He Will Give You an Advocate
Reflection on John 14: 15-21
Paraclete is a word used only by John in the New Testament. It can mean legal advocate or counsel, an intercessor, a helper, a teacher, or comforter. One thing we know is that the Holy Spirit—the Paraclete—helps us work out our relationship with God and one another. He’s not just the ghost in the machine, but the Holy Ghost among us.
We can think of the Holy Spirit as the Person of God’s love dwelling in believers, and who bears witness to Christ’s teaching. This is why Jesus says he is the Spirit of Truth (Jn 14:17). However, the Spirit is more than a guide to knowledge of the Father or of the Son. The Spirit a Person who is the Love of God.
When think about how we experience love in our own personal relationships, we get a better sense of this elusive Spirit. Love is personal. Love is beautiful! Love seems to live in our heart. We can ponder, cherish and communicate our love to others.
But how do we make sense of Jesus’ teaching that the Spirit helps us understand that he is in the Father; that we are in him, and that he is in us (Jn 14:20)? The Spirit is more than just our love; the Spirit weaves all our lives together and this Love is alive in our hearts. The gifts of the Spirit enable us to be mindful of our loved ones, making them interiorly present to us, through the unifying power of that Love.
As interior, and at the same time transcending our personal experience, our grasp of the Spirit remains ever elusive. We know the Spirit as the Love that binds us together. The way to know Him as a Person, is to surrender ourselves to that unifying love Who is God.
Unity: The Only Way to Know Him
Unity is one effect of Love we seldom speak about. If the same Spirit is in us, and among us, then we should be of the same mind and heart. In our community we are many, and all having competing desires for ourselves and our community. People’s ideas and desires come into conflict with the differing desires of others, causing division. Clashing is a reality. And that conflict originates in our heart and in our mind.
This conflict can be resolved. God has sent us the Spirit of unity. The real gift of the Spirit is the ability to transcend our differences because we put Love 1st. Putting Love 1st we know the second Person of the Trinity first hand. Is there a life more beautiful than one surrendered to Love? Just as I Jesus reduced the 10-commandments to 2, with the coming of the Holy Spirit this is reduced to one, through concrete acts of love directed to both God and neighbour. Put Love 1st!
Postscript: Love is interior to us, and interior to the community we live in. Love transcends, Love binds, and that Love is God’s self, given to us as the paraclete and advocate of all that binds us together as one: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. My advice (a) surrender yourself to Love – put Love 1st! (b) get to know the Spirit in Person (c) enjoy the fruits of unity 😊 Thanks be to God