God’s promise from the beginning was that he would always love us and never abandon us. This he made evident from the beginning.
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” John 14:26
“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, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it.” (verses 15-17) These are the opening verse in this passage in John’s Gospel where Jesus speaks about the Holy Spirit.
God’s promise from the beginning was that he would always love us and never abandon us. This he made evident from the beginning. Never was his presence so intimately felt and known than when Jesus walked among us, revealing the Father, and his love for us, in the flesh. And his presence remains with us now in his Holy Spirit. His Spirit now takes up his dwelling place in our hearts, most especially when, out of our love for him, we keep his commandments.
We know by personal experience how hard it is to keep the commandments. We cannot do it alone. God knows our weaknesses, and yet he loves us far more than we can imagine. All he desires from us is our willingness to love him and to follow in his ways. Through baptism, the Holy Spirit comes upon us and remains with us as our Advocate, our Teacher. It is through the Spirit that we receive the graces we need to come to know, to love, and to serve God with all our body, with all our mind, and with all our soul. As Paul reveals to us, it is the Spirit dwelling within the temple of our heart that, “prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words… For we do not know how we ought to pray, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans too deep for words.” (Romans 8:26)
When we open ourselves up to God, when we willingly submit to his will, and endeavor to keep his commandments, it is the Spirit who teaches us in the depths of our being, who inspires us and guides our understanding. It is the Spirit who encourages us and strengthens us. In the Spirit we rejoice in God’s commandments. Jesus tells us that the ruler of the world, the Evil One, will come, but that, “He has no power over me.” (verse 30) Because of this, our hearts “need not be troubled or afraid.” (verse 27) Yes. He is our Advocate and our Teacher. With him, we can come to know the commandments more deeply and desire to live them more dearly each day. Thanks be to God in his Holy Spirit!
Lord, teach us your ways. Give us the strength and the courage to love you with our whole heart, mind, and soul so that we may follow your commandments joyfully and be your faithful servants in this needy world. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen!
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