As previously noted, I'm enrolled in Notre Dame's STEP program and currently taking the Core Course: Introduction to the Catholic Faith. This week's class focused on the Church. This week's assignment question is:
Explain the link between the Holy Spirit and the Church.
As always I am limited to the stated maximum of 200 words.
I believe that, prior to Pentecost, the Church was merely inchoate. Acts 1-2 tells us that they were gathered together in the upper room (it just occurred to me to wonder of that was the same room as where they held the last Supper?), but they had not really launched on the tasks set out in the Great Commission. Apparently, it was only when the Holy Spirt came upon them at Pentecost that they began preaching to the public rather than praying amongst themselves.
Today, the Holy Spirit sustains, guides, and empowers the Church. As the Catechism explains (para. 736), "By this power of the Spirit, God's children can bear much fruit. He who has grafted us onto the true vine will make us bear 'the fruit of the Spirit: . . . love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control..'"
We encounter the Holy Spirit in the sacraments. The baptism seals us with the Holy Spirit. In the Eucharist, it is the Holy Spirit who effects the transubstantiation of the bread and wine. The Holy Spirt convinces us of sin and prompts us to seek Reconciliation.