34:9). Of the Judges it is said: "The spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel" (Judg 3:9-10; cf. 11:29; 13:25). When the monarchy was instituted, the anointing of the king heralded the irruption of the Spirit upon him, as in the case of Saul (cf. 1 Sam 10:1-8) or David (cf. 1 Sam 16:1-13). The belief that the governance of peoples is somehow a divine agency is the reason for Christian respect for civil authorities, as both Peter and Paul recommended (see 1 Pet 2:3; Rom 13:1). As Psalm 99 proclaims, Israel experienced that "The Lord reigns, he is exalted over all the peoples." Psalm 100 echoes this: "his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations." Christian faith recognizes here the Divine Providence, and more concretely, as Vatican II teaches, "God’s Spirit, Who with a marvelous providence directs the unfolding of time and renews the face of the earth" (GS26). Sure, it is always a challenge to faith to recognize the Spirit of Truth in so much confusion, falsehood, and dishonesty; to perceive the Spirit of Love in so much discord, violence and hatred; to see the Goodness of God in so much evil; to tread the strait ways of Providence in the crooked paths of history … And yet, faith sees precisely that. Pope John Paul II saw how "through the gift of the Holy Spirit, the world of men becomes aspatium verae fraternitatis, a place of true brotherhood" (cf. GS 37).23 In fact, reading the "signs of the times," Vatican II perceived that, "one particularly worthy of note is a growing, inescapable sense of solidarity between all peoples" (Apostolicam Actuositatem 14). The Holy Spirit is communion par excellence; all increase in interdependence, solidarity, and unity is his gift. Despite the negative aspects and deleterious consequences, today’s process of globalization seems to be a clear sign of the divine purpose for the human community. Our eyes are keener to perceive the evil results out of good intentions; but simple faith ought to recognize the good emerging from evil also, such as new solidarities in the aftermath of wars, new medicines resulting from scientific weapons research, new materials and instruments created by the industry of greed, etc. The deep Christian conviction is that evil will not have the final word; goodness will conquer.

The section of human history where this faith is more vivid is, of course, the Church: "The People of God believes that it is led by the Lord’s Spirit, Who fills the earth. Motivated by this faith, it labors to decipher authentic signs of God’s presence and purpose in the happenings, needs, and desires in which this People has a part along with other men of our age. For faith throws a new light on everything, manifests God’s design for man’s total vocation, and thus directs the mind to solutions which are fully human" (GS 11). Although convinced that what is Cesar’s has to be left to Cesar, the magisterium nonetheless claims to have some specific light to contribute to the common good, because if God’s plan is "that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places" (Eph 3:10), how much more so here on earth. The Orthodox Church has a similar vision: "Through the Holy Spirit God maintains the world, acts in it and, by means of the mystery of the Church, guides it towards its telos, towards its completion. Through the Holy Spirit he carries out his design of salvation and of divinization of the world. Thanks to the Holy Spirit men receive God’s Revelation and through them God can work."24 In the theology of history (the divine undercurrent of verifiable events) the Church plays a fundamental role.

The Spirit seems more noticeable under stress … Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to those persecuted for his sake: "When you are brought before synagogues, rulers, and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say" (Lk 12:11-12). This has been verified very often. The hatred of the world for Christians and Christian values reveals, like a photographic negative, the action of the Spirit in history.

History is dynamic. It is the process of human advancement, of world development. The Spirit is given to make us truly, gloriously, wisely human, which is only possible at the end of a long process. As a babe has to grow into an adult (ontogenesis), so our species has to mature (anthropogenesis). Faith detects a "programming" in such processes which is written by the Creator Spirit. The same can be said of the emergence and progression of culture; there, too, the Spirit may guide people to shape nature in ways that are consonant with the Spirit’s life-giving work. This guidance may result in the appearance of values or in the inventions of industry. Nothing truly human is possible without the Spirit of God. "Man," teaches Vatican II in Gaudium et spes, "was created in God’s image and was commanded to conquer the earth with all it contains and to rule the world in justice and holiness; he was to acknowledge God as maker of all things and relate himself and the totality of creation to him, so that through the dominion of all things by man the name of God would be majestic in all the earth" (n. 34). Here we rejoin the ecological problem. Seeing the results of human endeavors in history, theology realizes that "Human sciences have achieved an analytical and departmentalized knowledge about nature, aiming at gaining power over it. Faith, on the contrary, has to promote a synthetic and integrative knowledge about creation, aiming at understanding, maintaining, and consummating it."25 This way Christian faith can help human creativity in achieving the historical goals that the Holy Spirit is assigning to it.

The Holy Spirit and Beauty

Beauty and Truth belong together; hence, the Spirit of Truth is also the Spirit of Beauty.26 From the beginning (Gen 1:2), the Creator Spirit is presented as transforming chaos into cosmos, that pleasing harmony perceptible by our mind and senses, which we call beauty. Beauty is always the work of love. The tradition of the Church has also associated the Holy Spirit with beauty.27 Creation, imbued with the Spirit, is contemplated by Elohim (God) as good and beautiful. The Hebrew word for "good" (Gen 1:4ff) implies an agreeable perception of the "beautiful," which made the LXX translators of the Bible use the Greek word kalós, "beautiful," rather than agathós, "good"; hence, the refrain, "And God saw that it was beautiful!" Afterwards, art will consist mainly in figuring nature’s beauty in ways the artist, inspired by his creativity, will find most satisfying. Art is a sort of profession of faith in God’s beautiful handiwork. Creation reflects the face of its Maker. As Augustine put it, "You, Lord, who are beautiful, made the creatures and beautiful they are; you are good, and good they are; you are, and so they exist."28

Looking at the world with Christian eyes, we can surmise that the fuller something is of the Spirit the more beautiful it will be. Hence, we understand why the one who possessed the Spirit without measure (see Jn 3:34) has been called the most beautiful of the children of men, Christ the Lord (see Ps 45:3).29 Similarly, the one we greet as "full of grace" is also saluted by the Church as tota pulchra, fully beautiful. Mary is the woman who has been portrayed by more artists than anyone else in the whole history of humankind. Dante contemplated her among the splendors of Paradise as "beauty that was joy in the eyes of all the other Saints."30 Then come the saints, whose beauty is reflected in so many works of art, where the reality of their historical figure (some were rather ugly by normal standards) has been idealized, because the radiance of the Spirit shone through their lives. The icons in Orthodox spirituality are considered like mini-incarnations of the glory (the beauty) of God. Spontaneously, babies are perceived as beautiful, being God’s unspoiled creatures. Spiritual beauty surpasses physical good looks because it directly reflects God’s own beauty, as it is projected on the Body of Christ. Indwelling in our hearts, the holy Spirit, says St. Cyril, "is not an artist who would imprint in us the divine substance as if he were alien to it; that is not the way he leads us to the divine likeness, but he, being God and proceeding from God, imprints himself in the hearts who receive him, like a seal on the wax … and so restores nature according to the beauty of the divine model and brings back to man the image of God."31

Faith is the first gift of the Holy Spirit; without him, nobody can confess that Jesus is Lord! When probing faith, theology has mainly focused on truth. It is the merit of Hans Urs Von Balthasar to have developed a "theological aesthetics," inviting the believer to contemplate the beauty of God and enjoy faith.32 It is this beauty of faith that has found expression is so many and extraordinary works of art. Think, for example, of the plastic arts, such as cathedrals, paintings, and sculptures, or the lovely illuminations of medieval codices and the splendor of the Ethiopian crosses, where the beauty of faith is crafted with exquisite talent. The Holy Spirit helps us to understand Christianity in aesthetic categories and so to experience the joy of divine filiation. Perhaps it is here that the modern crisis of faith has its roots. So the Latin American bishops pray, "We raise to the Holy Spirit our trustful appeal so that we may rediscover the beauty and joy of being Christians."33

In his Letter to the Artists, John Paul II wrote that "The Spirit is the mysterious Artist of the universe."34 The beauty of the heavens has always inspired poets, like the Psalmist realizing that "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands" (Ps 19:1; see 57:5.11, etc), and feeling wonder, "When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained" (Ps 8:3). And yet they were looking at the celestial vault with the naked eye. What would have been their sense of awe, had they gazed through our modern telescopes! Since the Spirit puts the final touch to God’s works, he could not be satisfied with a universe that simply "works well"; it had to be gorgeous, too. But since beauty is in the eye of the beholder, he also created the eyes which would feel delighted with it; the cosmos without minds does not make sense. Furthermore, beautiful universe and esthetic pleasure are only possible in the Spirit of Beauty who made both. Yet, first of all, the wonders of the galaxies or the surprises of sunsets enchant the Creator Spirit, the source of all artistic taste. The Book of Proverbs describes the Divine Wisdom (the Spirit) enjoying God’s work: "When he compassed the sea with its bounds, and set a law to the waters that they should not pass their limits, when he balanced the foundations of the earth, I was with him forming all things, and was delighted every day, playing before him at all times, playing in the world, and my delights were to be with the children of men" (Prov 8:29-31).

We wonder at nature, beautiful as it is, and yet we dream of a still more beautiful world. The Spirit, groaning in creation (Rom 8:25), warns and promises that a better world is possible. Isaiah had foreseen that when "the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, the desert becomes a fertile field, and the fertile field seems like a forest. Justice will dwell in the desert and righteousness live in the fertile field" (Is 32:15-16). The Spirit works in this tension between reality and possibility, between seeds and fruits, promise and fulfillment, and the Church is the field par excellence of this activity. The Anglican bishop of Durham, Tom Wright, wrote: "The beauty of the present world is like the beauty of a chalice. It is beautiful in itself, yes, but far more beautiful because we know what it is meant to be filled with. It is like the beauty of a violin. Again, beautiful in itself but still more because of the music we know it is designed to play."35 The Spirit is the "engine" pushing the Church and the whole of humankind forwards to a better world. This "engine" incarnates itself in prophets, geniuses, poets, and other dreamers. It is remarkable the amount of "pearls" of beauty that can be gleaned in the prophetic literature. Take for example Isaiah: the imposing theophany of chapter 6; the charming dream of harmony and concord in nature, with lambs and leopards, babies and vipers playing together (Is 11:6-9; 65:25); describing God as "a beautiful wreath for the remnant of his people (28:5); or the joy of the end of the exile, "How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news" (52:7), etc. Among the poets we ought to remember is the deacon St. Ephrem, called "The Lyre of the Holy Spirit." St. John of the Cross described Christ passing by the woods and "with his image alone, clothing them in beauty."36 And others nearer to us, like Keats, averring simply, "Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all,"37 or the Jesuit Gerard Manley Hopkins, so much imbued with the Spirit in his entire poetic carrier,38 and so many more. The creativity of greatly talented persons always amazes us. Let us simply quote A. Einstein: "The ideals that have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth."39 People like these are instruments of choice of the Spirit in fashioning a new world.

In the sphere of plastic arts, the Spirit is not less active. The book of Exodus offers a remarkable text: "See, says the Lord Yahweh, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability, and knowledge in all kinds of crafts, to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver, and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship" (Ex 31:2-5; 35:30ff). God provides the artists with an inspiration analogous to that of his prophets, since they also work for his glory, and this glory shines in beauty. Whatever his achievements, we can doubt that Bezalel even approached those of, for example, Michelangelo. Entering St. Peter’s Basilica and seeing in the apse Bernini’s "Glory" with the dove of the Holy Spirit, one is invited to see behind the beauty for the eye the Inspirer of the artists. This inspiration can be felt in the grandiose Sistine Chapel, before a painting of El Greco, an icon of Rublev, or the exuberance of Rubens and the explosion of joy in Catholic baroque.40 More "spiritual," they say, is music. And so it would seem. Listening to Bach’s fugues, Mozart’s minuets, or Beethoven’s solemn masses, it is difficult to stop at the sounds and not to soar into the beyond, where the Spirit whispers. As the Pope put it: "Every genuine inspiration contains some tremor of that ‘breath’ with which the Creator Spirit suffused the work of creation from the very beginning … It is right then to speak, even if only analogically, of ‘moments of grace,’ because the human being is able to experience in some way the Absolute who is utterly beyond."41

The Church has loved art from the times of the catacombs. Iconoclasm has been condemned as a heresy. Beauty has found a home in our temples, both East and West, not only in architecture, but in the paintings and statues, the exquisite craftsmanship of the cult utensils and liturgical vestments.42 Liturgical rubrics presuppose good taste; the way the Mass is performed is called ars celebrandi, the art of celebration. Liturgy has originated the lovely Gregorian chant, picturesque processions, magnificent rituals, and a great variety of styles of divine worship. All are gifts of the Spirit animating them. Surely, Mass is not a "show" or a "therapy group experience"; it is the encounter with Christ, where beauty plays an important role. Liturgy is the place where the Spirit is most intensively present; beauty should spring out of that presence, transforming time and space into a temple. "An authentically beautiful liturgy helps enter into this particular language of the faith, made of symbols and evocations of the mystery being celebrated … The beauty of the liturgy is first of all the deep beauty of the meeting with the mystery of God, present among men through the intermediary work of the Son, ‘the fairest of the children of men’ (Ps 45, 2) … the beauty of a harmony which translates into gestures, symbols, words, images, and melodies that touch the heart and the spirit and raise marvel and the desire to meet the resurrected Lord, He who is the Door of Beauty."43

The splendor of beauty, which the Holy Spirit has imprinted in the Church and particularly in the liturgy, would become more perceptible if we would look at it in the light of eschatology. We possess already the "first fruits" of what will finally blossom in the heavenly Jerusalem. Pope Benedict, commenting on the vision of the Apocalypse, said, "It is an image of awesome beauty, where nothing is superfluous, but everything contributes to the perfect harmony of the holy City. In his vision John sees the city ‘coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God’ (Rev 21:10). And since the glory of God is Love, the heavenly Jerusalem is the icon of the Church, utterly holy and glorious, without spot or wrinkle (cf. Eph 5:27), permeated at her heart and in every part of her by the presence of the God who is Love. … This magnificent icon has an eschatological value: it expresses the mystery of the beauty that is already the essential form of the Church, even if it has not yet arrived at its fullness."44 Celebrating the liturgy in the Spirit, the heart gets a glimpse of the great beyond, to which we all are aiming, where justice and love, truth and beauty, are finally one.

Perhaps today "the way of beauty" is the most convincing one to suggest the existence of God and the activity of the Holy Spirit. That is what John Paul II told the charismatics: "Our time stands in great need of men and women who, like rays of light, can communicate the fascination of the Gospel and the beauty of new life in the Spirit."45

New Creation

The last line of the Creed, expanding the third article of faith, "I believe in the Holy Spirit," speaks of "the resurrection of the body and life everlasting," that is, our final hope. The salvific plan of the Father, carried out by the double mission of the Son and the Spirit, begins in creation and ends in re-creation, that is, bringing to perfection this world into "the world to come." Salvation has a cosmic dimension and will be consummated when God will be all in all (1 Cor 15:28). The new creation is most properly attributed to the Spirit as his distinctive work.

The eschatological dimension of our faith is essential to Christianity. The hope of "a new heavens and a new earth" had been heralded by the prophets (see, for example, Is 51:16; 65:17; 66:22), and confirmed in the last book of the Bible: "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth ... God will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. No longer will there be any curse" (Rev 21:1, 4; 22:3). Therefore, as Peter writes, "according to the Lord’s promise, we look for a new heavens and a new earth, where justice dwells" (2 Pet 3:10-13). This will be the last touch of the Holy Spirit concluding God’s work. As the Spirit is the beginner of our faith (nobody can say "Jesus is Christ" unless in the Holy Spirit), so is he the fulfiller of our hope. This dream will come fully true at the Parousia, when the Lord will come to consummate history.

Meanwhile we live in hope, in a hope that saves. "We are saved in hope," says St. Paul (Rom 8:24), and therefore we must be aware of this salvation in us.46

Here we speak of the "pneumatic" dimension of nature and history as a work in process, in progress towards that consummation. We already know that God’s present creative activity in the world is not simply preservation but it is also preparation. J. Moltmann notes that "Creatio nova is creatio anticipativa. God’s creative activity in history anticipates the consummation in time. … The revelation of the rule of God in history initiates the consummation of creation as the kingdom of God."47 Presently, "new creation" is simply the growing presence of the Kingdom of God among us, like a seed planted in a field and growing in a way we do not know (Mk 4:26-29), like the leaven in the dough (Mt 13:33), like a buried treasure (Mt 13:44). It is something already present ("If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation" 2 Cor 5:17), but not yet concluded in that perfection that God intends in his love. Vatican II taught that "already the final age of the world has come upon us and the renovation of the world is irrevocably decreed and is already anticipated in some kind of a real way" in the Church (LG 48), and that we are living in "the last days," which are precisely the days of the outpouring of the Spirit. St. Peter saw these days inaugurated on the first Pentecost (Acts 2: 16ff), when the primitive Church experienced this powerful activity of the Spirit as needed for her implanting in the world. But this activity has never ceased, and now, we are witnessing again a new rushing of the Spirit to rescue our "little faith" and he will do so, in his free and various ways, until the Lord returns in glory to harvest the ripened crop he planted. As the Holy Spirit came to Mary to incarnate in her God’s Word, so he comes to the Church to incarnate God’s Kingdom in her motherly womb. When the Son became man, eternity entered time and transformed its meaning, its content and direction. No more cycles but a goal, to become Body of Christ, its Head. The resurrection of Jesus Christ was proleptic, not only of our resurrection, but of the liberation of creation itself from its bondage to decay. The crises of the Church (persecutions, loss of faith, scandals, etc) are the birth pangs of a new world, which Paul VI called a "civilization of love." The last quarter of the 20thcentury saw hope in new ideas such as liberation theology (now apparently waning in the 21st century), new movements (such as the charismatic renewal), new global realities creating fraternity among peoples, cultures, and religions, etc. This hope is a gift of the Spirit, preparing the New Earth.48

To the eyes of faith, the universe is engaged in a process of metamorphosis, analogous—admittedly with a very faint similarity—to the Eucharist. The Holy Spirit operates in the Sacrament a real cosmic reconciliation of matter and spirit, of creature and Creator, of time and eternity. Here, earth becomes heaven, though only sacramentally. In the Eucharist, the possibilities of matter reach their limit. In the bread and wine, in certain measure, the world is consecrated, as Teilhard de Chardin wrote.49 The Church is the sacrament of this new world. This is the vision of Vatican II in Lumen gentium, being a sign and a pledge of the new creation: "God brought us forth by his word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits (aparchen tina) of his [new] creation" (James 1:18). The Church is like a seed, a leaven, or a catalyst of the final new heavens and new earth.

When the Lord will come in glory, this transformation will be completed. It will not be a creation "from nothing," but "from the world." Just as the risen body of Jesus was the same mortal body transformed by the Spirit, so this old creation will be transfigured in a way that only God knows; He will eliminate not only sin but all the effects of sin (Rom 8:21; Rev 21:4). Then, finally, all will make sense. The Spirit of Truth and Giver of Life will permeate everything. Anthropologically, it will be the resurrection of the dead; historical-politically, it will be the Kingdom of God; cosmically, the new heavens and the new earth. Christian faith challenges us not only to imagine it, but to dream of it and work for it.


1. See Colin Gunton, Deus Trinitas: The Doctrine of the Triune God - The Triune Creator: A Historical and Systematic Study (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998).

2. See, for instance, this stanza of Marius Victorinus (ca. 290-370) in his Third Hymn: "Tu [Pater] creari imperas, Tu [Filius] creas, Tu [Spiritus] creata recreas, O beata trinitas" (You command to create, You create, You recreate the created, O blessed Trinity). Or in a more theological way, St. Basil writes, "The original cause of all things that are made, the Father … the creative cause, the Son … the perfecting cause, the Spirit" (On the Holy Spirit, XV, 36 and 38).

3. The creed of Nicaea-Constantinople calls the Holy Spirit "Lord and giver of life." Tradition has often interpreted Genesis 1:2 as the Holy Spirit acting in creation. The encyclical Dominum et vivificantem (18 May 1986) says: "’The Spirit of God,’" who according to the biblical description of creation, ‘was moving over the face of the water,’" n. 34. See also D. M. Hudson, "From Chaos to Cosmos: Sacred Space in Genesis,"Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 108 (1996): 87-97.

4. "God fashioned man with his own hands [that is, the Son and the Holy Spirit] and impressed his own form on the flesh he had fashioned, in such a way that even what was visible might bear the divine form" Irenaeus,Demonstratio apostolica, 11, Sources Chrétiennes 62 (Paris: Editions du Cerf), 48-49.

5. Ted Peters and Martinez Hewlett, Evolution from Creation to New Creation: Conflict, Conversation and Convergence (Abingdon Press, 2003); Rafael Pascual, ed., L’Evoluzione: crocevia di scienza, filosofia e teologia, Congresso internazionale, Ateneo Pontificio Regina Apostolorum, Roma, 23-24 Apr 2002 (Roma: Edizioni Studium, 2005).

6. J. Ratzinger, in Wer ist das eigentlich - Gott? (München: Kösel Verlag, 1969), translated into Italian as "Fede nella creazione e teoria dell’evoluzione," in Il Foglio quotidiano, 10 (23 Dec. 2005) 303: 1.

7. Catechism of the Council of Trent, Article VIII.

8. General Audience Address of 12 Aug. 1998.

9. Dr. Clark H. Pinnock, "The Role of the Spirit in Creation," in The Theta Phi Lectures at Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky, 3-4 Oct. 1996.

10. See Masatoshi Doi, "Religion and Nature," in Douglas J. Elwood, ed., What Asian Christians Are Thinking: A Theological Source Book (Quezon City: New Day Publishers, 1978), 119-130.

11. This famous saying of the Ambrosiaster, Omne verum, a quocumque dicatur, est a Spiritu Sancto, quoted by St. Thomas, Summa Theol., I-IIæ, 109, 1, ad 1, has been cited often by John Paul II, especially in Fides et ratio, n. 44.

12. Jürgen Moltmann, The Spirit of Life (SCM Press, 1992), 227; see also Sigurd Bergmann, Creation Set Free: The Spirit as Liberator of Nature, tr. Douglas W. Stott, with foreword by Jürgen Moltmann (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2005).

13. Divine Comedy, Paradise XXXIII, verse 145. Pope Benedict XVI, often refers to this text, for example, in his Address to the participants at the meeting promoted by the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, 23 Jan. 2006.

14. Samuel Rayan, Breath of Fire - The Holy Spirit: Heart of the Christian Gospel (London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1979), 9.

15. Deus caritas est, n. 11.

16. See Sallie McFague, The Body of God: An Ecological Theology (Augsburg: Fortress Publ., 1993); Dieter T. Hessel & Rosemary Radford Ruether, eds., Christianity and Ecology: Seeking the Well-being of Earth and Humans (Cambridge: Harvard Center for the Study of World Religions, 2000); Sean McDonagh, Life: Creation or commodity? (Sydney: ACSJC, 2001); Denis Edwards, Breath of Life: A Theology of the Creator Spirit (Orbis Books, 2004); Thomas Berry & Mary E. Tucker, Evening Thoughts. Reflecting on Earth as Sacred Community(Sierra Club Books, 2006).

17. Gerard Manley Hopkins, God’s Grandeur. He concludes the poem: "Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—/ Because the Holy Ghost over the bent/ World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings."

18. See J. Rogers, "Ecological Theology: The Search for an Appropriate Theological Model," reprinted fromSeptuagesimo Anno: Theologische Opstellen Aangeboden aan Prof. Dr. G. C. Berkouwer (Kampen, The Netherlands: J.H. Kok, 1973); David G. Hallman, ed., Ecotheology: Insights from South and North (New York: World Council of Churches, 1994); D. Edwards, "Ecology and the Holy Spirit: The Already and the Not Yet of the Spirit in Creation," Ecotheology: Anzats Conference, Christchurch 13 (July 2000) 2: 142-159.

19. Teilhard de Chardin, "Hymne à la matière," Œuvres complètes, Vol. 13 (Éditions du Seuil, 1957), 89-91; "Sainte matière," Le Milieu Divin, in Œuvres complètes, Vol. 4 (Éditions du Seuil, 1957), 120.

20. Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov (Signet Classic, 1999), 309.

21. See a good presentation of the Christian conception of the body in Pope John Paul II’s 129 General Audiences from Sep 1979 to Nov 1984, as published by John S. Grabowski, The Theology of the Body. Human Love in the Divine Plan (Pauline Books & Media, 1997).

22. Deus caritas est, n. 4.

23. General Audience, 19 Aug 1998.

24. Dumitru Staniloaë, "Le Saint-Esprit dans la révélation et dans l’église," Contacts 25 (1974) : 87, reprinted in Prière de Jésus et expérience du Saint-Esprit, Théophanie (Paris: Desclée de Brouwer, 1986).

25. J. L. Ruiz de la Peña, Crisis y apología de la fe. Evangelio y nuevo milenio (Santander: Ed. Sal Terrae, 1995), 266.

26. Cf. John Paul II, Veritatis splendor.

27. See Patrick Sherry, Spirit and Beauty: An Introduction to Theological Aesthetics (SCM, 2002); P. Sherry, "The Beauty of God the Holy Spirit," Theology Today 64 (2007) 1.

28. Confessions, XI, 4.

29. There is also the text of Is 53:2, describing the Servant of Yahweh, "He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him." Grappling with the paradox, the young Augustine, in his lost book De pulchro et apto ("The Beautiful One and the Suitable") spoke of the blast of two trumpets, blown by the same Spirit, that have to be heard in harmony; see also Jean-Michel Fontanier, La beauteì selon saint Augustin (Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 1998); see further Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, "The Beauty and the Truth of Christ," L'Osservatore Romano (6 Nov 2002): 6.

30. Paradiso XXXI, 134-135.

31. St. Cyril of Alexandría, Thesaurus de sancta et consubstantiali Trinitate 34, PG 75, 609.

32. See especially Hans Urs Von Balthasar, The Glory of the Lord I: Seeing the Form (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1982) and The Glory of the Lord II: Studies in Theological Style: Clerical Styles, 1984. See also Edward Farley, Faith and Beauty: A Theological Aesthetic (Ashgate Publishing, 2001).

33. Documento de Aparecida, n. 14.

34. Letter to the Artists, 4 April 1999.

35. In Chimes, student newspaper of Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, 18 January 2002.

36. John of the Cross, The Spiritual Canticle.

37. John Keats, Ode on a Grecian Urn, stanza 2.

38. Timothy F. Jackson, "The Role of the Holy Spirit in Gerard Manley Hopkins’s Poetry," Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture 9 (Winter 2006) 1: 108-127; see also Philip A. Ballinger, The Poem As Sacrament: The Theological Aesthetic of Gerard Manley Hopkins, Louvain Theological and Pastoral Monographs (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2000).

39. Albert Einstein, "The World as I See It," in Carl Seelig, ed., Ideas and Opinions, Based on Mein Weltbild(New York: Bonzana Books, 1954), 8-11.

40. See Richard Viladesau, Theological Aesthetics. God in Imagination, Beauty, and Art (Oxford University Press, 1999).

41. Letter to the Artists, n. 15.

42. See Office of Papal Liturgical Celebrations, Liturgy and Beauty. Nobilis Pulchritudo (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2005).

43. Pontifical Council for Culture, The Via Pulchritudinis [Way of Beauty], Privileged Pathway for Evangelisation and Dialogue, Concluding Document of the Plenary Assembly, 2006.

44. Benedict XVI in Brazil, 13 May 2007.

45. Message of John Paul II to Bishop Mariano de Nicoló of Rimini, on the occasion of the National Convention of the groups and communities of Renewal in the Spirit, 29 April 2004, n. 3.

46. If we are already "new creatures," the world has to perceive this newness in us, which usually appears as joy, "the joy of our salvation." A Christian should irradiate joy.

47. Jürgen Moltmann, God in Creation (London: SCM Press, 1985), 209.

48. Mark. I. Wallace, Fragments of the Spirit: Nature, Violence, and the Renewal of Creation (New York: Continuum, 1996).

49. Teilhard de Chardin, "La Messe sur le monde," in Œuvres, t. XIII (Paris: Seuil, 1961).