26 But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me; 27 and you also are witnesses, because you have been with me from the beginning. [John 16] 1 I have said all this to you to keep you from falling away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues; indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. 3 And they will do this because they have not known the Father, nor me. 4 But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you of them. I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you.
Meditation: Where do you find help and support when you most need it? True friendship is strengthened in adversity. Jesus offers his disciples the best and truest of friends. Who is this promised friend? Jesus calls the Holy Spirit our Counselor and Advocate (also translated Paraclete or Helper). How does the Holy Spirit help us as the counselor? Counselor is a legal term for the person who defends someone against an adversary and who guides that person during the ordeal of trial. The Holy Spirit is our Advocate and Helper who guides and strengthens us and brings us safely through the challenges and adversities we must face in this life.
Person and role of the Holy Spirit
As Jesus approaches the hour he was to be glorified – through his death on the cross and his resurrection – he revealed more fully to his disciples the person and role of the Holy Spirit. What does Jesus tell us about the Holy Spirit? First, the Holy Spirit is inseparably one with the Father and the Son. It is the Holy Spirit who gives life – the very life of God – and who makes faith come alive in hearts and minds of people who are receptive to God’s word.
The Holy Spirit makes it possible for us to know God personally. He gives us experiential knowledge of God as our Father. The Spirit witnesses to our spirit that the Father has indeed sent his only begotten Son into the world to redeem it and has raised his Son, Jesus Christ, from the dead and has seated him at his right hand in glory and power.
The Holy Spirit reveals to us the knowledge, wisdom and plan of God for the ages and the Spirit enables us to see with the “eyes of faith” what the Father and the Son are doing. Through the gift and working of the Holy Spirit we become witnesses to the great work of God in Christ Jesus.
Spirit strengthens us in faith and courage
Jesus warned his disciples that they could expect persecution just as Jesus was opposed and treated with hostility. We have been given the Holy Spirit to help us live as disciples of Jesus Christ. The Spirit gives us courage and perseverance when we meet adversities and challenges. Do you pray for the Holy Spirit to strengthen you in faith, hope and love and to give you courage and perseverance when you meet adversities and challenges?
O merciful God, fill our hearts, we pray, with the graces of your Holy Spirit; with love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control. Teach us to love those who hate us; to pray for those who despitefully use us; that we may be the children of your love, our Father, who makes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. In adversity grant us grace to be patient; in prosperity keep us humble; may we guard the door of our lips; may we lightly esteem the pleasures of this world, and thirst after heavenly things; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise in the assembly of the faithful!
2 Let Israel be glad in his Maker, let the sons of Zion rejoice in their King!
3 Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with timbrel and lyre!
4 For the LORD takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with victory.
5 Let the faithful exult in glory; let them sing for joy on their couches.
6a Let the high praises of God be in their throats.
9b This is glory for all his faithful ones. Praise the LORD!
Daily Quote from the Early Church Fathers: The Comforter is with us in our troubles, by Cyril of Jerusalem, 430-543 A.D.
“He is called the Comforter because he comforts and encourages us and helps our infirmities. We do not know what we should pray for as we should, but the Spirit himself makes intercession for us, with groanings that cannot be uttered (Romans 8:26), that is, he makes intercession to God. Very often, someone has been outraged and dishonored unjustly for the sake of Christ. Martyrdom is at hand; tortures on every side, and fire, and sword, and savage beasts and the pit. But the Holy Spirit softly whispers to him, ‘Wait on the Lord’ (Psalm 27:14). What is now happening to you is a small matter; the reward will be great. Suffer a little while, and you will be with angels forever. ‘The sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing to the glory that shall be revealed in us’ (Romans 8:18). He portrays to the person the kingdom of heaven. He gives him a glimpse of the paradise of delight.” (excerpt from CATECHETICAL LECTURES 16.20)