As Jesus was about to retire for the evening, a man named Nicodemus visited him. Nicodemus is very sympathetic toward Christ’s mission. During their conversation with each other, Christ puts forth the eternal truth that “Unless a man is born again he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus, not completely understanding what Christ was saying, thinks that Christ means entering the womb a second time. Christ explains that what he meant was that a man was born first of the flesh, that is through the mother’s womb, as was natural to all human beings. But to be born again, means to be born of the Spirit, which was not natural to all human beings. To be born of Spirit means that God enters into a person and changes them, recreates their orientation here on this Earth. They become a “new person.”
Christ likens the Spirit to the “wind:” “The wind blows where it wills. You hear it, but don’t know where it came from or where it is going. So is it like for the person born of the Spirit.” Why does Christ relate the Spirit, which is the Holy Spirit, to the wind? We should examine the description that Christ provides: a person can hear it but cannot see it. One does not know its beginning or its destination.
This is a theological statement. The Holy Spirit has no beginning or end. He is the third person of the Trinity—uncreated. We can hear Him; but we cannot see Him. In other words, he speaks to the innermost part of our being directing us to live for Christ but we cannot see from where he is speaking.
Another meaning is that we cannot control the Holy Spirit. He will go as he wishes. Enter as he wishes. Leave as he wishes. No man, no church can claim to hold or control the Holy Spirit.
When the Spirit changes a person, it is God completely making the change. Man cannot change anyone through the sacraments of the Church, unless and until, the Spirit makes our lives a Sacrament. Then, the Spirit leads us to take the sacraments in the most meaningful way. For example, a bishop can ordain a priest but it is the Spirit that continuously sanctifies the priest. In fact, it was the Spirit that worked through the bishop to ordain the priest. When a person overcomes addiction it is the Spirit that provides the strength to overcome that vice.
The Spirit controls the person who lives for Christ. This is evident in the lives of the Saints. The person who is controlled by the Spirit has allowed ever part of his being, his existence to be saturated by the Spirit. So also are the gifts provided by the Spirit—who can explain such miracles—they are given by the Spirit for those living in the Spirit.