Hello Rosary Lovers! In this post we will ask: What is a holy spirit? We will follow this up with asking: What is THE Holy Spirit?

A Holy Spirit

A holy spirit is, suprise, suprise, a spirit that is holy.

Angels are holy spirits.

A human being is a combined union of flesh and spirit. The spiritual part of each human being is holy because it is made in the image of God.

It is true that the entirety of each human being is made in God’s image, including the body. But it is especially the spirit of each person that is made in God’s image.

When a human being is born into the world, they have what is called ‘original sin’. This is a corrupting element in all of us, which can only be washed away by the waters of holy baptism. This is true even though we are made in God’s image.

Baptism purifies us and washes our spirits from the stain of sin.

When someone is baptised and seeks to follow Jesus, their spirit becomes holy in a special way. Their spirit becomes what it was meant to be: holy, like God.


God is a holy spirit. We aren’t talking here about the Holy Spirit, the third person of the blessed and most holy Trinity.

When we say God is a holy spirit, we mean that God is holy and that God is spirit.

God is holy in that he is utterly separate from all other things. He is pure and utterly special, unique in everyway. Nothing is like God.

God is in a league of his own. God is so holy that God isn’t even a he, she or it. God is not a thing. God is not part of this universe. God is totally other.

The best way to think of this is to say that God is so infinite and vast and incomprehensible that the only thing we can ultimately say about God is that he is: infinite and incomprehensible.

No-one can know God or understand God. No-one has ever seen God. No person can look upon God and live.

God is Transcendence itself and Existence itself. God is BEING.

This is what is means for God to be Holy, Holy, Holy.

The highest archangel in glory is no closer to God than the smallest thing in creation.

This is true because God is not quantitatively different from us, but qualitatively. God is of a completely different Nature to us. His Nature we cannot even begin to grasp or understand.

For this reason, the highest archangel and the smallest little insect have FAR more in common than God has with either of them. God has NOTHING in common with anything he has made.

When we say that God is a spirit, we mean that God is completely and utterly non-physical.

Physical persons have eyes, ears, mouths. They can only be in one place at one time.

Spirits don’t have literal eyes, ears, etc. Spirits aren’t in one place at one time.

God doesn’t have literal eyes, or a literal mouth. He doesn’t have literal hands. He doesn’t have a body. He is everywhere, equally, all at once.

God is in the highest of heavens and yet also right next to you, even inside of you, right now.

This is what we mean when we say that God is a holy spirit. Or more accurately perhaps: God is holy Spirit, or wholly spirit.

The Holy Trinity

Christians often talk about the Holy Spirit, and by this title they mean the third person of the Holy Trinity.

The Holy Trinity is the name given by the Church to God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit at the same time.

The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three ‘persons’ in perfect union in one Being.

God is absolutely ONE, one in essence. And yet, at the same time, God is also THREE ‘persons’, who dwell eternally in each other.

God is not more one than he is three. God is not more three than he is one.

God is one in one sense (essence) and three in another sense (person).

God is one and three at the same time, always and forever. God has always been this way.

The Holy Spirit

Of the three persons of the Trinity, we can say that each of them is a holy spirit. The Father is a holy spirit. The Son is a holy spirit. The Holy Spirit is a holy spirit.

We can say this because each person is HOLY and is SPIRIT.

St Augustine tells us in his brilliant work On the Trinity that since the Father and the Son are holy, and since the Father and the Son are also spirit, a third person eternally comes forth from them who is their very nature: and we call this person the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit, in other words, is a person who encapsulates everything that the Father and the Son are together: holiness and spirit.

The Father is love and the Son is love, and so the Holy Spirit comes forth forever from both as perfect love.

The Father is wisdom and the Son is wisdom, and so the Holy Spirit comes forth forever from both as perfect wisdom.

The Father is true, and the Son is true. The Holy Spirit comes forth from both eternally as perfect truth.

The Father is Justice, the Son is Justice and therefore they eternally breathe forth a third person who is the perfect encapsulation of what they are: Justice.

The Father is Being, the Son is Being, and so they eternally breathe out Being: the Holy Spirit.

That’s about as much as I feel free to say on this amazing topic. If you have any questions, I’ll try my best to answer them in the comments below. Alternatively you can email me.

God’s richest blessings on you.

4 Replies to “What is a Holy Spirit?”

  1. Hi Matthew, 

    This is a very interesting read on what is a holy spirit. I understand the three entities of the Holy Trinity, being the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, and that each one of them is a holy spirit. 

    But I do find it confusing though that you say God is not more one than he is three. God is not more three than he is one”, and then also “God is one and three at the same time, always and forever. 

    Could you expand more on this please? Thank you. 

    1. Hi there! Thank you for your comment. 

      I have expanded on your question in a recent post found here:


      But in any case, it’s not really possible to expand any more than I’ve done in these two posts. The trinity is a grand mystery. It is the mystery of the universe. God is one and three always and forever but in different ways. He is one in essence but three in person. 

      As I explain in that link, we don’t really know what the words “essence” and “person” mean when ascribed to God. This is human language applied to the Infinite simply to give us something to say.

      No one can really understand God. 

      Take care

  2. Wow, your take on this goes a long way to expressing how unfathomable God really is. I’d be really interested to have a little deeper understanding of how our bodies can be created in the image of God if he has no image / body. Does this mean it’s possible that other parts of his creation are created in his image too? And why did he give us imperfect spirits? Thanks so much

    1. Many thanks for your comment and feedback on the post.

      Regarding how our bodies are created in the image of God. St John Paul II said in his outstanding ‘Theology of the Body’ that the body is the revelation of the soul of each individual. The body represents in physical reality the soul of each person. So, in some sense, the body shares in the image of God.

      I don’t wish to speak beyond what I know, but it is my understanding that the Church teaches that the soul is in the image of God and the entire person (soul and body) is in the image of God. I haven’t read anywhere that the body is not part of the image of God. But perhaps the way St John Paul II puts it is the way to go.

      It is not simply the soul that is in the image of God because otherwise why do we have bodies? Yet, as you say, God does not have a body, so how can this be in God’s image?

      As for whether other parts of creation are in God’s image, I am not sure. Humanity is in the image of God. I seem to recall St John of Damascus (Doctor of the Catholic Church) saying in his magnificent ‘On the Orthodox Faith’ that angels are also in God’s image. Humans bridge the gap between spiritual existence and physical existence because in ourselves we are the only creatures which are both spiritual and physical. We have souls/spirits and bodies. Angels only are spirits.

      As for humans have imperfect spirits, I’m not sure I said this. Our spirits/souls are made in the image of God and are therefore perfect and very good. But we also participate in sin and the fall from God. We have original sin. And this affects even our spirits and souls.

      This begins to be washed away from us at baptism and then right through our lives by participation in the sacraments and prayer and other means.

      This is why our goal in life is to be led out from sin and death into the glorious life of divine living, where our souls can be perfected as much as possible and filled with God, and that God can shine through out bodies.

      Hope that helps. Thanks for your questions.

      God bless


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