Seek the Holy Spirit

Pentecost by Jan Joest Van Kalkar

The following reflection is from The Mirror of Faith by William of Saint Thierry (1080-1148), abbot

(PL 180, 384)

Seek the Understanding of Faith from the Holy Spirit

When in your life of faith you are confronted with the deeper mysteries it is natural to become a little frightened. When this happens, take heart, faithful Christian. Do not raise objections, but ask with loving submission, “How can these things be?” Let your question be a prayer, an expression of love and self-surrender to God. Let it be an expression of your humble desire not to penetrate his sublime majesty, but to find salvation through the saving deeds of God our Savior.

Then the angel of good counsel will reply: When the Paraclete comes, whom I shall send you from the Father, he will remind you of everything and teach you all truth. Even as no one knows a man’s secret thoughts except his own spirit within him, so no one comprehends the mysteries of God except the Spirit of God.

When [the Holy Spirit] comes in answer
to your prayer, he comes with
an abundance of divine blessings.

Hasten therefore to receive the Holy Spirit. He is with you when you call upon him; you can call upon him only because he is already present. But when he comes in answer to your prayer, he comes with an abundance of divine blessings; he is the river whose streams give joy to the city of God.

If when he comes he finds you humble, silent and trembling at the words of God, he will rest upon you and reveal what God the Father has hidden from the wise and the prudent of this world. You will then begin to understand the things holy Wisdom could have told his disciples on earth, but which they were unable to bear until the Spirit of truth came who was to teach them all truth. For this reason we cannot hope to learn from the lips of any man truths that Truth himself could not convey. As he himself must worship in spirit and truth, so those who wish to know him must seek understanding of their faith and perception of its pure and simple truth only in the Holy Spirit.

From one degree of faith to the next
[the Holy Spirit] is ever revealing
to believers the justice of God.

In the darkness and ignorance of this life the Holy Spirit enlightens the poor in spirit. He is the love that draws them on, the sweetness that attracts them, the way in which a man approaches God. He is the love of the lover. He is devotion. He is piety. From one degree of faith to the next he is ever revealing to believers the justice of God, so that grace follows grace, and the faith that comes from hearing yields to a faith enlightened by understanding.

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The Fathers of the Church are so called because of their leadership in the early Church, especially in defending, expounding, and developing Catholic doctrines. For the first two centuries, most of these men were bishops.