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An Advocate who dwells in us

Catechesis by Pope John Paul II on the Holy Spirit
General Audience, Wednesday 26 September 1990 - in Italian & Spanish  

"1. In his Gospel, John the Apostle highlights more than the Synoptics the personal relationship between the Son and the Father. This can be seen early on in the prologue where the evangelist sets his gaze on the eternal reality of the Father and the Word-Son. He begins by saying: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God" (Jn 1:1-2). Then he concludes: "No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father's side, reveals him" (Jn 1:18). It is a completely new assertion in the history of human reflection on God and within revelation itself. The depth and the wealth of the content it offers to theology will never be exhausted or fully explained. Religious education too must always refer to it, not only on the Christological level but also on the pneumatological level.

The very unity of the Son with the Father, stressed also in other parts of John' Gospel, seems to open up to the apostles the path of revelation of the Holy Spirit as a Person.

2. Significantly, Christ's words which most directly relate to this topic are found in the farewell discourse in the upper room. Therefore they are made in light of the imminent departure of the Son who returns to the Father by means of the cross and the ascension. At that moment Jesus said: "I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth which the world cannot accept because it neither sees nor knows him" (Jn 14:16-17). Advocate-Paraclete: this name, given to the Holy Spirit by Jesus, shows that he is a Person, distinct from the Father and the Son. The Greek word Parakletos is always applied to a person, since it means advocate, defender, or consoler. Only a person can accomplish those tasks. On the other hand by speaking in terms of "another Advocate," Jesus makes us understand that during his earthly life, he himself was the disciples' first "Advocate." He will assert that even more clearly in his priestly prayer in which he says to his Father: "When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me, and I guarded them" (Jn 17:12). After Jesus' departure, the Holy Spirit will take his place in the midst of the disciples still living in the world to defend them in the struggles they must face and to sustain their courage in trial.

3. In the farewell discourse, the Paraclete is called "the Spirit of truth" several times (cf. Jn 14:17). This title recognizes the mission which is given him regarding the apostles and the Church: "The Advocate—the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I taught you" (Jn 14:26). "Teach," "remind"; these activities show well that the Spirit is a Person. Only a person can do them. The mission of preaching truth, entrusted to the apostles and the Church by Christ, is and will always remain bound to the personal activity of the Spirit of truth.

The same observation goes for the witness which must be rendered to Christ before the world. "When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me" (Jn 15:26). Only a Person can bear witness to another person. The apostles will have to bear witness to Christ. Their testimony as human persons will be supported and confirmed by the testimony of a divine Person, the Holy Spirit.

4. For that very reason the Holy Spirit is also the invisible master who will continue to impart from one generation to the next the teaching of Christ himself: his Gospel. "But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming" (Jn 16:13). From this we deduce that the Holy Spirit will not only watch over the Church as regards the solidness and the identification of the truth in Christ. He will also indicate the way to transmit this truth to the coming generations which will continue to appear through various eras, and to peoples and societies in various places, according to their needs and their ability to understand, giving each person the strength to assent interiorly to that truth and conform his or her life to it.

5. A particular aspect of this action, already stressed in the Encyclical Dominum et Vivificantem (cf. nn. 27-28), is that which Jesus himself announced with these words: "And when he comes he will convict the world in regard to sin and righteousness and condemnation" (Jn 16:8). This particular power to convict the world, that is, those who are in the world, in regard to sin is an essential aspect of the mission of the Spirit of truth. To convict regarding condemnation means, according to Jesus' owns words, that "the prince of this world has been condemned" (Jn 16:11). He who is to come as Consoler and Advocate, the Holy Spirit, must guide humanity toward victory over evil and over the works of evil in the world.

There is a close connection between the redemptive death of Christ on the cross and what he gave the apostles after his resurrection: "Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins you forgive are forgiven them" (Jn 20:22-23). This is the route through which the road leading to victory over evil passes, the evil which the Spirit of truth must constantly convict the world of.

6. All of these passages come from Jesus' discourse in the upper room and reveal the Holy Spirit as a Person subsisting in trinitarian unity with the Father and the Son. They show the mission in which he is closely linked to the redemption accomplished by Christ: "For if I do not go," passing from this world to the Father, "the Advocate will not come to you" (Jn 16:7). There are also other passages which are very significant in this regard.

7. Jesus announces that the Holy Spirit will come to "remain" with us: "I will pray to the Father and he will give you another Comforter that he may
remain with you forever" (Jn 14, 16); he himself will remain, not only his power, his wisdom, his action; but he himself as a Person.

And again: he himself will
remain not only "with us", but "by us" and "in us". "You know him" - says Jesus "because he dwells close to you and will be in you (Jn 14, 17). These words express the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as inner guest in people's hearts: in the heart of anyone among all the souls belonging to Christ who welcomes the Spirit. The Father and Son too come to "take up residence" in these souls (Jn 14:23). Therefore the whole Trinity is present in them, but, since this is a spiritual presence, that presence refers in a most direct way to the Person of the Holy Spirit.

8. Through this presence at work in the soul, a person can become that "true worshipper" of God who "is spirit" (Jn 4:24), as Jesus said in the meeting with the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well (cf. Jn 4:23). The hour of those who "adore the Father in spirit and truth" arrived with Christ and becomes a reality in every person who accepts the Holy Spirit and lives according to the Spirit's inspiration and under the Spirit's personal direction. That is the greatest and holiest element in Christian spirituality."

After the Catechesis, Papa Giovanni Paolo II greeted the pilgrims in various languages

Ai pellegrini tedeschi

Liebe Schwestern und Brüder!

Mit dieser kurzen Betrachtung grüße ich alle deutschsprachigen Pilger und Besucher sehr herzlich. Mein besonderer Grugilt den Mitgliedern des Landwirtschaftsausschusses des Deutschen Bundestages, die sich zu Gesprächen mit der FAO in Rom aufhalten, sowie dei Teilnehmern an der Diözesanwallfahrt des Bistums Hildesheim unter der Leitung des Herrn Weihbischofs Heinrich Pachowiak, unter ihnen eine Gruppe von blinden und taubstummen Mitchristen. Gebe Gott, daß Eure Wallfahrt zum Grab des Apostels Petrus Euren Glauben und die Einheit mit seinem Nachfolger festige. Euch allen und Euren Angehörigen in der Heimat sowie den mit uns über Radio Vatikan verbundenen Hörerinnen und Hörern erteile ich von Herzen meinen Apostolischen Segen.

Ai fedeli polacchi

ROZPOCZĘLIŚMY NASZ cykl jasnogórski w dniu Świętych Cyryla i Metodego. Przychodzimy do Ciebie, Matko, co tydzień rozległym szlakiem, który prowadzi przez dzieje ludów i narodów, zwłaszcza naszych sąsiadów i pobratymców.

Oto nasz czas pośrodku Europy na nowo się zaczyna. W tym nowym początku historii jest nasz udział i nasze miejsce. Jest tyle więzi dalekiej przeszłości - i tyle bliskich doświadczeń w historii tego stulecia. W tym stuleciu . . . W tym dramatycznym dwudziestym stuleciu, które zamyka drugie milenium po Chrystusie.

Jest jeden jeszcze naród, jeden lud szczególny: lud Patriarchów, Mojżesza i Proroków, dziedzictwo wiary Abrahama.

Kościół ma przed oczyma słowa Pawła Apostoła o jego potomkach“do których należy przybrane synostwo i chwała, przymierze i zakon, służba Boża i obietnice; ich przodkami są ci, z których pochodzi Chrystus wedle ciała”  - słowa Soboru Watykańskiego II.  Chrystus i apostołowie. I Ty sama, Dziewico-Matko, Córo Syjońska. Ten naród żył z nami przez pokolenia, ramię w ramię, na tej samej ziemi, która stała się jakby nową ojczyzną jego rozproszenia.

Temu narodowi zadano straszliwą śmierć w milionach synów i córek. Naprzód napiętnowano ich szczególnym piętnem. Potem zepchnięto do getta w osobnych dzielnicach. Potem wywożono do komór gazowych zadając śmierć - tylko za to, że byli dziećmi tego narodu.

Mordercy czynili to na naszej ziemi - może po to, aby ją zhańbić. Nie można zhańbić ziemi śmiercią niewinnych ofiar. Przez taką śmierć ziemia staje się świętą relikwią.

Lud, który żył z nami przez wiele pokoleń, pozostał z nami po tej straszliwej śmierci milionów swych synów i córek. Wspólnie czekamy Dnia Sądu i Zmartwychwstania.

Ai fedeli di lingua francese

Chers Frères et Sœurs,

Je salue cordialement les personnes de langue française présentes à cette audience. Chers pèlerins, que votre visite à Rome renouvelle votre foi et vous encourage à participer activement à la vie de l’Eglise dans votre paroisse et dans votre diocèse. De grand cœur, je vous donne ma Bénédiction Apostolique.

Ai pellegrini di lingua inglese

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I wish to extend a special greeting to the Franciscan Sisters, Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and to the Ursuline Sisters present here this morning. Dear Sisters, continue to give joyful witness to the special love which binds you to Christ and to his Church through your religious consecration. May your visit to Rome be a time of deep spiritual renewal so that your apostolates may benefit and your Congregations be strengthened. On all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors, especially those from England, Scotland, Norway, Sweden, Indonesia, Canada and the United States, I invoke abundant blessings of grace and peace.

A un gruppo di visitatori buddisti

Saluto il Venerabile Signor Kiriyama e i fedeli del gruppo buddista “Agon”, che lo accompagnano: siate i benvenuti qui in Vaticano.

So che pregate per la pace nel mondo e vi impegnate in attività sociali a livello internazionale, oltre che per il dialogo tra le religioni. Apprezzo molto questa vostra azione e vi auguro di proseguire in tale direzione.

Infine, grazie di cuore per la vostra visita.

Ai fedeli di lingua spagnola

Amadísimos hermanos y hermanas,

Deseo ahora saludar muy cordialmente a todos los peregrinos y visitantes procedentes de los diversos Países de América Latina y de España.

En particular, a los Religiosos Terciarios Capuchinos que han participado en el primer Encuentro Amigoniano de Formadores, y les aliento a una ilusionada entrega a Dios y a sus actividades apostólicas.

Igualmente saludo al grupo de estudiantes de la Facultad de Arquitectura de la Universidad del Uruguay y a la peregrinación de Talavera de la Reina, archidiócesis de Toledo.

Finalmente, mi cordial bienvenida a este encuentro al grupo de Magistrados de América Latina aquí presentes.

A todos bendigo de corazón.

Ai fedeli di lingua portoghese

Amadíssimos irmãos e irmãs,

Aos peregrinos vindos do Brasil, ou seja de São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre e Recife, e todos os demais de língua portuguesa, como penhor de abundantes dons divinos, concedo de bom grado a minha Bênção Apostólica.

Ai pellegrinaggi italiani

Saluto tutti i gruppi di lingua italiana presenti a questa Udienza. Tra essi vi sono i pellegrini della Prepositura di S. Vittore Martire di Terno d’Isola, in diocesi di Bergamo, e il gruppo parrocchiale di S. Lorenzo Martire, di Ronchi dei Legionari, in diocesi di Gorizia. Mi compiaccio con voi, cari fedeli di S. Vittore, per aver voluto ricordare con una fiaccolata i 1400 anni di fondazione della vostra chiesa e i 450 di costruzione dell’attuale Prepositura; e anche con voi, cari fratelli di S. Lorenzo, che siete venuti per far benedire la prima pietra di una nuova chiesa dedicata a Santa Domenica. Vi auguro che tali ricorrenze e iniziative servano a far crescere le vostre Comunità nella fede e nell’esercizio delle virtù cristiane.

Rivolgo, poi, un particolare saluto al gruppo dell’Associazione Volontari Italiani del Sangue (Avis) della Valle Camonica, con sede ad Edolo e a Breno, in diocesi di Brescia. Colgo l’occasione di questa vostra presenza per esprimere la mia profonda ammirazione a voi ed a tutti coloro che svolgono tale servizio umanitario, tanto generoso e benemerito. Vorrei ringraziarvi anche a nome di tutti coloro che traggono giovamento dalla vostra opera per quanto avete fatto e per quanto intendete fare in futuro. Il Signore dia merito alla vostra nobile dedizione.

Ai giovani, agli ammalati e agli sposi novelli

Rivolgo ora il mio cordiale saluto ai malati e agli sposi novelli, esprimendo loro il mio ringraziamento per la loro presenza a questa Udienza generale.

Per il prossimo Sinodo dei Vescovi

Poiché tra pochi giorni inizierà il Sinodo dei Vescovi sul tema della formazione dei Sacerdoti nell’epoca moderna, vi chiedo l’impegno della preghiera per il buon esito dei lavori sinodali. La Chiesa e la società attuale hanno bisogno di sacerdoti ben preparati spiritualmente e dottrinalmente, coraggiosi e totalmente consacrati al bene delle anime, con la missione e il potere di Cristo Salvatore. E questa è una grazia divina immensamente preziosa, che si ottiene mediante la preghiera, specialmente di voi giovani, che avete bisogno di guide sicure nel cammino della vita; di voi malati, che siete consolati e sostenuti dai ministri di Dio; di voi, sposi novelli, dal cui amore devono sgorgare le future vocazioni al servizio del Signore. Pregate, pertanto, con fervore durante il prossimo mese, affinché il Sinodo sia illuminato dalla luce dello Spirito Santo e sia ricco di frutti per il bene della Chiesa e dell’intera umanità. Di gran cuore a tutti imparto la mia Benedizione.

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