Today we are keeping the Feast of the Holy Spirit. What do we know about Him? We heard wonderful words of prayer about Him yesterday on Trinity Sunday, but let us think of Him, of the name He is given in the Gospel, which is translated ‘The Comforter’ in English, in other translations ‘The Advocate’. He is the One Who is the Comforter indeed, the One Who consoles us for our separation from Christ, Who consoles us who are like orphans, who long to be with Christ our God, our Saviour, and who know that as long as we are in the flesh – and these are the words of St. Paul – we are separated from Him. But for Him to be our Comforter, to be our consolation, we must first be aware of the fact that we are separated and this is the first question we must ask ourselves: are we aware of it, or do we live in the delusion that we are in God and God in us, and that nothing more is needed? How much more is needed!
He is also the One Who, as the Comforter, gives us strength, strength to live despite the separation, strength to stand fast and to be the doers of the Will, the fulfillers of the Commandments of God, the One Who can give us vigour of soul, determination, power to act. But this, again, only if we turn to Him and say, Come! Come and abide in us! Cleanse us! Be not only our Comforter but our strength also.
Lastly, He is the One Who gives us, already now, the joy of knowing how close we are despite what seems to be an infinite distance between God and us, the One Who, in unutterable groanings, speaks to God from the depths of our being; the One Who, because we are Christ’s own people, His brothers and sisters in humanity – and these are His own words – that we are the children of the Father. The joy of this, the wonder of this, the dignity of this! Indeed also, the responsibility of this…
If we think of our world which is to such a great extent alien to God, the Spirit is already the beginning of eternal life. His presence is a decisive fact. He beats against the rocks like the sea, He breaks resistances. He is the joy of eternity knocking at our door, forcing Himself into our lives, reminding us of God our Father, of Christ our Saviour and of our greatness and dignity before God, showing us that all things are possible in the power of Christ Who sustains us.
Let us therefore responsibly and gratefully keep this Feast. And may the Spirit of God Who came in tongues of fire upon the Apostles, come to us also – perhaps like a fire that sets us aglow and makes us like a Burning Bush, or touches us like the still, small voice which the Prophet heard in the wilderness in which God was, in His quiet humility, in His surrender to us, in His love for us. Amen.
Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh