Discovering the Paraclete
Thus, this Octave, we shall consider, through the eyes of an anonymous Carthusian monk, the many implications of this word and the rich theology found within the Scriptures about the Holy Spirit, the "Gift of God Most High".
"The Paraclete appears first of all in the role of advocate, in a process whose protagonists are Jesus and the world. That process is present right through St John's Gospel. The world, represented by the Jews, refuses, judges and condemns Jesus. But another judgement happens in the believer's heart in the light of the Spirit whom the world does not know. The one who is judged becomes the judge. The proceedings are initiated on the subject of the nature of sin, the nature of justice, the nature of judgement. Each time, the Spirit confounds the world.
It's sin consists in its refusal to believe in Jesus, in its refusal of the light.
Justice, throughout the proceedings, is what is accorded to the advantage of the litigant who is in the right. That justice was accorded to Christ in the act by which the Father called Him back himself by bringing him back to life and exalting him, so that the disciples do not see him any more after the Easter apparitions.
The judgement of the condemnation of the one who ruled the world is necessarily implied, and is already pronounced in Christ's victory.
So, thanks to the Spirit, and contrary to all appearences, a conviction grows in our hearts: it is not the world, it is Jesus who is right; so, we too are right to believe, we are right to dedicate ourselves to Christ's cause; in him, we are already conquerors of the world and of the devil.
This function of the Spirit remains relevant today, for the process with the world still continues, and we need our Advocate to convince it of its mistake, for the world still believes itself to be right in its opposition to Christ. Monastic [and by extension, religious] life can be regarded as raised up by the Spirit as a testimony of faith in Christ's victory and in the risen life."
"O God, Who sent the Holy Spirit to Your Apostles, grant to Your people the fruit of their loving prayers; that You may bestow peace upon those to whom You have given faith."
The stained glass image above is from the Anglican parish church of St Giles which is a few minutes' walk from our Priory in Cambridge.