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The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the Souls of the Just

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The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the Souls of the Just

Post  MRyan on Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:07 pm

The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit
in the Souls of the Just



Master in Theology, of the Order of Preachers

Translated from the Third
French Edition

Westminster, Maryland

Imprimatur: Fr. Jos. Ambrosius Labors, Ord. Pr/ED.; Prior Provincialis, Prov. Lugd.
Imprimatur: Parisiis, 14 Februarius, 1900.; E. Thomas, V.G.

Nihil Obstat: ARTHUR J. SCANLAN. ST.D.; Censor Librorum
Nihil Obstat: + PATRICK J. HAYES, D. D.; Archbishop of New York

New York, October 7, 1921


We, the undersigned, have examined, by appointment of the Very Reverend Father Provincial, the book, already published under the title: The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the Souls of the Just, by the Very Rev. Father Master, Brother Barthelemy Froget, of the Order of the Preaching Brothers. This work being very praiseworthy on account of the solidity of its doctrine and by its conformity with the teachings of St. Thomas, has won the attention of theologians. Having thus advanced the progress of sacred science, it may furthermore contribute to the increase of piety in men's souls. It has seemed to us worthy to be republished, and we affirm our approval of the new impression, with the additions and changes which the author has judged proper to introduce.

Father Marie-Joseph, O.P.
Master in Sacred Theology.

Father Denys Mezard, O.P.

Lyons, the Feast of St. Raymond de Pennafori; the 23d of January, 1900.




The Indwelling of God in Men's Souls Is Not the Exclusive Privilege of the Just of the New Law, but is the Common Endowment of the Just of All Times

If we except St. Cyril of Alexandria, concerning whose true thought there might be question, the Fathers are unanimous in teaching, that if a difference does exist between the saints of the Old and the New Testament relative to the Divine indwelling by grace, it is only a difference in degree and in external manifestation.

Listen to the words of St. Leo the Great speaking of the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost: "All the patriarchs and prophets and priests, as well as all the just who had lived in preceding ages, had been nourished by the same sanctiflcation of the Holy Spirit." (St Leo M., de Pentec. scrmo 11, c. 3.)

And St. Athanasius says: "It is the very same Holy Spirit Who under the Law and under the Gospel sanctifies and consoles those who receive Him." (St. Athanasius, Orat. 5, contra Arian, n. 25, 26.)

Scripture is quite as explicit as the Fathers. Therein we read of holy men living under the Old Covenant, and yet filled with the Holy Ghost. Thus it is said of St. John the Baptist: "He shall be great before the Lord . . . and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother's womb." (Luke 1: 15) Elizabeth, too, was filled with the Holy Ghost the day of her cousin's visit. (Luke 1: 41.) Finally, the evangelist, St. Luke, narrates of the venerable man Simeon, that the "Holy Ghost was in him." (Luke 2: 25) And yet all this took place long before the day of Pentecost.

Basing his argument, therefore, on the firm rock of the revealed word, the Sovereign Pontiff has declared that: "It is therefore true that in those of the just who lived before Christ, the Holy Ghost resided by grace, as we read in the Scriptures concerning the prophets, and Zachary, John the Baptist, Simeon, and Anna." (Encyclical, Divinum illud munus) But if all this is true, then what interpretation are we to place on the words of St. John about the lack of certain manifestations of grace, "that the Spirit was not given because Jesus was not yet glorified?" (John 7: 39) According to St. Augustine, St. Jerome and St. Athanasius, the words do not mean that "He had not really been given before that moment, but that He had not been given in the same manner. If in fact He had not been given at all, then with what Spirit had the prophets been filled when they prophesied? For Holy Writ says plainly and in many places, that it was by the Holy Ghost that they spoke." (St. Augustine, de Trin., lib. IV., c. xx., n. 29) St. Thomas explains the text in the same way. (Summa Theologlca, I., q. xiii., a. 6, ad. 1).

This is why, in his ex professo treatment of the question of Divine missions, St. Thomas inquiring whether the invisible mission of the Holy Ghost is shared by all those who are in the state of grace, consequently by the just of all times, answers without hesitation in the affirmative. Therefore, he concludes, even the patriarchs of the Old Testament received the invisible mission of the Holy Spirit.

The purpose of the invisible mission of the Holy Ghost is the sanctification of rational beings. This mission takes place whenever sanctifying grace is bestowed upon or increased in a soul, i. e., every time charity, or love—the inseparable consort of grace—transforms a person and makes him the friend of God, and, united with the gift of wisdom, renders him capable of attaining and possessing the Sovereign Good by knowledge and love.
Now the just of the Old Law were, like ourselves, the friends of God. Scripture says explicitly: "Abraham believed God, and it was reputed to him unto righteousness, and he was called the friend of God."(James 2: 23) Therefore, like ourselves, the friends of God in the older dispensation were capable of uniting with the Divinity by the operations of their intellect and will. Nothing was lacking, therefore, for them to become truly the temple and the abode of the Holy Spirit by His coming to them.

No one can express astonishment at this conclusion, if he reflect that the patriarchs were endowed with the same kind of holiness as the Christian of today. The grace by which they were justified made them children of God and heirs of eternal life, for the Council of Trent teaches, that "justification does not consist only in the remission of sins, but also in the renewal of the inner man by the reception of the grace and the Gifts of God, in such a manner that from being unjust he becomes just; so that he is made heir according to hope of life eternal. . . Whence in justification itself, together with the remission of his sins, he at the same time receives, through Jesus Christ, in Whom he is ingrafted, faith, hope and love." (Triduum, sess. VI., c. vii.) They received, therefore, the forgiveness of their sins, sanctifying grace and the whole train of attendant virtues and supernatural Gifts of the Holy Ghost.

However, according to learned doctors, in the older dispensation, the invisible mission of the Holy Ghost was not yet to be accompanied by a visible mission through the Incarnation because the latter would then have come out of due time, it being necessary that the visible mission of the Divine Son precede that of the Holy Ghost. It was quite fitting, that before the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity revealed His presence outwardly (thus giving to men a clearer knowledge of His Person), the plenitude of time resolved upon by the Wisdom of God for the Incarnation of the Word and His appearance amongst us, should have arrived.

Moreover, before revealing the dogma of the Trinity to a people so prone to idolatry as the Jews, it was necessary first to impress deeply upon their minds the fundamental truth of the unity of God. This truth, the direct antithesis of polytheism, is constantly recalled in the books of the Old Testament: "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, is one." (Deuteronomy 6: 4) On the other hand, we meet with only a few obscure allusions to the Trinity of Persons. Sometimes it is question indeed of the Word of God and His spirit, but they are spoken of in such vague terms, that it is very problematical whether the Jewish teachers had a notion that they were Three distinct Persons.

Under the New Law, on the contrary, after the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, the mystery of the Blessed Trinity was fully revealed and preached to the world, as a truth which all were to know and in which all were to profess belief. The faint light of the old covenant adjusted to the weakness of this childlike people, was eclipsed by the brilliant rays of the Christian revelation, and the moment was come for some external and clear manifestation of the Three Divine Persons, according to the very judicious remark of St. Gregory of Nazianzen. (St Gregory, Nar., orat. xli., n. 11)

The necessary consequence of all this, and the conclusion of all who study Holy Scripture and the Fathers without bias for any particular school of thought, is that the soul of every person, no matter when he lived or what degree of holiness he acquired, whether he attained to the very heights of perfection or whether he was but entering upon the road of righteousness, whether an adult or an infant is united with God through grace, and entertains the Holy Spirit as his Guest. True, this union can be more or less perfect, it can admit of degrees which vary ad infinitum, but the mystical union is everywhere and always essentially the same.

To summarize: Before the appearance of the Word made flesh upon this earth, therefore, the Holy Ghost had already been sent and given to the souls of the just. This however was never accompanied by the Spirit's external and visible mission, so frequent in the first centuries of the Christian era, when the faithful needed to be strengthened in their belief in the mystery of the Blessed Trinity. Moreover, even though we do claim that the Holy Ghost was present in the just under the Old Law, not only by His operation but also by His substance, He was not present with that plenitude, that abundance, that profusion, so characteristic of the law of the Gospel.

This difference is sufficiently explained by the very nature of the two laws. The Mosaic law was essentially figurative and provisional; of itself, imperfect and inefficacious, and bringing no holiness to perfection. It prefigured and announced the grace that was to come, but by its ordinances it did not communicate it. It formulated Divine precepts, established certain wholesome prohibitions, and fully pointed out what was sinful; but of itself it had no power to cleanse from sin. The sanctification it effected by its own means was purely external and carnal—"a cleansing of the flesh; (Hebrews 9:13) a person was merely declared fit to take part in the Divine worship, but no internal change or renovation was produced by its external rites.

Under the Old Law there already existed, as we have seen, over and above outer and legal justice, a real inner justice which cleansed the sinner from his sins and made him acceptable in the eyes of God. However, this supernatural justice did not emanate from the Law itself, neither was it granted to the works of the Law, but to faith, and on account of the merits of the Saviour Who was to come. True holiness, i. e., that which was to cleanse from sin and transform man into a Divine being, was to be the characteristic effect of The law of the Gospel, called for this reason the law of grace. This is why St. Thomas does not scruple to say that the just of the Old Law who possessed charity and the grace of the Holy Spirit, and who were not content with the earthly promises attached to the faithful observance of legal practices, but who fixed their thoughts upon and awaited principally the spiritual and eternal promises made them, already belonged in this respect to the New Law. (Summa Theologica, Ia., IIae., q. cvii., a. 1, ad. 2)

However, notwithstanding the fact that the just of the Old Law possessed a justice and a holiness of the same nature as ours, and that they were as much the adopted sons of God by grace as ourselves, yet their condition of life was not every way that of sons, but rather it was that of servants. To cite the comparison used by St. Paul, they were like those children of noble parentage, who, although the heirs of their father's fortune and the lords of all, yet differ in nothing from servants, but are under tutors and governors until the time appointed by their father. As they were not able to enter into the full possession of the heavenly inheritance, they were subjected to the thousand and one enslaving observances of the Law, which was their pedagogue in Christ. (Galatians 4: 1-3)

But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent His Son that He might redeem those who were under the Law, and that men might receive in a perfect manner the adoption of sons.And because we are sons, God hath sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying: Abba, Father. Thus was the fullness of the Divine mission reserved to the law of the Gospel. (Ibid., 6: 7) (pp 114-120)

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Re: The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the Souls of the Just

Post  columba on Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:42 pm

I like this a lot. Good post.

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Re: The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the Souls of the Just

Post  George Brenner on Fri Mar 16, 2012 10:15 pm

Great post, Mike

The SIGN of the Cross and Salvation: The Blessed Trinity, In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.

I believe in One , Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

I believe that there is No Salvation Outside the Catholic Church and all that the Church teaches on this throughout the ages whether I can grasp it or not. I believe that few ever approach that type of wisdom and many from pride must satisfy or proof to themselves and others their private interpretations are correct; as if they were Doctors or Saints or the Church Magisterium.

I believe in Baptism by water for Salvation and all that the Church teaches on Baptism of Desire, Blood and Invincible Ignorance.

I believe in submission to the Pope.

I believe that the Crisis in the Church will be overcome, if we each do our part by living our lives according to the will of God as we say in The Our Father.

I believe that Salvation is all but impossible without Blessed Mother and the Rosary.

I believe the following lyrics is one of my prayers to the Blessed Trinity.

George Brenner

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Re: The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the Souls of the Just

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