by Lt. Col. Vicky Blancaflor
John 14: 16-17“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always – the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you.”
I pondered these verses days ago when it was one of the gospel readings. It was an amazing declaration by Jesus to his Apostles on the eve of His Ascension and one of the most mind-bending — that Jesus ‘remain’ and would be “in” them. How could that be since He was leaving to go back to the Father. To compound their confusion, Jesus even mentioned giving them an “Advocate – the Spirit of truth” as the world would reject their message. Jesus’ message of Love and Salvation was disrupting the status quo of beliefs and traditions during that time.
Jesus -> in me
Spirit (of truth) -> Advocate
Theologians for centuries must have deconstructed that verse so many times over but what struck me was how powerful understanding this paradigm could be — if we believed that Jesus is “in us, “the Spirit could give us the means to magnify Jesus’ message in words and deeds to the world. And in effect, changing the world according to His plan.
I had also come across this prayer during retreats – ‘Come Holy Spirit:’
“Come Holy Spirit
Fill the hearts of your faithful
And kindle in them the fire of Your love.
Send forth your Spirit
And we shall be created
And He shall renew the face of the earth.”
This prayer hints on the power of the Holy Spirit – to change us from within. Jesus says he sends the Spirit of truth, as Truth in itself is a powerful tool. During contemplation, we ask the Holy Spirit to accompany us, to be “in” us, to seek the truth about ourselves by accepting our shortcomings, sins and weaknesses. But despondence will not overcome us — because His Spirit ingrains healing of the heart and spirit’s wounds. This process of healing then can make us find in ourselves the courage to act and be the person God wills us to be – to be His advocate too in this world and be part of His plan to “renew” the earth.
Sometimes we wonder why are we able to dispense good advice and give comfort to others despite our weaknesses and past sins? Or why are we able to love those who hate us? How are we able to understand why evil and selfishness thrive but still continue to do good works for others and have a positive outlook in life? Why do we continue doing what we do for our community and our country despite the current debilitating situations in our flawed society?
It’s true. It is because the Spirit, and Jesus, is in us.
Let us ponder the gifts of the Holy Spirit:
Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Piety, Holy Fear of God, Fortitude, and Knowledge
Dear Holy Spirit,
Help us change
And our hearts.
So that we, too, may believe --
We are empowered by Thee
To renew our society and humanity
In this borrowed time on earth.
*photo from gssc.net