Holy Spirit Symbols, Names and Charisms

What should we ask the Holy Spirit in our prayer? How should we name him and how should we address him?  It sometimes seems easier just to pray to God, our Father in Heaven or Jesus, our saviour and our friend.  But what relationship do we have with the third person of the Trinity in Christianity?  Through his different symbols, his different names and his charisms, find out where and how the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives.

How to Pray to the Holy Spirit? Holy Spirit Symbols and Names

In the Bible, we find the Holy Spirit invoked in different ways.  These varied evocations enlighten His characteristics and teach us to discern them a little better in our lives.
He is everywhere and essential.  He is the “creator breath” which was breathed into Adam. He animates us, inspires us.

“The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”  (Job. 33: 4). He is the Spirit of life.

Free, invisible and powerful, no-one stops Him, and no-one captures Him.  He journeys over the world and goes beyond our capacity of perception.  Jesus said to Nicodemus “The wind blows where it wills and you hear the sound of it but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”  (John 3:8)

He is also purity and gentleness.  We feel this when He is sent by God in the form of a dove, during the baptism of Jesus.  “And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opened and the Spirit descending upon him like a dove” (Mark 1:10)  

Jesus - talking of the Holy Spirit - evokes the Consoler and the Paraclete, that is to say the advocate.  He is sent as the Spirit of Truth to accompany us, to uphold us in the struggle against evil.  “The Paraclete, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you everything and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26)  

He is also represented by the living water, because it is the Holy Spirit who quenches our thirst. Just as water is indispensable to life, the Holy Spirit is indispensable to eternal life.  Water is also one of the symbols of baptism which opens us up to the Spirit and to eternal life. “Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never be thirsty;  the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14)

In the Acts of the Apostles, the Holy Spirit appears at Pentecost in the form of tongues of fire over the Apostles, bringing them different gifts for their prophetic mission.  He is the ardent fire which warms but also purifies, enflames and consumes “And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them.” (Acts of the Apostles 2:3)

These different comparisons bring forward the invisible free and powerful action of the Holy Spirit but also the change and purification that he brings about in us (like fire or water) and his capacity to animate us.  He is a power to which nothing resists, like the fire or the wind.  However, he is also gentleness, tenderness and consolation, like the light breath, the white dove, the caress of clear water.

There are also many other symbols such as oil (unction), the seal, the finger, the hand (in particular the imposition of hands).

What to Ask of the Holy Spirit? The Gifts and Charisms of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit then, can quench our thirst, transform us, revive us, uphold us, guide us… Opening our hearts to His action, means first and foremost to open our hearts to Love and to the Mercy of God.

But the Holy Spirit can act in us to help us to work to the edification of the Church, to be workers for the Kingdom of God.  As Christians, we are part of the Body of Christ, Body animated by the Spirit.  He enables us to enter into the plan of God that includes us and goes beyond us.

For that, as for the Apostles during Pentecost, He can offer us charisms.  These are the gifts of the Spirit which each one of us can receive and put at the service of others and of the Lord.  The charisms we receive will not be the same for every one of us.  It is therefore with confidence and abandonment that we must ask them from the Holy Spirit and it is with humility, generosity and goodwill that we must share them.

“To  each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.  To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.  All these are inspired by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.” (1 Corinthians 12: 7-11)

Pray to the Holy Spirit with Hozana !

On  Hozana, find many spiritual offerings to learn to know the Holy Spirit better and to quench your thirst at this source of living water!

  • Allow yourself to be transformed by the Spirit of Life by registering for an online retreat with prayers, instruction from Pope Francis and videos with The seven gifts of the Holy Ghost
  • Join people who express their prayer and worship in their own artistic ways with One Hope Project
  • Take a look and see how the Holy Spirit has affected people in the Bible and pray together for the Breath of God to come down on you and change your life: RUAH—Breathe through me, Holy Spirit!