Jesus said to his disciples: "But now I am going to the one who sent me, and not one of you asks me, ´Where are you going?´ But because I told you this, grief has filled your hearts. 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. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes he will convict the world in regard to sin and righteousness and condemnation: sin, because they do not believe in me; righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see me; condemnation, because the ruler of this world has been condemned." (John 16:5-11)
Introductory Prayer: Lord, as I begin this prayer I offer you my whole self: my thoughts, desires, decisions, actions, hopes, fears, weaknesses, failures and petty successes. I open my entire being to you, aware that you know everything already. I’m certain of your mercy and of the purifying power of your penetrating, loving gaze.
Petition: Lord, help me to experience the joy and consolation of the Spirit.
1. Sadness at Jesus’ Parting: As Jesus’ imminent self-sacrifice approaches, the apostles are overwhelmed with confusion and grief. “Who is going to betray him?” “Why is he going?” “What will we do without him?” Questions like these — fruit of their concern for their Master and friend — are whispered to and fro. They have given up everything to follow him. Jesus strives to console them although he is immersed in grief himself. Sorrow is not lacking in the life of any pilgrim, and as Christians we are exiles in a foreign land. Our joy and hope comes from the vision of faith, which enables us to follow in the footsteps of Our Lord. His sacrifice and victory give meaning to our daily trials.
2. The Consoler’s Coming: We are called to an intimate friendship with the Holy Spirit, the “Sweet Guest of the Soul.” Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit upon us at our baptism to be the craftsman of our holiness, and our consolation and strength as we await Christ’s return. No one would wish to face a criminal trial alone and unaided; nor should we try to face the ordeal against sin without the help of Christ’s advocate. Am I aware of the gentle presence of the Holy Spirit in my soul? Am I attentive and docile to his inspirations and movements?
3. Setting Things Right: Nothing is so unsettling as to see the “bad guy” win. Whether it be in the movies or in real life, somehow it seems written in the very fabric of the universe that good should prevail. Many times evil has appeared to usurp the upper hand momentarily, but a Higher Power has always intervened, causing one tyranny and dictatorship after another to crumble. In our own day, evils abound in societies where the lives of the most vulnerable are greatly undervalued. Christ reminds us, however, that the Holy Spirit is at work. Time and again the Holy Spirit continues renewing the face of the earth and changing hearts, bringing good out of evil. Am I too pessimistic in the face of evil, or do I have the optimism of a Christian? Do I confide in the grace and action of the Holy Spirit?
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, you have left us to go to the Father and yet you are still with us through the action of your Holy Spirit. Help me to find strength and consolation as I strive to follow his guidance.
Resolution: I will take a moment out of my day today to thank the Holy Spirit for his action in the world and in my life.