“I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.”
Accompanied by the Spirit
If I’m honest, it’s a real challenge to abide in Christ for the long haul.
-Br. Geoffrey Tristram
If I’m honest, it’s a real challenge to abide in Christ for the long haul. There are powerful forces, which may draw me away from Christ, take me along paths that don’t lead to life. But we’re not on our own, for God has sent us the Holy Spirit, this extraordinary gift. And these words from John’s gospel: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments and I will ask the Father and he will give you another advocate to be with you forever. This is the spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you and will be in you.”
The gift of the ‘advocate’, in Greek the word is parakletos, which can also be translated as the “comforter.” And many people like that, the sound of a ‘comforter,’ but I’ve almost invariably found the work of the Holy Spirit not at all comfortable, but actually very challenging to me in my life. There’s a great image in the Bayeux tapestry, that great tapestry of the Norman conquest of England by William the Conqueror, and there’s one panel which features Bishop Odo, William’s brother, and there’s an image of him with what looks like a great spear in his hand and he’s prodding the man in front of him with the spear. And underneath it, it says, “Bishop Odo comforts his men.”
I found that in many ways, the Holy Spirit is so often like that in my life. The spirit prods me into action, prods me when I’m falling asleep and prods me to become more authentic, because this is the ‘Spirit of Truth’ who wants me to live a more truthful and authentic life in Christ.
So maybe you might want to reflect today about your own lives. Where, perhaps, have you experienced, and maybe today, are experiencing God, the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, prodding you into action, challenging you? And secondly, what new truths are you being called to embrace today?