IN his Catholic Art and Culture, Mr. E. 1. Watkin quotes part of a revelation made by Our Lord to Lucie Christine about a coming dispensation of the Holy Spirit.
"I saw, by a divine illumination ", wrote Lucie Christine iher Spiritual Journal, " that, just as the Holy Ghost is the term of the Divine processions, so also He must be the term of the Divine manifestations . . . In the latter days the Holy Ghost will make His heat and light more strongly felt in the hearts of the faithful."
The thought that the latter age will be pre-erninently the age of the Holy Spirit is one which has suggested itself to a number of souls, and of it we may at least say that the Christian sense of the work of the Holy Spirit may well grow since in the past there has certainly been a tendency to oserlook the importance of the Third Person of the Holy Trinity. For ourselves, at least, there can be nothing hut increased fruitfulness if we dwell in the present times and the times to come on the special operation of the Holy Spirit in the world and in the Church.
UNDOUBTEDLY the world, in
the course of its historic evolution, especially in the last. century or so, has grown in selfconsciousness. This development has not proved an altogether happy one, since it has entailed the loss of a sufficient sense of God's Eternal Law, as well as a steady decline in the realisation of the precious and necessary values in the objective, historically-evolving, social order of men and women created by God and redeemed by Christ. Nevertheless, growth in self-consciousness is the prerogative of the rational human being who thus should become ever more deeply aware of the potentialities of his spiritual and intellectual nature, a nature which likens him to God and makes him an end-in-himself. If then this growth has in fact been attended by a loss of a sufficient sense of God and the order of God's rich creation, this has been due to the one-sidedness of a development rather than to any intrinsic danger in the development itself.
Instead, therefore, of merely deploring this increased sense of the importance of the individual mind with its heightened claim for an inner testing of belief, knowledge and experience, we should rather work for the integrating of these spiritual and humanist claims into God's whole design for the universe and the whole social and institutional experience of the human history which God sanctified through His Incarnation into a world of space and time.
If we think of God the Father as the Creator and Law-giver, and of God the Son as the Redeemer consecrating our historical world, we may also think of the Holy Spirit as the special Revealer of the importance in God's plan of an ever-deepening consciousness in each and every man of his own individual spiritual and intellectual natare. And if we agree that the task of relating this latter heightened sense to the other equally important aspects of God's Revelation is vital, we may well expect that the real progress of the future will prove to be in a peculiar way the work of the Holy Spirit.
Though the teaching of the Church never changes, different aspects and facets of that teaching tend to be emphasised in different historical periods in response to the special needs of souls. And we may go so far as to say that the modes of the human " take-in 'S of one and the same teaching differ, too, according to the differ
ent capacities of men and women in different ages.
Thus it would not be expected that the simple and largely unreflecting rosponse characteristic of the masses of horn Catholics in the ages of Faith should he repeated today by men and women born into a more self-conscious age and inevitably deeply affected by the pervading sense of criticism. To attempt this would obviously be unwise since a mode of Faith so unnatural to modern man could hardly eat deep into his make-up and would easily be rejected.
THE task of today, it would
seem, is to teach the Faith so that it claims the conscious and reflective full and inner assent of the individual soul, and it may well be that as times pass so will more and more Catholics find themselves receiving and living the Faith " in depth," as it were, and thus sharing this depth of spiritual and intellectual reception with the minorities of the past.
According to this, we may foresee the future conquest of Christ's Kingdom as being more closely assimilated to the self-conscious and critical temper of the times, and not only heating the world at its own game, as it were, but absorbing within it the progress and invention which has characterised the latter. And so we shill see how this progress and invention which has in the past proved so destructive because of its divorce from the Divine pattern, will come to be constructively utilised for the praise of God and the good of society.
Clearly, developments of this kind will be envisaged as especially the work of the Holy Spirit enlightening the souls and minds of men. just as the Holy Spirit in the early days, in some respects similar to our own, moved men so directly and visibly to see and teach the truth.
ALREADY, we are aware of
great and significant fresh modes of the Church's apostolate, illustrated in particular by the action of the Sovereign Pontiffs of the present century, and not least by our present Holy Father. The revival of deep philosophic studies, the freshened liturgical sense, the participation of the laity in the work of Catholic Action, the intimate and personal approach of Catholic social action —all these are examples of the quickening response to the needs of the age of a more self-conscious person who wishes to grasp for himself.
Such movements have without question led both to an increased and to a deepened fervour and interest among Catholics generally, a fervour and interest illustrated in this country by the present nation-wide mission and to be celebrated next year in the celebrations of the restored Hierarchy.
Yet more important is the occurrence next year also of the Holy Year, the Bull of which has just been proclaimed by Pius Xll, and we may well expect that, as the Pope hopes, the millions whe make the pilgrimage to Rome will do so, not for mere variety and change, but precisely for the deepening of the quality of their Faith.
Thus during the great feast and octave of Pentecost this year we shall certainly not lack incentive for an increased devotion to the Holy Spirit to Whom we shall specially look for the Divine help which the Church, the faithful and the whole world need in these anxious days.