The third "person" of Christianity's Holy Trinity. May be related to the Jewish idea of shekinah-- sometimes thought of as Divine Wisdom. Some people believe the Holy Spirit is the desexed remnant of the feminine face of God. Others see it as the "divine spark" or presence of God in all people.

According to the Christian Trinity, God is in three parts; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. When one makes the sign of the cross on their chest, the Holy Spirit is the part where they touch their shoulders. It was formerly and still is also known as the Holy Ghost or Sancte Spiritus

Christians believe (from the Bible) that when Jesus forecasted his death and resurrection, he said that he would have to leave his followers for a while, but that the Holy Spirit would come. This is known as the Pentecost.

"On the day of Pentecost all the Lord's followers were together in one place. Suddenly there was a noise from heaven like the sound of a mighty wind! It filled the home where they were meeting. Then they saw what looked like fiery tongues moving in all directions, and a tongue came and settled on each person there. The Holy Spirit took control of everyone, and they began speaking whatever language the spirit let them speak." (Acts,2:1-6)
From that day on, each of the apostles was guided by the Holy Spirit. It has no body, but is considered God Himself in a spiritual form. God fills their mind and guides them. In the bible, each of the apostles was then guided by God to perform miracles as Jesus had done, and lost their fear of death.

The Sacrament of Confirmation is supposed to fill the receiver with the Holy Spirit. It's how God influences things on Earth, since He has ceased to speak to Man.

Catholics believe that since Jesus passed down the Holy Spirit to his Apostles, they in turn "recruited" others, which since then lets bishops ordain priests with the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the force that allows Transsubstantiation, where the Wine turns into the Blood of Jesus and the bread into His body. When the priest holds it up and the bell rings, the Holy Spirit is supposedly there and performing the miracle. According to the Nicene Creed, the Holy Spirit proceeds from both The Father and The Son. Such is the belief the Catholic faith demands.

Also, the Holy Spirit is what "inspired" the authors of the Bible and guided them with what to write. It is said that God would never let any of them make a mistake in such important words, so the Holy Spirit must have been present.

The Holy Spirit is supposed to be "mysterious" in the Trinity. It's said by priests that God and Jesus' love for mankind was so fantastically great that it spawned a third, the Holy Spirit is a result of all the coalesced love, and sets people in the right direction.

All Christians believe in it, regardless of denomination. Baptists make a big show of when they feel the Holy Spirit has filled their hearts from their faith, Evangelical ones will jump up and down saying Halleleujiah in church loudly. Catholics believe that the Pope takes his guidance from the Holy Spirit. He can't communicate with God directly, and Jesus isn't back yet, so the Holy Spirit leads him into making decisions. The Holy Spirit must guide him, as God would never let the Pope mislead His followers against what God wants.

For a better definition, ask your local priest or minister, as there is some difference in interpretation.
Also, check out the Catholic Encyclopedia's entry:

Christians, beware! Don't just get up and bad-mouth the Holy Spirit!
"I tell you that any sinful thing you do or say can be forgiven. Even if you speak against the Son of Man, you can be forgiven. But if you speak against the Holy Spirit, you can never be forgiven, either in this life or in the life to come." -Attributed to Jesus, New Testament book of Matthew
Some interpret that as you should never ever badmouth that part of the trinity. Others say that since God is not going to punish anybody except those who deliberately sin against their conscience, then this expresses that ideology.

Interestingly enough, Muslims believe in a Holy Spirit "Ruh Quddus" but he is clearly defined in the Quran as the angel Gabriel (pbuh) and not part of nor God.

Holy spirit exist both in Bible and Quran. Comparison between religious texts existing in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam will be made below to provide a broader understanding of how holy spirit is presented in the three religions.

"They ask thee concerning the Spirit (of inspiration). Say: "The Spirit (cometh) by command of my Lord: of knowledge it is only a little that is communicated to you, (O men!)" (Quran, 17:85)

Holy Spirit in Islam has two functions

First, it creates our spirits. Allah breathes his spirit in people.

"But He fashioned him in due proportion, and breathed into him something of His Spirit. And He gave you (the faculties of) hearing and sight and feeling (and understanding): little thanks do ye give!" (Quran, 32:9)

"When I have fashioned him (in due proportion) and breathed into him of My Spirit, fall ye down in obeisance unto him." (Quran, 38:72)

"When I have fashioned him (in due proportion) and breathed into him of My Spirit, fall ye down in obeisance unto him." (Quran, 15:29)"

"And (remember) her who guarded her chastity: We breathed into her of Our Spirit, and We made her and her son a sign for all peoples." (Quran, 21:91)

"And Mary the daughter of 'Imran, who guarded her chastity; and We breathed into (her body) of Our Spirit; and she testified to the truth of the words of her Lord and of His Revelations, and was one of th devout (servants). (Quran, 66:12)

Second, it is used to give divine guidance to people.

"Raised high above ranks (or degrees), (He is) the Lord of the Throne (of Authority): by His Command doth He send the Spirit (of inspiration) to any of His servants he pleases, that it may warn (men) of the Day of Mutual Meeting,-" (Quran, 40:15)

"Say, the Holy Spirit has brought the Revelation from thy Lord in Truth, in order to strengthen those who believe, and as a Guide and Glad Tidings to Muslims." (Quran, 16:102)

"Thou wilt not find any people who believe in God and the Last Day, loving those who resist God and His Apostle, even though they were their fathers or their sons, or their brothers, or their kindred. For such He has written Faith in their hearts, and strengthened them with a Spirit from Himself. And He will admit them to Gardens beneath which Rivers flow, to dwell therein (for ever). God will be well pleased with them, and they with Him. They are the Party of God. Truly it is the Party of God that will achieve Felicity. (The Noble Quran, 58:22)"

"Then will God say: "O Jesus the son of Mary! Recount My favour to thee and to thy mother. Behold! I strengthened thee with the Holy Spirit, so that thou didst speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. Behold! I taught thee the Book and Wisdom, the Law and the Gospel and behold! thou makest out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, by My leave, and thou breathest into it and it becometh a bird by My leave, and thou healest those born blind, and the lepers, by My leave. And behold! thou bringest forth the dead by My leave. And behold! I did restrain the Children of Israel from (violence to) thee when thou didst show them the clear Signs, and the unbelievers among them said: 'This is nothing but evident magic.'" (Quran, 5:110)

Holy spirit function in the Bible.

Below Biblical verses are similar to the ones presented in Quran.

"When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth." (Psalm 104:30)

"Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?" (Psalm 139:7)

"Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground." (Psalm 143:10)

Psalm 104:30 agrees with Quran 32:9, 38:72, 15:29, 21:91, 66:12. Moreover, Psalm 143:10 agrees with Quran 40:15, 16:102, 58:22, 5:110.

Holy Spirit is a creation of God, it is not God, or part of God, it is beneath God and is commanded by God according to Islam.

"The Day that the Spirit and the Angels will stand forth in ranks, none shall speak except any who is permitted by (God) Most Gracious, and He will say what is right." (Quran, 78:38)

"A questioner asked about a Penalty to befall- The Unbelievers, the which there is none to ward off,- (A Penalty) from God, Lord of the Ways of Ascent. The Angels and the Spirit ascend unto Him in a Day the measure whereof is (as) fifty thousand years: Therefore do thou hold Patience,- a Patience of beautiful (contentment). " (Quran, 70:1-5)

"Therein come down the Angels and the Spirit by God's permission, on every errand: (Quran, 97:4)"

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