Before going back to his Father in heaven, Jesus Christ promised to send the Holy Spirit to the Church : “From the Father, I will send you the Advocate, the Spirit of truth, who will teach you all things and remind you of all that I have told you” (Jn 14, 25; 15, 26).
As the Advocate, the Holy Spirit is to defend the Church from all attacks of the world, keeping it safe from all adversities of life. The intervention of the Holy Spirit has been proven in the history of the Church, so that, whenever the Church encounters difficulties, the Holy Spirit has always been on hand to assist, especially in times of persecutions.
One after another, Saint Peter, Saint Paul, then most of the Apostles were beheaded, others imprisoned, together with hundreds of thousands of Christians arrested and killed during the first three hundred years by Roman Emperors. Many people feared that the Church would eventually be annihilated from the face of the Earth. But contrary to their speculation, while the Roman Empire collapsed and all the enemies of the Church perished the Church did survive and grow even stronger than before, boldly standing witness to the power of the Holy Spirit.
As Jesus Christ once reassured Peter : ”And now I say to you : You are Peter, a rock and on this rock I will build my Church; and never will the powers of the devil overcome it.” (Mt 16, 18).
As the Spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit is to teach us the truths that lead us to the recognition of God the Father and Creator of all, and to our belief in Jesus Christ, who is the Messiah and the Savior, without whom there will be no forgiveness and salvation. As the Spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit also safeguards us from lies, errors and falsehood. There would be no truthfulness and honesty unless the Church were illumined and guided by the Holy Spirit of truth. Indeed, without the guiding light of the Spirit of truth, the world would ever walk in total blindness of self-deception and end up in utmost desperation.
My dear brothers and Sisters,
In summary, we may quote the expression of Pope John Paul II : ” The Holy Spirit is the soul, life-giving and acting principle of the Church of Christ.” It is through Jesus Christ that the Church was founded, but it is thanks to the working of Holy Spirit that the Church continues to grow, flourish and attain its full maturity. Consequently, all the activities of the Church as a whole and all the activities of each one of us as individual members of the Church come from the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, the Church would simply be a dead body, and without the Holy Spirit our souls would become totally barren and lifeless. May the Holy Spirit reinforce our faith, increase our hope and enkindle our love of God, the Father, and of our Risen Lord Jesus Christ, now and forever!
Fr. Joseph Nguyen, O.P.