“When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me. And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning. I have told you this so that you may not fall away. They will expel you from the synagogues; in fact, the hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God. They will do this because they have not known either the Father or me. I have told you this so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you. ( John 15:26-16:4)
Jesus, speaking in the setting of the last supper, tells his disciples that he is speaking to them in the way he is so that ‘your faith may not be shaken’. Jesus was aware that beyond the time of his death and resurrection, his disciples’ faith in him would be shaken and put to the test.
He knows that suffering will come their way, in the form of persecution and hostility, and suffering might be undermining of their faith in him. The words of Jesus to his disciples can speak to our experience. Our own faith can be shaken by various experiences. Sometimes it is personal suffering through the illness or death of a loved one, sometimes it is through the efforts of others to undermine our faith, or the failures of people of faith or family members whom we trusted – all of these experiences and many others can contribute to our faith being shaken.
Jesus makes a promise to his disciples, and to all of us. He promises to send the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit, and he tells us that this Spirit will enable us to witness to him, even in the dark experiences of life. He wants them, and us, to know that we will never be alone. His presence is always with us. The paraclete (translated as one who is close by us) is there.
The power of our Lord is beyond words and comprehension. Even in those times when our prayers seem not to be answered, the Holy Spirit is there to guide us, to hold our hand, to show us a way out of the darkness, to remind us that our faith is a gift from God. The giver will always be there to. It is truly the gift that never ends.
The need for reassurance in our faith is even greater, for most of us live in a distraction-filled world. Most modern Christians have the vocation of living the Gospel and being wives, husbands, religious, ministers and priests as well. Then there are the vocations imposed on them by their various professions. Sometimes. It not very easy to be able to experience the effect of the resurrection in our lives. Each of us needs all the help we can get. That is accomplished in us by the power of the Holy Spirit. We need him for the progress of that ongoing conversion that must characterize our lives as Christians. We need the Spirit that Jesus speaks.
We need to make ourselves aware of the Holy Spirit within us. To many, it is amorphous. But the Spirit is as real as the other two aspects of God: the Son and the father.
When our faith feels fragile, there can be no better prayer to pray than, ‘Come Holy Spirit, fill my heart’ or in that lovely prayer to the Holy Spirit, ‘Heal our wounds, our strength renew; On our dryness pour thy dew’.
Prayer of The Day
“O merciful God, fill our hearts, we pray, with the graces of your Holy Spirit; with love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control. Teach us to love those who hate us; to pray for those who despitefully use us; that we may be the children of your love, our Father, who makes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. In adversity grant us grace to be patient; in prosperity keep us humble; may we guard the door of our lips; may we lightly esteem the pleasures of this world, and thirst after heavenly things; through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Prayer of Anselm, 1033-1109)