How the Holy Spirits guides and influences the Church
One of the ways the Holy Spirit guides and influences the Church is through the Magisterium, whom he assists (CCC, 688). The Magisterium is the teaching authority of the church. This consists of the bishops and the Pope who is the head of bishops and successor of Peter (Ave Maria Press, 28). The Magisterium is responsible for setting the day to day teachings and establishing the beliefs of the church. When they present a doctrine as final or definitive, it comes under a special protection under the church and is infalliable or, in other words, it can't be in error. Therefore, the Magisterium must be very cautious when interpreting the word and setting final doctrines as their authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ (ewtn.com). However, the word of the Magisterium is still not superior to God's Word. Therefore, what is taught by them is what has been revealed to them with the help of the Holy Spirit (CCC, 85-86). By having the Holy Spirit guide them, they are able to lead the church in the direction God has planned.
"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you," (John 14:26). As Jesus said to his apostle and disciples, the Holy Spirit is here to guide us and lead us towards God's Word. Therefore, the Holy Spirit guides the Magisterium as they guide the church toward God's Word.
Another way the Holy Spirit guides and influences the Church is through the witness of saints through whom he reveals his holiness and continues the work of salvation (Ave Maria Press, 28) (CCC, 688). The Holy Spirit uses the saints to provide us with a human example of his holiness. Through them, he guides them to lead a Holy life that will continue the work of salvation. They first must yield their lives to God and be open and fully accepting of Him and His message. By yielding to God's will, they can fully accept God and the Holy Spirit (bible.org). The Holy Spirit then leads them to live a life of holiness that models the holiness of the Spirit. Their good deeds and their desire to spread the Word of God continues the work of salvation as they touch people's lives. Their selflessness and love are models for all Catholics to follow so that we may too listen to the Holy a Spirit and spread God's Word.
"Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own," (1 Corinthians 6:19). This verse says that we are all hosts for the Holy Spirit. To live a saintly life, we must simply understand this and accept the Holy Spirit and his guidance.
Examples of the Holy Spirit's Presence in the Church
A contemporary example of the Holy Spirit's presence in the Church is Pope Francis. Pope Francis serves as the head and leader of the Magisterium and the Church. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is present in the Church through him. He is guided by the Holy Spirit to fearlessly proclaim the beliefs of the Church, presenting and finalizing doctrines of the faith, and to follow in the footsteps of St. Peter as he leads the Church to emulate the Word of the Lord (catholicphilly.com)
Another example of the Holy Spirit's presence in the Church is Mother Teresa, now Saint Teresa of Calcutta. She accepted and cooperated with the Holy Spirit and became a devoted disciple of Christ. She allowed the Holy Spirit to take over her life and follow his lead (thepracticingcatholic.com). By allowing the Spirit to guide her she became a great model of Holiness and exemplified all the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit that we are sealed with at our Confirmation. Her good deeds, her endless love, her unflailing devotion to God, and her desire to spread the Word of God show a perfect example of the Holy Spirit's presence in the Church.
Another example of the Holy Spirit's presence in the Church is within myself. Whenever I feel lost, the Holy Spirit guides me. He always steers me back towards the path that will lead me to God and the truth.
"But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come,” (John 16:13).
The Holy Spirit as a Continuation of Jesus and His Ministry
"When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them," (Acts 2:1-4).
“‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved,'" (Acts 2:17-21).
These passages recount the events that took place at the Pentecost. As explained in these verses, the Apostles were gathered in the upper room amongst others for the feast of the Pentecost. During the celebration, however, the room was filled with violent wind and the Holy Spirit descended on everyone in the form of tongues of fire. Peter then began to speak to everyone about Jesus and the story of salvation, and although many spoke other languages, they all understood and were able communicate. He told them, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit,” (Acts 2:38). So, that day, thousands of people were baptized (Ave Maria Press, 27-28). This was an extremely important event in our Church history. Because the apostles received the Holy Spirit and told others how to do the same, the Holy Spirit could now guide all of Christ's believers to evangelize and live life in accordance to Jesus' words and therefore, continue His ministry. Today, this looks similar to right after the Pentecost. We must allow the Holy Spirit to guide us toward Jesus and how he wanted us to live and evangelize both by setting an example of holiness and by preaching the Word of God.
This project was a bit different than normal being an individual project. Normally, in a group project, there's less of a workload that you need to handle alone since you have partners that are supposed to split it with you. However, there are some disadvantages. In a group project, you don't learn and absorb everything and thoroughly as in an individual project. In an individual project, it can be a bit burdensome to do everything alone. However, you learn more information, you can design your project to your style rather then fitting in the style of several people, and you can relate more personally to the product. Though this project did come with some challenges, such as finding valid internet sources, it taught me to be persistent and make the most of the materials given to me.
Looking at the information I included and researched, this all relates to me because I have the Holy Spirit in me. Through my Confirmation, I was officially sealed with the Holy Spirit but he has always been with me guiding me to make choices that would lead me towards God. I have a responsibility as a Confirmed Catholic to continue Jesus' ministry with the help of the Holy Spirit so that I can hope to one day be saved. Another conclusion I made from my research is that through the Holy Spirit, we are all united into one body of the Church and that if we all followed the lead of the Holy Spirit, the world would be a more Holy and perfect place.