Theology in a Nutshell: The Mystery of the Holy Spirit


Theology in a Nutshell

God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit,
Salvation History, The Church, The Sacraments 


“God showed me something small, no bigger than a hazelnut, lying in the palm of my hand. In this little thing I saw three properties. The first is that God made it, the second is that God loves it, the third is that God preserves it. But what did I see in it? It is that God is the creator and protector and the lover. For until I am substantially united to God, I can never have perfect rest or true happiness, until, that is, I am so attached to God that there can be no created thing between my God and me.”

—Julian of Norwich 

Showings or The Revelations of Divine Love


Today we begin chapter three of Theology in a Nutshell by Steve Mueller. 

Steve Mueller, PhD, author of the five books in The Catechist’s Guide Reading the Bible Series, has taught Philosophy, Theology, Scripture and Catholic Studies. He helped develop and taught for many years in the renowned Denver Catholic Biblical School for adult scripture study. He is the current editor for Words of Grace: Daily Reflections & Prayers for Catholics for All Saints Press.


  1. The Mystery of the Holy Spirit

Just as was the case with God the Father and Jesus the son, the reality of the Holy Spirit is also a theological mystery. That is, although we affirm that they share the same Holy Spirit (Breath) of divine life that draws them together into a communion of love, we do not know how this happens. Breath is the sign of life—we can’t do without it—and vigorous breathing is a sign of vital power at work. When we detect the Holy Spirit, we know that God is near and active.

What the Holy Spirit, the divine power of life and the bond of love, does within the Trinity, is also done in salvation history for us. The Holy Spirit is our way of experiencing how God dwells deep within us to empower us for life and to draw us together into a community through the bonding power of love. 

God’s Holy Breath always accompanies God’s Word. Just as we cannot speak words without using our breath, so likewise when God sends the Word Jesus, God also sends the Holy Spirit (CCC, #689). God’s Holy Spirit empowers us to hear and understand God’s Word, then to act on it in our lives.

For more, see CCC, #687–701.

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