Blog # 301 The Holy Spirit / death
A couple of weeks ago I was particularly impressed by a reading dating back to St. Hilary, a Bishop in the Church in the middle of the fourth Century. First he quotes some of the words of Jesus given in the Scriptures with regard to the Holy Spirit then shares a few of his own thoughts.
"Our Lord has described the purpose of the Spirit's presence in us. Let us listen to His words: I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot hear them now. It is to your advantage that I go away; If I go, I will send you the Advocate. And also: I will ask the Father and He sill send you another Counselor to be with you for ever, the Spirit of Truth, He will guide you unto all the truth...( Jn. 16: 7, 12, 13).
"Since our limited minds cannot comprehend the Father or the Son, we have been given the Holy Spirit as our intermediary and advocate, to shed light on the hard doctrine of our faith, the incarnation of God. We receive the Spirit of Truth so that we can know the things of God. In order to grasp this, consider how useless the faculties of the human body would become if they were denied their exercise. Our eyes cannot fulfill their task without light, either natural or artificial; our ears cannot react without sound vibrations, and in the absence of any odor our nostrils are ignorant of their function. Not that these senses would lose their own nature if they were not used; rather, they demand objects of experience in order to function. It is the same with the human soul. Unless it absorbs the light of the Spirit through faith, the mind has the ability to know God but lacks the light necessary for that knowledge.
This unique gift which is in Christ is offered in its fullness to everyone. It is everywhere available, but it is given to each person in proportion to our readiness to receive I. Its presence is the fuller the greater a person's desire to be worthy of it. This gift will remain with us until the end of the world, and will be our comfort in the time of waiting. By the favors it bestows it is the pledge of our hope for the future, the light of our minds, and the splendor that irradiates our understanding".
I found it impressive to realize these words came from a Bishop who was born almost sixteen hundred years ago and yet could be applied so well and meaningfully by us in our current moment of history, Such a realization demands a process. As with some of the passages of Scripture, their full meaning requires a slow reflective and prayerful reading and re-reading to stimulate further thought.
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Here is a prayer I am offering to the Holy Spirit on the occasion of the very sudden death of Father Jerry Dorn, one of our former Glenmary Presidents and faithful generous member for 50 years.
We worship you, Holy Spirit of Jesus. We call you by human names, Wisdom, Fortitude, Love, so that we need not be entirely silent in the total truth of who you are for us. We open our heart to receive you that we may learn how deeply and powerfully you are present everywhere. You are in the air we breathe. the distance into which we gaze, the space that surrounds us. You are the kindly light in which we are attractive to each other. You are the infinite love with which we have been created.
We pray to you, Spirit of Jesus, that you would help us prevent the evil we are capable of doing and inspire us toward what is good, to faithfulness and patience, to compassion and gentleness. Waken in us friendship for every living being and with joy for everything that is good and true.
Everything that lives grows by your power. You are hidden deep inside us like yeast. You are our will to live, the love that keeps us here on earth and unites us to Jesus and the Father. You speak in silence and all languages interpret you in sound. You are the truth of all words, and everyone who listens with an open mind can hear you in their own language, in their own lives. Put words into our mouths, then, that comfort and shed light, make us alive to justice and what is good, guide our hearts and our faith, let out thoughts and our labors be fruitful and give us the bread of peace.
You are the truth with which the word of God is spoken, the wind on which the Gospel is borne everywhere and to everyone in the world. It is your work and the wonder of your inspiration whenever we experience that Jesus lives, that we follow Him, that He becomes our way, that He is worth all else that we can find in the world.
You are the source of fulfillment for all the promises made to us by Jesus. His work and love continues in us through you. Help us every day wherever we go to be aware of your presence among us and within us. Then our lives will be holy and we will be worthy of the place Jesus has gone to prepare for us in the eternal mansion of His Father's love. Amen!