THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH      
The Chair of St. Peter
and Bernini's Gloria
St. Peter's Basilica
An Extract from the Late Archbishop Alban Goodier S.J.'s


During the discourse of Our Lord at the Last Supper one new doctrine, if it may be called new, was repeatedly impressed on His disciples; the doctrine of the Coming of the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost.In the teaching of this new doctrine one thing is markedly evident. The Coming of the Holy Ghost is specially for the Twelve; for them first, and then for their followers.What the Holy Ghost gives , when He comes, will give, will be peculiarly theirs, and will belong to no other.When He has come, and has worked His full effect, the man who receives Him will be made another creature, seeing more,understanding more, able to do, and to endure more, than ever he could have done without Him.In the light and strength given by the Holy Ghost the whole perspective, and horizon, and goal of life will be transformed; it will be set upon another plane.In other words, nowhere more than here has Jesus Christ Our Lord explicitly revealed and sanctioned all that the Church has since elaborated in her doctrine of sanctifying grace, and indeed her whole system of supernatural theology.

What is this new doctrine  which Jesus gives us of the Paraclete, so far as it is new? He  explains it to His Apostles in four successive stages.

  (a) The Spirit of Truth

Early in the evening of the Supper, Thomas and Phillip had put questions and had been given their answers, in which Jesus had appealed to them to realize the union that existed between Him and the Father. He had told them that to know the One was to know the Other, to see the One was to see the Other, to love the One was to love the Other, to reject the One was to reject the Other, as He had said many times already to the Jewish elders in the Temple. Then He reverted to the main theme of His discourse:
                          "If you love Me , keep my commandments"
and, as if in reward for doing so, or as if this were a natural consequence, He immediately went on :
                              "And I will ask the Father
                               And He shall give you another Paraclete
                               That He may abide with you for ever
                               The Spirit of Truth
                               Whom the World cannot receive
                               Because it seeth Him not
                               Nor knoweth Him
                               But you shall know Him
                               Because He shall abide with you
                               And shall be in you."
Thus from the outset it is made clear that the first condition for the full life of grace, for the coming of the Holy Ghost, is the acceptance and personal love of Jesus Christ Himself; and the proof of that love is the doing of His will :
                               " If you love Me, keep my commandments"
In return of that love, and for the service of love that follows it, He who is
                                "Ever living to make intercession for us"
will, with His infallible power of prayer, interceded for us with the Father, and will infallibly be heard:
                                 "And I will ask the Father
                                  And He shall give you another Paraclete
                                  That He may abide with you
                                   For ever."
There shall be given to men who love and follow Him another Person, One not liable to to death as He who speaks, One from whom there will be no separation, but whom, once He has come, we may have as our abiding companion, our Paraclete, our Intercessor, always. This Person, this Paraclete, this Spirit, real and individual as Himself , is described as
                                    "The Spirit of truth
                                     Whom the world cannot receive
                                      Because it seeth Him not
                                      Nor knoweth Him
                                      But you shall know Him
                                      Because He shall abide with you
                                      And shall be in you."

He is the essence of all truth, and reality, and transparent sincerity, in contrast with the surface appearance, and shallow seeming, and groping ignorance, which is the best the world has to offer.Men look across this world, and they see nothing beyond it; they judge by the standards of this world, and reach no further;  they are hemmed in by this narrow horizon , and cannot recognize that all their estimates and judgements are made on a  limited and therefore doubtful plane. But the knowledge , and love, and following of Jesus Christ carry Man beyond his prison wall, and set his vision along a new perspective, even the perspective of the Infinite. The effort to do His Will beyond all other will, especially his own, sets him in a new order, along which he may achieve a nobler goal of being. The Spirit of Truth is a living Spirit, as living as Jesus Himself; He lives with man, He lives in man, He speaks to man, and in return accepts and interprets man's stammering words when he endeavours to speak to the Infinite, his Companion, his Guide, his Instructor, forever at his side and in his heart.

                                                  "For the Spirit searcheth all things
                                                   Yea the deep things of God
                                                    For what man knoweth the things of a man
                                                    But the spirit of a man that is in him?
                                                    So the things also that are of God no man knoweth
                                                    But the Spirit of God
                                                    Now we have received not the spirit of this world
                                                    But the Spirit that is of God
                                                    That we may know the things that are given to us
                                                    From God."
                                                    1 Corinthians ii, 11,12.




Popular posts from this blog