jp2In the Letter to the Galatians Paul speaks of the eternal design conceived by God in the depth of his trinitarian life.

It was accomplished in the “fullness of time” with the coming of the Son in the Incarnation to make us his adopted sons:

“God sent forth his Son, born of a woman…so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Gal 4:4-5).

According to the Apostle, the mission of the Holy Spirit is closely connected with the Son’s “mission” (missio) in the trinitarian economy.

He adds: “And because we are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Gal 4:6).

Here we touch the goal of the mystery expressed in Pentecost: the Holy Spirit descends “into our hearts” as the Spirit of the Son.

Precisely because he is the Spirit of the Son, he enables us to cry out to God together with Christ: “Abba, Father.”

This cry expresses the fact that not only are we called to be sons of God, “but we are so indeed,” as the Apostle John emphasizes in his First Letter (3:1).

Because of this gift, we truly share in the sonship proper to the Son of God, Jesus Christ. This is the supernatural truth of our relationship with Christ, a truth that can be known only by those who “have known the Father” (cf. 1 Jn 2:13).

This knowledge is possible only by virtue of the Holy Spirit, through the witness which he gives from within to the human spirit. There, he is present as the principle of truth and life.

The Apostle Paul tells us: “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ” (Rom 8:16-17).

“You did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship whereby we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Rom 8:15).

The Spirit reproduces in man the image of the Son, thus establishing the intimate fraternal bond with Christ which leads us to “cry out with him, ‘Abba! Father!’”

Hence the Apostle writes that “all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” (Rom 8:14).

The Holy Spirit “breathes” in the hearts of believers as the Spirit of the Son, establishing in man the divine sonship in the likeness of Christ and in union with Christ.

The Holy Spirit forms the human spirit from within according to the divine exemplar which is Christ.

Thus, through the Spirit, the Christ known in the pages of the Gospel becomes the “life of the soul.”

In thinking, loving, judging, acting and even in feeling, man is conformed to Christ, and becomes “Christlike.”

John Paul II (1920-2005): General Audience, July 26th, 1989.

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