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Friday, May 17, 2013
The festival where Christians recall the ‘descent’ of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and Mary is near. We offer a passage by Igino Giordani that opens up real spiritual depths.

The Holy Spirit who unites created beings to their Creator generates a common life between the human and the divine. But Pentecost, by making ‘many believers one heart and one soul’ brought about, as a spontaneous effect of unity, the community of life. In this way common life, in the midst of daily distractions and noise, has become divine common life, where other persons serve as the means of ascent to God. Indeed, each brother or sister we meet resupplies us with divine life, because, loving the other for Christ, we are given access to God. And so life’s march is no longer, is it has been called, a death march, but growth towards eternal youth.

Living the Spirit of God is to let the Holy spirit live in us. And then to the extent we love God, we love also other human beings who are God’s representatives … And to the extent the goods of the Holy Spirit are communicated, they also increase. To develop and to blaze with life, charity must expand; it is blood and longs to circulate; it is fire and longs to burst all bounds. As natural life is a circulation of heat, communicated from cell to another, so also from the first cell set alight for the Creator there has been a continuous passage and an unwavering increase of heat in time and space. Likewise the supernatural life is an unwavering communication of heat – grace, charity – from the sun which is God to the souls who share in God. Other people are channels of the transmission of grace; in a sense they are sacraments of God. If others are excluded the Holy Spirit passes on no longer, life is stopped. And it is understandable: the love that passes on from me to the other person and from the other person to me is God who circulates.

The origin of this entire miracle is to be found in the incarnation and hence in charity. Humankind, therefore, being the image and likeness of God … is God who lives – incarnate so to speak – in human limitedness. If it is like this, I must see humankind like this and deal with humanity as if it were God in effigy. It is mutual; I must behave as God’s representative—from this come my vicarious dignity and my duties in action.

Humankind has been made by God and every cell of every human body and every fold of every spirit bears its maker’s trademark, the stamp of the Eternal. From such a maker humankind has received an unmistakable imprint, so that each human person on his or her own is like a masterpiece. Humans carry in their every molecule the proof of the existence of God who placed them in the world. The Holy Spirit is the One who acts in this divinization; he is the active principle of God’s incarnation. All individual humans are brought to share in some way in union with God, and the love that makes humans into God is the same that made God become human.

From Igino Giordani, La divina avventura [The Divine Adventure], Città Nuova, 1993

(first pub. Garzanti, 1953)