Monday of the Fifth Week of Easter, May 20
The Spirit of the Living God Is Given to Each of Us As a Most Wondrous Gift Who Guides Us Through Life, Inspiring Us, Strengthening Us, Always Filling Us with His Love.
We hear our Lord speaking to us in today’s Gospel, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words.”
And these words bring to mind a conversation I had with a particular young woman many years ago. She had left the Church and was living a lifestyle which was calling her further and further away from the faith into which she was raised. Hers was a life filled with acts of impropriety, and she was also raising her children within this rather unhealthy environment.
She began sharing the circumstances of her life; and in the course of listening to her story, her temperament, in an unfortunate surprise, took a turn for the worse, in that she began to become very cynical and verbally abusive; and, in defense of the lifestyle she was living, she would begin to berate and criticize the faith which you and I hold so dear.
I felt very sad that particular day, for I was not able to connect with her. I could only pray that, in time, God’s Spirit would slowly soften her heart to the point where I or someone else might have the opportunity once again to reach out to her with love and compassion, and, prayerfully, she would listen with an open mind and an open heart to all that God was asking of her.
As I look back on this conversation so long ago, she is representative of so many other people in this world who only wish to listen to their idea of truth, a truth which suffers from a moral and spiritual relativism, whereby God’s Truth is ignored and only secular truth – a decaying and perverse idea that says “I can do whatever I want, as long as it doesn’t hurt me or anyone else I care about” is the sort of truth they live by.
It is a truth which relies on our creation of secular idols, be it money, fame, fashion, sex, power – in other words, those elements in our world which give us a false sense of happiness. For it is a happiness which is void of any real spirituality in the One True God; it is truly absent of the Holy Spirit Himself.
And this Spirit of Enlightenment, this Spirit of Truth is the theme which we find coursing its way through today’s Readings.
In our First Reading, we find Paul and Barnabas preaching the good news of Jesus Christ in the city of Lystra, a Roman colony. But they soon realized that there were obstacles to overcome, due to cultural differences between Christianity and the pagan lifestyle practiced by its inhabitants.
The pagan belief that the gods made occasional appearances among human beings led the people astray in misinterpreting the miracle performed by Paul in healing the crippled man. This incident teaches us that the early Church had some real difficulties with which it had to cope in order for Christianity to grow.
And the Scriptures of the Old Testament give witness to the many times which God’s chosen people would succumb to the deceptions and falsehoods of idolatry. In our psalm for today, we hear our psalmist introduce us to the lifeless idols of non-believers. And in the verses which are not included in today’s Reading, we read words which mock the gods of the Gentiles –
“They have mouths but do not speak, eyes but do not see. They have ears but do not hear, noses but do not smell. They have hands but do not feel, feet but do not walk, and no sound rises from their throats. Their makers will be like them, and anyone who trusts in them.”
And for all of God’s children who refused to pervert their faith from the One True God, His Spirit of Truth would guide and enlighten them, so that they would prevail over the many trials and difficulties which life sometimes threw at them, reassuring them of His providential Love.
In today’s Gospel, we find Jesus doing the same, reassuring His chosen disciples of His unending Presence with them. And He tells them and us that if we love Him and keep His word, Jesus and His Father will dwell in us, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.”
Jesus also gives to us, in today’s passage, a most beautiful term for the Holy Spirit, “the Advocate”, whom the Father will send to teach and remind them of everything that Jesus had taught.
This Holy Spirit of Truth is a most wondrous Gift given to us by our Heavenly Father, for this Advocate and Enlightener of His Truth encourages us to have confidence in the abiding Presence of the Risen Christ! This Spirit of Truth constantly teaches us and reminds us of everything Jesus has taught, if we only allow ourselves to remain open to His Loving Presence and ask for His help.
And yet, sadly it is the Advocate who is so poorly understood by Christians. And this is part of the mystery of our faith, for the Advocate, whom we know to be the Holy Spirit, is the Third Person of the Most Blessed Trinity.
If there is an easy way to explain this most profound Truth, and there really isn’t, I would say (as it was taught to me so long ago) that the Love between the Father and the Son is so infinitely great, that this Eternal Love Itself begets a Third Person, co-eternal and co-equal with the Father and the Son.
And it is this Third Person, this Advocate whom Jesus promises to send us, who constantly speaks and intercedes for us before the Throne of the Eternal Father. It is He who teaches and enlightens us, who supports and strengthens us, who constantly sanctifies us in our faith, if we only remain faithful to all that our Lord has taught us and expects of us.
This most wondrous Gift, and I spell this word with a capital “G”, is God’s way of keeping the gift of faith alive and growing in our hearts. This most wondrous Gift helps us to love, helps us to be virtuous, helps us to grow in personal sanctity.
The Spirit of God teaches us and inspires us. He guides us through life, through this vale of tears, so that we may not lose hope. This most wondrous and astounding Gift is truly Love Itself. For this is Jesus’ way of always remaining with us, as He said, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth…”
I continue to pray for this young woman, whom I had mentioned earlier, that she will one day be opened to the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and will be accepting of all that our God of Love and Mercy wishes to share with her. And that her children will also be enlightened to follow the path which leads to eternal life. I pray this same prayer for all of the world’s children, so that our world may truly be a better place, a holier place, a truly happier place in which to live.
No matter how bleak the future may appear at times with all that is occurring throughout the world, let us remember the words our Lord once gave to us: “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”
And let each of us always open our hearts to His Loving Presence in our daily lives. For He has given us His Spirit, the Advocate, to inspire us, to be our help and our strength – never abandoning us, and who will always fill us with His Love. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words.” (John 14:23b-24a)
- “The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name – he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.” (John 14:26)
- “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth…” (John 14:16-17a)
- “In the same way, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings. And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because it intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will.” (Romans 8:26-27)
- “And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us.” (Romans 5:5)
- “Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and proclaimed to them ‘…this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: ‘It will come to pass in the last days’, God says, ‘that I will pour out a portion of my spirit upon all flesh.’’” (Acts 2:14a, 16-17a ~ Joel 3:1a)
- “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law…If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:22-23, 25)
- “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20b)
Prayer for the Day
“O Divine Spirit, Spirit of Truth and of Light,
Dwell ever in my soul by Your Divine grace.
May Your breath dissipate the darkness,
And in this light may good deeds be multiplied.
“O Divine Spirit, Spirit of Love and of Mercy,
Who pour the balm of trust into my heart,
Your grace confirms my soul in good,
Giving it the invincible power of constancy.
“O Divine Spirit, Spirit of Peace and of Joy,
You invigorate my thirsting heart
And pour into it the living fountain of God’s Love,
Making it intrepid for battle.
“O Divine Spirit, my soul’s most welcome Guest,
For my part, I want to remain faithful to You;
Both in days of joy and in the agony of suffering,
I want always, O Spirit of God, to live in Your Presence.
“O Divine Spirit, who pervade my whole being
And give me to know Your Divine Triune Life,
And lead me into the mystery of Your Divine Being,
Initiating me into Your Divine Essence,
Thus, united to You, I will live a life without end.”Saint Maria Faustina (Diary, 1411)