Promises of God: We have an Advocate

May 21, 2018

Many years ago Sr. Joan, my spiritual director during my eight day silent retreat, repeated to me over and over again:  “Becky, you have all you need within you to walk the journey of faith.” To be honest, I cannot remember what God had my attention about on that retreat for her to keep repeating that line to me, but I have not forgotten her fourteen words of wisdom.  

The essence, though, of what Sr. Joan invited me to embrace is captured in our next promise of God, we have an advocate.  She kept reminding me to celebrate the gift of:

  • The inner chapel within me
  • The gift of the Holy Spirit in my life

Let me tell you a bit more about what I mean!

We have an Advocate:  

In John’s Gospel (Jn 15:15), Jesus tells us that he is going to ask the Father for an Advocate that will be with us always even when Jesus is no longer one with his disciples on Earth. 

Yesterday in the Catholic Church it was Pentecost Sunday.  This is the day we celebrate this promise of Jesus coming to fruition with the Holy Spirit descending down upon the Apostles and their followers.  In our Catholic Church, we also celebrate the birth of our church.

The gift of the Holy Spirit in our lives is that we have an advocate who is always with us and offers us support by:

  • Praying for us
  • Groaning on our behalf when we cannot express the right words 
  • Guides us through the movements of our heart.  

In Ignatian spirtiualty, the Holy Spirit is a key player.  St. Ignatius teaches us to look for the movements of the Holy Spirit by noticing when the Spirit is rising restlessness within us to let us know we are on the wrong path or that we need to pay attention to something.  The Holy Spirit also offers us the gift of consolation to let us know we are on the right path and making the right decisions.

What does the Spirit of the Lord look like?

Often in my ministry work, people ask me, “How do I know if it’s God or not?” Scripture, yet again, offers us guidance on how we discern the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  Let’s look at two examples.

In Isaiah 11: 1-2 it says, “But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, A spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD, and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD Not by appearance shall he judge, nor by hearsay shall he decide,”

In this scripture, we read of the promise of the Messiah.  It cleary tells us what the spirit of the Lord looks like…

  • Wisdom
  • Understanding
  • Counsel
  • Strength
  • Knowledge
  • Fear of the lord

This echoes what we read in Galatians 5: 22-23 where it names what the fruits of the Spirit are:

  • Love
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Generosity
  • Faithfulness
  • Gentleness
  • Self-Control

Both of these scriptures offer us examples of what the work of our advocate, the Holy Spirit, looks like in our lives.  We know the Holy Spirit is present when we feel an increase of love, of joy, of hope, of peace. We also experience the Advocate at work guiding us when we experience wisdom, self-control, or understanding.    

The good news of our faith is that we do not live our lives alone.  No decision we need to make or situation we experience is faced alone.  The great Advocate, the Holy Spirit, is laboring on our behalf to bring the fruits of the Spirit into our lives and guide our paths.  

This week, I invite you to notice how the Spirit of the Lord manifests in your life!

Go Deeper?


 

 

Becky is an Ignatian-trained spiritual director, retreat facilitator, and writer. She is the author of the Busy Lives and Restless Souls (March 2017, Loyola Press) and The Inner Chapel (April 2020, Loyola Press). She helps others create space to connect faith and everyday life through facilitating retreats and days of reflection, through writing, and through spiritual direction. With nearly twenty years of ministry experience within the Catholic Church, Becky seeks to help others discover God at work in the every day moments of people’s lives by utilizing St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises and the many gifts that our Catholic faith and Ignatian Spirituality provide.

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