“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy might be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.”
PRAYER OF THE WEEK
Cardinal Mercier’s Prayer To The Holy Spirit
“O Holy Spirit
Beloved of my soul
I adore you.
strengthen Me and Console me.
Tell me what I ought to do
and command me to do it.
I promise to submit to everything
that you ask of me
and to accept all
that you allow to happen to me.
Just show me what is your will.”
Grant, almighty God,
that we may celebrate with heartfelt devotion these days of joy,
which we keep in honor of the risen Lord,
and that what we relive in remembrance
we may always hold to in what we do.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen
Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48
When Peter entered, Cornelius met him
and, falling at his feet, paid him homage.
Peter, however, raised him up, saying,
“Get up. I myself am also a human being.”
Then Peter proceeded to speak and said,
“In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.
Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly
is acceptable to him.”
While Peter was still speaking these things,
the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the word.
The circumcised believers who had accompanied Peter
were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit
should have been poured out on the Gentiles also,
for they could hear them speaking in tongues and glorifying God.
Then Peter responded,
“Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people,
who have received the Holy Spirit even as we have?”
He ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
“God shows no partiality but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” These inspired and inspiring words of Peter, the head of the Apostles, removed any doubts which his fellow-Jewish-Christians from Jaffa had as to the right of Cornelius and his household to be baptized and become Christians like themselves. They should also have opened the minds of all Jewish converts to the mission of Christ as a mission of salvation for all nations and not for Jews only. Unfortunately, there were some who exaggerated their own claims on God and who still looked down on the Gentiles. There were among the Jewish-Christians those who grudgingly admitted that Gentiles could be received into the Christian Church, but only if they became Jews first by accepting circumcision.
These people were a serious embarrassment to St. Paul in his missionary activity among the Gentiles. They followed him through Asia Minor telling the converted Gentiles that they were not really members of the Christian Church for they had not first become Jews. These “Judaizers” as they were called, were causing such upsets among the Gentile converts that Paul and Barnabas were forced to ask the Apostles, assembled in the first Council of the Church in Jerusalem, to give a definitive answer to this question (Acts 15: 1-2). They did, and the false teaching of the Judaizers was condemned. Gentiles could and should be received directly into the Church, without passing through any form of Judaism or without accepting any of the Jewish ritualistic practices.
God, through the Holy Spirit, has been with his Church right down through the ages and from its very beginning. The case of conversion of Cornelius, narrated in today’s reading, happened in order that Peter, the head of the Apostles and the principal speaker at the Council of Jerusalem, should have visible proof from God that he wished Gentiles to be taken directly into his Church without any of the Jewish ritual observances. Peter’s address to the Council, describing what happened at Caesarea, silenced all opposition and settled this question for all time. But before the vision of the clean and unclean animals shown him in Jaffa, and the proofs of the presence of the Holy Spirit which he witnessed in Caesarea, Peter too had his narrow judaizing tendencies.
The lesson for all Christians is that God has been, and will be, always with his Church. Christ has committed it to the care of mortal and fallible men but he has given them (and us) the assurance that he will be with them always even unto the end of time (Mt. 28: 20). Today, many devout and sincere Christians are worried because of evident dissension between theologians on moral and dogmatic questions. Since the second Vatican Council there has been a flood of writings from the pens of reputable theologians and sometimes from men with less depth of knowledge and less balanced judgement. This is but a natural consequence of the winds of change to which the saintly Pope John opened the windows of the Church.
Ever since Trent (1546), when the cold-war with the Reformers began, the Catholic Church had remained rather static in its exposition of faith and morals. While the world around us had made giant strides in the study of man and the world in which he lived, and also in the study of ancient literature and culture, our seminary text-books were faithfully copying the sixteenth century expositions of the theologians of that day. This in itself was right as far as it went, since the defined dogmas of the Church remain fixed for all time. However, it did not go far enough; it paid little or no heed to the immense growth in secular knowledge, or to the change in terminology and linguistics which the new philosophies had introduced. Scripture especially which, with Tradition, is the basis of all theology, was very much neglected, to the detriment of our people’s knowledge of the revealed world of God.
Thanks to the Holy Spirit, who worked through Pope John and Vatican II, that has all been changed, or rather is being gradually changed. As in all change, there must be upsets and a disturbance of the status quo ante. There will be naturally men who oppose change, and on the other hand there are likely to be men who want to change too much. We are going through this period of change at present, and some people are surprised, if not shocked, at some of the moral and dogmatic pronouncements of present-day writers. Knowing, as we do, that the Holy Spirit is with the Church we need have no fear. She has had similar experiences in the past—nearly all her great General Councils were preceded by disputes between theologians and would-be theologizers. The Councils, guided by the Holy Spirit, defined and expounded the true faith.
Truth will prevail; we can look forward confidently to the day when present disputes will end. Our Christian faith and morals will continue to be expounded authoritatively with the backing of the Holy Spirit, by the successors of the Apostles whom he sent to teach all nations.
CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (CCC)
CCC 761 The gathering together of the People of God began at the moment when sin destroyed the communion of men with God, and that of men among themselves. The gathering together of the Church is, as it were, God’s reaction to the chaos provoked by sin. This reunification is achieved secretly in the heart of all peoples: “In every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable” to God.1
CCC 781 “At all times and in every race, anyone who fears God and does what is right has been acceptable to him. He has, however, willed to make men holy and save them, not as individuals without any bond or link between them, but rather to make them into a people who might acknowledge him and serve him in holiness. He therefore chose the Israelite race to be his own people and established a covenant with it. He gradually instructed this people. .. All these things, however, happened as a preparation for and figure of that new and perfect covenant which was to be ratified in Christ. .. the New Covenant in his blood; he called together a race made up of Jews and Gentiles which would be one, not according to the flesh, but in the Spirit.”2
CCC 1226 From the very day of Pentecost the Church has celebrated and administered holy Baptism. Indeed St. Peter declares to the crowd astounded by his preaching: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”3 The apostles and their collaborators offer Baptism to anyone who believed in Jesus: Jews, the God-fearing, pagans.4 Always, Baptism is seen as connected with faith: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household,” St. Paul declared to his jailer in Philippi. And the narrative continues, the jailer “was baptized at once, with all his family.”5
1 Acts 10:35; cf. LG 9; 13; 16.
2 LG 9; Cf. Acts 10:35; 1 Cor 11:25.
3 Acts 2:38.
4 Cf. Acts 2:41; 8:12-13; 10:48; 16:15.
5 Acts 16:31-33.
Ps 98:1, 2-3, 3-4
(cf. 2b) The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
1 Jn 4:7-10
Beloved, let us love one another,
because love is of God;
everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.
Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.
In this way the love of God was revealed to us:
God sent his only Son into the world
so that we might have life through him.
In this is love:
not that we have loved God, but that he loved us
and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.
It is told that when St. John was too old and feeble to say Mass, he insisted on being carried to the Church on Sundays to preach to the congregation. Sunday after Sunday his sermon consisted of one short sentence: “Little children, love one another.” After some weeks of this repetition, the presiding priest had the courage to say to the Apostle: “Father, could you not say something more?” The answer that he got was: “No, for if they do this they are doing everything.” Undoubtedly the Beloved Disciple was the Apostle of love. His gospel and Epistles are dominated by the thought of “the Word made flesh,” the mystery of God’s love for us which brought about the incarnation. Having been made children of God, we must, of course, love God for this gratuitous gift; but the real proof of our love of God is our love for our neighbor.
“He who does not love (his neighbor) does not know God.” This hardly needs proof. If we do know God we know the marvelous thing he has done for us in making us his children and heirs to heaven through the incarnation, and the natural and supernatural reaction to such knowledge should be the, desire to do something for God in return. And God himself through Christ has told us what we can do for him—we can be charitable toward his little ones, our fellow-children of God on earth. Everything kind and good we do for them, we are doing it for himself, he tells us (Mt. 25: 40).
Therefore, we are expected, and what is more, we are commanded to love all God’s children. This is the way in which the good God allows us to make some little return for all he has done for us. Generous souls would not need a commandment, they would rejoice at the opportunity of doing something for God, but most of us are not too given to generosity, and so God has given us a commandment to do our duty. On the fulfilling of that commandment our own eternal welfare will depend. “I was hungry and you fed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick, I was in prison, and you visited me; well done good and faithful servant enter into the joy of the Lord.”
These are words we all would like to hear when called to judgement. We shall hear them if we keep our part of the contract. If we carry out the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, whenever and wherever we can, we need have no fear about God doing his part. We may not have much of this world’s goods, and we may not be able therefore to help our neighbor much in his bodily needs, but we can help him with our prayers, with words of consolation and encouragement. There is a little poem on kindness written by Father Faber which brings out what a help even the poorest of us can be to his neighbor, if only true charity inspires us. It runs like this:
“It was but a sunny smile and little it cost in the giving, But it scattered the night like the morning light, And made the day worth living.
It was only a kindly word, a word that was easily spoken, But it was not in vain for it chilled the pain, Of a heart that was nearly broken.
It was but a helping hand and it seemed of little availing, But its clasp was warm and it saved from harm, A brother whose strength was failing.”
Which of us is so poor in spirit, so weak in charity, that he cannot give a sunny smile to his neighbor whenever he meets him, or speak a kind word to someone in need of consoling, or give a helping hand, be it ever so little, to one in greater need than himself?
CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (CCC)
CCC 214 God, “HE WHO IS”, revealed himself to Israel as the one “abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness”.1 These two terms express summarily the riches of the divine name. In all his works God displays, not only his kindness, goodness, grace and steadfast love, but also his trustworthiness, constancy, faithfulness and truth. “I give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness.”2 He is the Truth, for “God is light and in him there is no darkness”; “God is love”, as the apostle John teaches.3
CCC 221 But St. John goes even further when he affirms that “God is love”:4 God’s very being is love. By sending his only Son and the Spirit of Love in the fullness of time, God has revealed his innermost secret:5 God himself is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and he has destined us to share in that exchange.
CCC 457 The Word became flesh for us in order to save us by reconciling us with God, who “loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins”: “the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world”, and “he was revealed to take away sins”:6
Sick, our nature demanded to be healed; fallen, to be raised up; dead, to rise again. We had lost the possession of the good; it was necessary for it to be given back to us. Closed in the darkness, it was necessary to bring us the light; captives, we awaited a Savior; prisoners, help; slaves, a liberator. Are these things minor or insignificant? Did they not move God to descend to human nature and visit it, since humanity was in so miserable and unhappy a state?7
CCC 458 The Word became flesh so that thus we might know God’s love: “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.”8 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”9
CCC 604 By giving up his own Son for our sins, God manifests that his plan for us is one of benevolent love, prior to any merit on our part: “In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins.”10 God “shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.”11
CCC 614 This sacrifice of Christ is unique; it completes and surpasses all other sacrifices.12 First, it is a gift from God the Father himself, for the Father handed his Son over to sinners in order to reconcile us with himself. At the same time it is the offering of the Son of God made man, who in freedom and love offered his life to his Father through the Holy Spirit in reparation for our disobedience.13
CCC 733 “God is Love”14 and love is his first gift, containing all others. “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”15
CCC 1428 Christ’s call to conversion continues to resound in the lives of Christians. This second conversion is an uninterrupted task for the whole Church who, “clasping sinners to her bosom, [is] at once holy and always in need of purification, [and] follows constantly the path of penance and renewal.”16 This endeavor of conversion is not just a human work. It is the movement of a “contrite heart,” drawn and moved by grace to respond to the merciful love of God who loved us first.17
CCC 1604 God who created man out of love also calls him to love the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being. For man is created in the image and likeness of God who is himself love.18 Since God created him man and woman, their mutual love becomes an image of the absolute and unfailing love with which God loves man. It is good, very good, in the Creator’s eyes. And this love which God blesses is intended to be fruitful and to be realized in the common work of watching over creation: “And God blessed them, and God said to them: ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it.’”19
CCC 2822 Our Father “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”20 He “is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish.”21 His commandment is “that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”22 This commandment summarizes all the others and expresses his entire will.
1 Ex 34:6.
2 Ps 138:2; cf. Ps 85:11.
3 I Jn 1:5; 4:8.
4 l Jn 4:8, 16.
5 Cf. I Cor 2:7-16; Eph 3:9-12.
6 I Jn 4:10; 4:14; 3:5.
7 St. Gregory of Nyssa, Orat. catech 15: PG 45, 48B.
8 I Jn 4:9.
9 Jn 3:16.
10 I John 4:10; 4:19.
11 Rom 5:8.
12 Cf. Heb 10:10.
13 Cf. Jn 10:17-18; 15:13; Heb 9:14; 1 Jn 4:10.
14 1 Jn 4:8,1.
15 Rom 5:5.
16 LG 8 # 3.
17 Ps 51:17; cf. Jn 6:44; 12:32; 1 Jn 4:10.
18 Cf. Gen 1:27; 1 Jn 4:8, 16.
19 Gen 1:28; cf. 1:31.
20 1 Tim 2:3-4.
21 2 Pet 3:9; cf. Mt 18:14.
22 Jn 13:34; cf. 1 Jn 3; 4; Lk 10:25-37.
Jesus said to his disciples:
“As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.”
“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you
and your joy might be complete.
This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you: love one another.”
It is only a few weeks since Good Friday when we commemorated the agonizing death of Christ on Mount Calvary. This was an excruciating, shameful death even for hardened criminals who deserved it. But for our loving Savior, the innocent lamb of God, one who had never offended God or neighbor, it was something of which the whole human race should be ashamed forever. What caused Christ that torment and death on the cross was our sins, the sins of all mankind and not the spite and hatred of his Jewish opponents, who were only instruments in the tragedy. Atonement had to be made to God for the sins of the world, so that men could reach the eternal inheritance which the incarnation made available to them. However, not all the acts of the entire human race could make a sufficient atonement to God. A sacrifice, an expiation of infinite value was needed. The death of the Son of God in his human nature was alone capable of making such an expiation.
That Christ willingly accepted crucifixion for our sake, that he gave the greatest proof of love which the world has ever known, by laying down his life for his friends, did not make his sufferings any less, did not ease any of the pains of Calvary. His agony in the Garden before his arrest shows this: he foresaw all the tortures and pains which he was to undergo and sweated blood at the thought of what awaited him. But he was to keep his Father’s commandment: “not my will but thine be done.” We Christians must have hearts of stone, hearts devoid of all sense of gratitude, when we forget what Christ has done for us and deliberately offend him! Alas, this is what all of us do sometimes, and many of us do all the time. Christ died to bring us to heaven but we tell him, by our sins, that he was wasting his time. We do not want to go to heaven, we are making our happiness here!
How far can human ingratitude and thanklessness go? Christ told us, through the disciples on Holy Thursday night, that he had made us his friends, his intimates. We are no longer servants in the household, who merely earn their daily wage and have no intimacy with the family and no hope of ever sharing in the family possessions. Instead, we have been adopted into the family by Christ becoming man, we have been guaranteed all the rights of children: intimacy with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and the future sharing in the eternal happiness of that divine household. Christ’s incarnation made us God’s children; Christ’s death on the cross removed sin. Sin is the one obstacle that could prevent us reaching our eternal inheritance.
Because God gave us a free will we can in a moment of folly, a moment of madness really, deprive ourselves of the privileges and possessions which Christ has made available to us. We can choose to exchange an eternity of happiness for a few fleeting years of self-indulgence on earth. We can fling Christ’s gift of love back in his face and tell him we don’t want it. God forbid that we should ever act like this, that we should ever forget God’s purpose in creating us. It is a marvelous thing to be alive, if we have hope in a future life. If nothing awaited us but the grave, then to live on this earth, which is a valley of sorrow and tears for the vast majority, would be the cruelest of jests. But of this we need have no fear. Life on earth is but a short prelude to our real existence. If we use this brief period as Christ has told us how to use it, death for us will be the passage into the eternal mansions. Be grateful to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, love the Blessed Trinity; prove your love by loving your fellowman. By doing this you are fulfilling the whole law and the prophets; and you are assuring yourself of the place in heaven which Christ has won for you.
Applications written by Fr. Kevin O’Sullivan O.F.M. used with permission of Ignatius Press
CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (CCC)
CCC 142 By his Revelation, “the invisible God, from the fullness of his love, addresses men as his friends, and moves among them, in order to invite and receive them into his own company.”1 The adequate response to this invitation is faith.
CCC 363 In Sacred Scripture the term “soul” often refers to human life or the entire human person.2 But “soul” also refers to the innermost aspect of man, that which is of greatest value in him,3 that by which he is most especially in God’s image: “soul” signifies the spiritual principle in man.
CCC 434 Jesus’ Resurrection glorifies the name of the Savior God, for from that time on it is the name of Jesus that fully manifests the supreme power of the “name which is above every name”.4 The evil spirits fear his name; in his name his disciples perform miracles, for the Father grants all they ask in this name.5
CCC 459 The Word became flesh to be our model of holiness: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me.” “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.”6 On the mountain of the Transfiguration, the Father commands: “Listen to him!”7 Jesus is the model for the Beatitudes and the norm of the new law: “Love one another as I have loved you.”8 This love implies an effective offering of oneself, after his example.9
CCC 1108 In every liturgical action the Holy Spirit is sent in order to bring us into communion with Christ and so to form his Body. The Holy Spirit is like the sap of the Father’s vine which bears fruit on its branches.10 The most intimate cooperation of the Holy Spirit and the Church is achieved in the liturgy. The Spirit who is the Spirit of communion, abides indefectibly in the Church. For this reason the Church is the great sacrament of divine communion which gathers God’s scattered children together. Communion with the Holy Trinity and fraternal communion are inseparably the fruit of the Spirit in the liturgy.11
CCC 1823 Jesus makes charity the new commandment.12 By loving his own “to the end,”13 he makes manifest the Father’s love which he receives. By loving one another, the disciples imitate the love of Jesus which they themselves receive. Whence Jesus says: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.” And again: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”14
CCC 1824 Fruit of the Spirit and fullness of the Law, charity keeps the commandments of God and his Christ: “Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love.”15
CCC 1970 The Law of the Gospel requires us to make the decisive choice between “the two ways” and to put into practice the words of the Lord.16 It is summed up in the Golden Rule, “Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; this is the law and the prophets.”17
The entire Law of the Gospel is contained in the “new commandment” of Jesus, to love one another as he has loved us.18
CCC 1972 The New Law is called a law of love because it makes us act out of the love infused by the Holy Spirit, rather than from fear; a law of grace, because it confers the strength of grace to act, by means of faith and the sacraments; a law of freedom, because it sets us free from the ritual and juridical observances of the Old Law, inclines us to act spontaneously by the prompting of charity and, finally, lets us pass from the condition of a servant who “does not know what his master is doing” to that of a friend of Christ – “For all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” – or even to the status of son and heir.19
CCC 2074 Jesus says: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”20 The fruit referred to in this saying is the holiness of a life made fruitful by union with Christ. When we believe in Jesus Christ, partake of his mysteries, and keep his commandments, the Savior himself comes to love, in us, his Father and his brethren, our Father and our brethren. His person becomes, through the Spirit, the living and interior rule of our activity. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”21
CCC 2347 The virtue of chastity blossoms in friendship. It shows the disciple how to follow and imitate him who has chosen us as his friends,22 who has given himself totally to us and allows us to participate in his divine estate. Chastity is a promise of immortality.
Chastity is expressed notably in friendship with one’s neighbor. Whether it develops between persons of the same or opposite sex, friendship represents a great good for all. It leads to spiritual communion.
CCC 2745 Prayer and Christian life are inseparable, for they concern the same love and the same renunciation, proceeding from love; the same filial and loving conformity with the Father’s plan of love; the same transforming union in the Holy Spirit who conforms us more and more to Christ Jesus; the same love for all men, the love with which Jesus has loved us. “Whatever you ask the Father in my name, he [will] give it to you. This I command you, to love one another.”23
He “prays without ceasing” who unites prayer to works and good works to prayer. Only in this way can we consider as realizable the principle of praying without ceasing.24
CCC 2815 This petition embodies all the others. Like the six petitions that follow, it is fulfilled by the prayer of Christ. Prayer to our Father is our prayer, if it is prayed in the name of Jesus.25 In his priestly prayer, Jesus asks: “Holy Father, protect in your name those whom you have given me.”26
1 DV 2; cf. Col 1:15; I Tim 1:17; Ex 33:11; Jn 15:14-15; Bar 3:38 (Vulg.).
2 Cf. Mt 16:25-26; Jn 15:13; Acts 2:41.
3 Cf. Mt 10:28; 26:38; Jn 12:27; 2 Macc 6 30.
4 Phil 2:9-10; cf. Jn 12:28.
5 Cf. Acts 16:16-18; 19:13-16; Mk 16:17; Jn 15:16.
6 Mt 11:29; Jn 14:6.
7 Mk 9:7; cf. Dt 6:4-5.
8 Jn 15:12.
9 Cf. Mk 8:34.
10 Cf. Jn 15:1-17; Gal 5:22.
11 Cf. 1 Jn 1:3-7.
12 Cf. Jn 13:34.
13 Jn 13:1.
14 Jn 15:9, 12.
15 Jn 15:9-10; cf. Mt 22:40; Rom 13:8-10.
16 Cf. Mt 7:13-14,21-27.
17 Mt 7:12; cf. Lk 6:31.
18 Cf. Jn 15:12; 13:34.
19 Jn 15:15; cf. Jas 1:25; 2:12; Gal 4:1-7.21-31; Rom 8:15.
20 Jn 15:5.
21 Jn 15:12.
22 Cf. Jn 15:15.
23 Jn 15:16-17.
24 Origen, De orat. 12: PG 11, 452c.
25 Cf. Jn 14:13; 15:16; 16:24, 26.
26 Jn 17:11.
The Ascension of Christ means that he no longer belongs to the world of corruption and death, which conditions our life. It means that he belongs completely to God. He, the eternal Son, has taken our human being to the presence of God; he has taken with him flesh and blood in a transfigured form. Man finds a place in God through Christ; the human being has been taken into the very life of God. And, given that God embraces and sustains the whole cosmos, the Lord’s Ascension means that Christ has not gone far away from us, but that now, thanks to the fact he is with the Father, he is close to each one of us forever. Each one of us may address him familiarly; each one may turn to him. The Lord always hears our voice. We may distance ourselves inwardly from him. We can live with our backs turned to him, but he always awaits us, and is always close to us… Jesus told his disciples everything, as he is the living word of God, and God can give no more than himself. In Jesus, God gave himself totally to us, that is, he gave us everything. In addition to this, or together with this, there can be no other revelation able to communicate something else, or to complete, in a certain sense, the revelation of Christ. In him, in the Son, we are told everything, we were given everything. But our ability to understand is limited; for this reason the mission of the Spirit consists in introducing the Church in an ever new way, from generation to generation, into the grandeur of the mystery of Christ… Thus, the Holy Spirit is the force through which Christ makes us experience his closeness.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
St. Augustine’s Prayer to the Holy Spirit
Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy.
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy.