May 14, 2017

Reflection on the 6th Sunday of Easter: The Holy Spirit is Love Personified

Holy Spirit

The following is excerpted from Fr. Irvin’s homily and a reflection by Fr. Butler

“The Holy Spirit, the Person of the Holy Trinity who is Love personified, acts internally within each one of us. The Holy Spirit is present within our hearts and souls, animating, vivifying, and inspiring us. We can never see the Holy Spirit as separate and apart — standing alone. The Holy Spirit lives and breathes within our souls. We see the Holy Spirit in our actions and in the actions of others.

The Bible assigns several different names to the Holy Spirit, identifying Him as the Consoler, the Advocate, the Sanctifier, and the Paraclete. As the bible presents Him, the Holy Spirit protects and defends us against our Ancient Enemy. He is our Advocate, the One who stands with us particularly when we feel worthless, useless, and of no value in God’s eyes. His consolations strengthen us when we feel weak, inadequate, and powerless.

The word “Paraclete” in Greek translates into English as “to be beside one”. The Holy Spirit stands beside us; He is our Advocate, our Counselor, and our Guide. Jesus bids us to look to the gifts of the Holy Spirit to work within us – Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, Counsel, and Reverence for the Lord, Strength, and so forth. For us, He is the Empowering One given to us by the Risen Christ. The Evil One seeks to weaken us; the Holy Spirit strengthens us.

The Holy Spirit vivifies us and animates us, that is to say He enlivens us; He gives us a sharing in God’s life. He is beside us to defend us when we are depressed. When the sacraments of the devil beset us, the Holy Spirit is our Advocate, our Counsel in order that we might defend ourselves.

And what are those sacraments of the devil? Well, they all begin with “d’s”, just as does the word devil. His sacraments (and there are seven of them) are doubt, disillusionment, discouragement, depression, defeat, despair and death. We need our Advocate, our Consoler, our Defender, our Paraclete, the “one called to be beside us” when we face doubt, disillusionment, discouragement, depression, defeat, despair and death, those works of the devil.

And just like love, we discern the Holy Spirit’s presence within us when we cause external things to happen – when we act and engage with the world around us. The Holy Spirit comes to us so that we in turn will stand beside others and console them with our deeds."

Fr. René Butler observes, "[T]he Holy Spirit, [is] presented in the New Testament as a dove, wind, fire, and called 'Paraclete,' which in turn is translated sometimes as Comforter and sometimes as Advocate. The hymn 'Veni Sancte Spiritus' calls on the Spirit to 'melt the frozen, warm the chill,' just after describing the Spirit as 'Grateful coolness in the heat.'

But all this isn’t so strange as it might at first appear. The key lies in John 3:8, “The wind blows where it wills… but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.” (See 1 Corinthians 12, Galatians 5:22-23 for just a few examples.) The Spirit is “spontaneous,” unpredictable, bestowing extraordinary gifts, often on unsuspecting, unlikely persons, precisely to meet a particular need in the Church or the world."

Almighty ever-living God, who willed the Paschal Mystery to be encompassed as a sign in fifty days, grant that from out of the scattered nations the confusion of many tongues may be gathered by heavenly grace into one great confession of your name. This we ask through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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