Question about the teaching the Holy Spirit to students
- Published: 21 January 2016
Good Evening Bishop Paul,
I have a question for you about teaching the Holy Spirit to my students. I have no problem teaching them about God the Father, there are many scriptures and passages about God and they have been hearing about God their whole life. Secondly teaching about Jesus I don't find to be an issue because again many of the stories of the Bible that are attached to Jesus and his life.
It is the Holy Spirit I have problems with, do I simply explain to them that the Holy Spirit is the conscience of our faith? I do not want to do a disservice to the Holy Trinity by being unable to explain to my students what the Holy Spirit is. It has compelled me to take on the vocation of Catholic teacher and to guide God's message to my students.
I guess I'm having trouble with explaining to my students the concept of the Holy Spirit and what it should mean for them.
Thank you for your time, I look forward to your response. M
I apologize for taking so long to get back to you.
It is interesting that you also ask this question because several other teachers have had similar ones about the trinity and the Holy Spirit.
1st - we need to always remember that we are not alone when sincerely teaching about the faith; the Spirit Himself, also is involved.
2nd - we and no one else can ever totally or adequately explain God whose mystery is always beyond our mental reach in this life.
3rd - St Teresa of Avila (a doctor of the faith) had as a basic principle for the spiritual life that it must always begin with the humanity of Jesus Christ and return to it. That is, our Lord Jesus is always our guide and bridge to God.
4th - Therefore despite the curriculum and official programs of religious education, we should really know the story of Jesus but also be starting to KNOW JESUS personally BEFORE we talk about the Holy Spirit. Yes, the Bible stories mention the Holy Spirit early on but Jesus himself in his ministry and teaching only talks about the Spirit late in his 'career'. And he does that for good reason. It is only on his (Jesus') trustworthiness or reliability that we are going to accept or enter into the mystery of God among us. Also remember that it was only during and after Pentecost that the apostles themselves confidently believed and preached the Good News.
5th - You can also begin by recalling for them that many things are real or exist that are not material or physical, e.i. 'love', justice, etc. And then from there speak about the reality of God who is spiritual etc.
I hope that these ideas are helpful and thank you for your question.