The Spirit of Truth

white doveRemember the gospel from Sunday’s readings for mass? Jesus said, “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 always, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows him.”  Jn 14: 15-17

The funny thing about listening to Christ’s words that are proclaimed at mass, is that we sometimes leave and do not remember exactly what was said afterwards.  If we had to look up what we learned in the bible or a catechism, it might be difficult to find exactly where that was later. However, we instinctively pick up on the truth of Christ’s words and live them out in our lives without always being fully aware that we are doing so.

That’s what happened to Lydia in the first reading today. She picked up on the truth of what Paul said to them, asked to be baptized along with her entire household, and then proceeded to insist that Paul and the other disciples stay as guests in her home. What an awesome thing Lydia did. She embraced Christianity and immediately followed through with what she learned, by inviting the disciples to stay in her home. Lydia kept Christ’s words right from the start and so her entire household was saved, and her home was surely filled with the Holy Spirit.

Jesus also talks about the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Advocate. He said that “the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, will testify to me.”  Notice Jesus said that the Advocate, the Spirit of truth testifies to him. We are taught about the Holy Spirit in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, through the magisterium or teaching authority of the church, and through the sacraments of the Catholic Church. However, even though the Holy Spirit can be taught, he is only known through divine revelation. Divine revelation is what opened Lydia’s heart in the first reading today and revealed the truth of Christ’s words to her.

We are sealed with the Holy Spirit when we receive the sacrament of confirmation, but then we often forget that He is present within us.   There is quite a difference in being taught about God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit and personally coming to know them through divine revelation.  The Holy Spirit does not usually reveal Himself to us when we are not in a state of grace though. Mortal sin severs this relationship with the Trinity, which includes the Holy Spirit. If you ever want to know what is wrong with your spiritual life because you do not feel God’s presence, it might be because of a sin that you may have dismissed as not being important enough to go to confession over.  Jesus says in today’s gospel, “I have told you this so that you may not fall away.”  The Spirit of truth testifies to Jesus Christ, and to ignore His promptings can result in straying off the path of holiness, or a fall from the state of grace.

The promptings of the Holy Spirit can be trusted though, if they do not contradict anything the church teaches on faith and morals. If a spirit contradicts anything you have been taught by the Catholic church then it is not the Holy Spirit who speaks to you. The voice of the Holy Spirit also does not speak in an audible manner when He reveals his presence to you.  He makes His presence known, and communicates to us in our hearts, through divine revelation.

Today is the memorial of Saint Philip Neri, who received many mystical graces about the Holy Spirit.  He wrote about a mystical enlargement of his heart, which he described as being ignited with God’s own Spirit. When someone asked Saint Philip Neri how to pray, his answer was, “Be humble and obedient and the Holy Spirit will teach you.”



Prayer for Union With the Holy Spirit

O Holy Spirit of Light and Love,
to You I consecrate my heart, mind, and will
for time and eternity.
May I be ever docile to Your Divine inspirations
and to the teachings of the holy Catholic Church
whose infallible guide You are.
May my heart be ever inflamed
with the love of God and love of neighbor.
May my will be ever in harmony with Your Divine Will.
May my life faithfully imitate the life and virtues
of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
To Him,
with the Father,
and You, Divine Spirit
be honor and glory forever.

~ St. Pius X



Daily Mass Readings:

Acts 16: 11-15 / Psalm 149: 1b-6a, 9b / John 15: 26-26:4a