Thursday, 20 June 2013

The Paraclete and The Good Shepherd...


Out of the love of a man and a woman a child is born. The spirit of love takes on the shape of a person. Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Holy Trinity is the infinite divine love between the Father and the Son, both Persons infinitely lovable and the essence of love between them is also infinitely divine and equally lovable. In this sense, Holy Spirit is often called ‘The Proceeding Love.’ Holy Spirit is love because love is born out of love.
The Nicene Creed which is accepted by all Christians, states:

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son, he is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets

Out of this great love between the Father and the Son expressed in the Holy Spirit, mankind was born, for God created man out of love. Love is creative.
Holy Spirit is the main impulse that urges the Holy Trinity into love and creation. While Abba Father is the author of creation, that is, the thought was His, Jesus came down to earth to be a model for creation and creation was for Him and through Him (Colossians 16) and creation was brought into existence by Love, the Holy Spirit. Although it is not until the New Testament that Holy Spirit is revealed as a Person, God’s Spirit was at work from the creation of the world. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…and the spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:1-2). The Old Testament repeatedly speaks about the Spirit of God on the prophets and other chosen people.
The very nature of Trinitarian love is absolute Holiness. God’s love cannot stand wickedness. Then how is man wicked if he is born out of God’s love? As we understand in human terms, the best form of revenge on a man is by attacking and destroying his beloved. Likewise, man, the beloved of God, got attacked by the evil one.

Just as Abba Father is Spirit but also a Person and just as Jesus is a Spirit but also a Person, the Holy Spirit is also a Spirit and a Person.

Jesus came down to earth in a human form and therefore we have representations of Jesus. Nobody has seen Abba Father but the glory of Abba Father has been seen as the cloud by day and fire by night in the Old Testament or the dazzling light living in the tent. Likewise, nobody has seen the Holy Spirit but the workings of the Holy Spirit has always been visible from the very beginnings of creation to the present times. Holy Spirit is represented symbolically by the dove, water, fire, oil. Just as the Father and the Son exists in eternity, one not coming after the other, the Holy Spirit too exists in eternity.
Just as Jesus is the Gift of Abba Father to mankind, Holy Spirit is the gift of Jesus to mankind. “I will pray to the Father and He will give you another paraclete” (Jn 14:16). The fact that Jesus refers of the Holy Spirit as another paraclete implies that the mission of saving mankind is a joint mission between Jesus and the Holy Spirit. “it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Paraclete will not come to you; but if I go I will send Him to you” (Jn 16:7). But how can Jesus say this when the Holy Spirit exists in eternity and was equally responsible for creation? After the Resurrection of Christ and after assuming His position as the Son of God, Jesus outpours the gift of the Holy Spirit on the apostles on the day of the Pentecost. This outpouring of the Holy Spirit empowered the apostles with the fruits, gifts and charisms of the Holy Spirit. The present day charismatic renewal is again an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and fulfills the prophecy of the Old Testament:
Afterwards I will pour out my spirit on everyone:
your sons and daughters will proclaim my message;
your old men will have dreams and your young men will see visions.
At that time I will pour out my spirit even on servants, both men and women
(Joel 2: 23-29).

Come Holy Spirit fall on me now!

Through the Person of the Holy Spirit, the Father gives all the blessings. Holy Spirit had been very active from the beginning of the Bible. Genesis 1:26 states, “And now we will make human beings; they will be like us and resemble us. They will have power over fish, the birds and all animals, domestic and wild, large and small” thereby empowering man with a portion of God’s power. John 20:22 states, “Then he breathed on them and said, Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive people’s sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven” again, empowering man with the Holy Spirit. Ezekiel 39:29 states, “I will pour out my spirit on the people of Israel and never again turn away from them.” Holy Spirit is the breadth and spirit of Abba Father and Jesus Christ. It is the power of God. A rekindling and infilling of the Holy Spirit is the empowerment of man. What does this empowerment do to man? It fills him with the gifts, fruits and charisms of the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:22 states, “But the Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control. There is no law against such things as these.” Again, Isaiah 11:2 states,

“The spirit of the Lord will give him wisdom,
and the knowledge and skill to rule his people.
He will know the Lord’s will and have reverence for him. 

While gifts are means by which we produce fruits, charisms is the means by which we make others to produce fruits. Charisms of the Holy Spirit are utterance of wisdom, utterance of knowledge, faith, healing, miracle working, prophecy, discernment of spirits, speaking of tongues, interpretation. Charisms are meant for common good of the church and not for individual glorification. None of us can be saved by the charisms. We are judged by the fruits we produce.
If we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we will never look at the problem but will only focuss on God. How can be filled with the Holy Spirit? Our prayers and a sincere desire will urge God to shower His grace on us and fill us with His Spirit. But the first condition for receiving the Holy Spirit is to receive Christ as our savior. That would qualify us to be children of God and consequently to the gift of the Holy Spirit.
If we are filled with the Spirit, we will be filled with love, peace and joy and
Heaven will begin on earth. We will then have Holy Spirit as our Paraclete, our Advocate, Counselor, Comforter, our Helper and our Guide.

Breathe into me Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Move in me Holy Spirit, that my work too may be holy. Attract my Heart Holy Spirit, that I many love only what is holy. Strengthen me Holy Spirit that I may defend all that is holy. Protect me Holy Spirit, that I may always be holy.

By:  Dr. Nina Caldeira,
Goa University