Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone,
The Roles of the Holy Spirit in Our Life
By Bob Canton
Council Member, Vatican-based ICCRS
National Coordinator, AFCCPC
In John 14:16-17, Jesus says, "And I will ask the Father and He will give you another Advocate, to be with you always, the Spirit of Truth, which the world cannot accept ,because it neither sees nor knows Him. But you know Him, because He remains with you, and will be in you."
The Word Advocate is the source word for Paraclete. Our English word "Advocate" is derived from Latin: ad, "to", and "vocata", "called"---"somebody called to or in." The word Advocate is the word for a lawyer. It means someone who speaks in our defense or in our behalf. The word "Paraclete" is taken from the Latin word, "Paracletus," meaning a person who is called in alongside to help, or someone who can do something for you that you cannot do for yourself.
Who Is the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit is God. He is the Third Person of the Trinity, co-equal and co-substantial with God the Father and God the Son. He is not a a ghost or a concept. He is not a white cloud. He is not a dove. He is a person possessing a will, an intellect, and emotions. The Holy Spirit is called the Advocate, the Comforter, the Counselor, an Intercessor, a Helper, a Standby, a Strengthener, a Teacher, a Guide, a Love between the Father and the Son, the Uncreated Power of God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church #693 states,"Besides the proper name of "Holy Spirit," which is most frequently used in the Acts of the Apostles and in the Epistles, we also find in St. Paul the titles: the Spirit of the promise, the Spirit of adoption, the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of the Lord, and the Spirit of God--and, in St. Peter, the Spirit of glory."
The Roles of the Holy Spirit in One's Life:
The roles of the Holy Spirit are indeed varied and numerous. Due to the limited space of this website, I can only cite a few.
A.-- Jesus says that the Holy Spirit is our Advocate, our Paraclete, our Comforter.
We don't need anything more than that. Many people have little idea of the reality of what the Holy Spirit came to do in us in a continual basis.
In John 16:7,Jesus says," But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you." In John 7:37, Jesus exclaimed, " Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as scripture says:
"Rivers of living water will flow from within him."
The Holy Spirit dwells in us. We are his temple. In 1 Cor.3:16, the Word of God says, "Do you not know that you are the Temple of God , and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" The Holy Spirit is our Helper. He is here to guide us and to strengthen us and to equip us. When we are in the midst of a storm in our life, we need to call on the Holy Spirit to help us. We can always depend on Him. We do not just rely on our friends and relatives or on our own wisdom and knowledge, or strength or power but most of all, rely on the Comforter, the Holy Spirit who guides us and leads us to the right path and to the right direction to the fullness of life.
B.-- The Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus and leads us into all truths.
In the Upper Room, on the eve of His crucifixion, Jesus said to his disciples, "The Advocate, the Holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name---He will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you."(John 14:26).
In John 16:14, Jesus says, "The Holy Spirit will glorify me. because He will take what is mine and declare it to you." He will make Jesus and things of God real to you and me. The Holy Spirit enables us to know Jesus and to give us the power to live and to do His works and to share the abundant life to all who obey and trust Him. He will make the Word of God alive in our hearts as we read the Scriptures. It is the Holy Spirit who makes the Word of God relevant and meaningful in our lives. He inspired holy and Godly men of old to write His Words.
Jesus says, "My words, they are Spirit and they are life."(John 6:63).
We cannot live a holy and blessed life apart from the power of the Holy Spirit. Without the help and the power of the Holy Spirit, it is impossible for us to have a vibrant prayer life, to understand the Bible and other spiritual truths, to witness or do anything for the Lord, to become the person the Lord wants us to be, and to live a victorious life.
In Eph. 5:18, St. Paul says, "And do not get drunk on wine, in which lies debauchery, but be filled with the Holy Spirit."
To be filled with the Spirit is to be filled with Jesus, who is the baptizer of the Holy Spirit. As Christians, we should strive to become more like
Jesus in every way. The only way we can become more like Jesus is through the fruit of the Holy Spirit which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, generosity, faithfulness, and self-control,(Gal. 5:22-23). Without possessing the fruit of the Holy Spirit, it is impossible for anyone to enter into the Kingdom of God.
C.-- The Holy Spirit Equips and Empowers Believers
In Acts 1:8, Jesus says, "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem , throughout Judea and in Samaria and to the ends of the earth." As baptized believers we are imbued with power from on high, we have received the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.
The power of the Holy Spirit is manifested through the gifts of the Holy Spirit. In 1 Cor.12:4- 11, St .Paul says, "There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom; to another the expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another mighty deeds; to another prophecy; to another discernment of spirits; to another varieties of tongues; to another interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes."These gifts of the Holy Spirit are designed to serve and to build up the Body of Christ.
We need the gifts of the Holy Spirit in order for us to do the works of Jesus. The spiritual gifts are God's manifestation of His presence and power in and through individuals and groups of believers. It is indeed very exciting to be alive in this day and age because the Holy Spirit is still very active in the world today. These "grace moments," the powerful manifestations of God's presence and power, are indeed still available to any believer who is a yielded vessel to His Spirit. Therefore, in order to receive and experience these "grace moments"from the Lord, all we have to do is to open our hearts wide to our Lord Jesus Christ and say, with faith and expectations, "Come Lord Jesus, and fill me with your Holy Spirit and with your power."
Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square on May 22, 2013.
Vatican City, May 31, 2013
Christians often act like they are "going to a funeral procession rather than to praise God," Pope Francis declared, urging believers to spend time praising God so they are not slaves to their sorrows.
"You here at Mass," the Pope said in the chapel of St. Martha's House, "do you give praise to God or do you only petition God and thank God?
"Do you praise God?" he repeated, pointing out that this "is something new, new in our new spiritual life."
Anticipating a common excuse for not praising God, he said, "'this Mass is so long!'"
"If you do not praise God, you will never know the gratuity of spending time praising God, the Mass is long. But if you go with this attitude of joy, of praise to God, that is beautiful! This is what eternity will be: giving praise to God! And that will not be boring; it will be beautiful! This joy makes us free," Pope Francis said in his May 31 homily.
He based his words on the daily readings, one from the prophet Zephaniah and the other from Luke's Gospel, which recounted Mary visiting her cousin Elizabeth.
The Old Testament reading contains the exclamation "Rejoice! Cries of joy, the Lord is in your midst," while the story of Mary's visit recalls how John the Baptist "rejoices" in Elizabeth's womb when he hears Mary's greeting.
Both of the readings speak of joy, "the joy that is celebration," the Pope said.
But "we Christians are not so accustomed to speak of joy, of happiness. ... I think often we prefer to complain," he stated.
"Without joy," he added, "we Christians cannot become free, we become slaves to our sorrows. The great Paul VI said that you cannot advance the Gospel with sad, hopeless, discouraged Christians. You cannot."
Being joyful "comes from praise, Mary's praise, this praise that Zephaniah speaks of, Simeon and Anna's praise: this praise of God!" the Pope preached.
Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who is "the author of joy, the Creator of joy," Pope Francis said that Christians learn to praise and become joyful, which leads to "true Christian freedom."
He finished his homily by pointing to Mary as the model of "this praise" and "this joy."
"The Church," the Pope noted, "calls her the 'cause of our joy,' Cause Nostrae Letitiae. Why? Because she brings the greatest joy that is Jesus."
"We need to pray to Our Lady, so that by bringing Jesus she gives us the grace of joy, the joy of freedom. That it gives us the grace to praise, to praise with a prayer of gratuitous praise, because he is worthy of praise, always."