Saint Meinrad Seminary & School of Theology

Formation and Education for the Life of the Church


by Br. Francis Wagner, OSB


Scripture offers us numerous reminders of how the Holy Spirit works in the Body of Christ. The message is this:  We are never alone. "I will not leave you orphaned," Jesus promises (John 14:15-21). In baptism, we are sanctified - claimed - as God's children and sealed with the Holy Spirit. Through the sacrament of confirmation (cf. Acts 8:5-8, 14-17), we are fortified by the Holy Spirit to live more fully in faith, hope, and love.

The Spirit is not a concept, but a  Person -  the third Person of the One and Triune God who animates and enlightens God's Temple, the Church as the Body of Christ, and our individual souls. Jesus calls the Spirit the "Advocate" who will be with us always. The Greek term for this word supplies us with a traditional definition - a supporter or defender, like a defense attorney. It also means an intercessor, a mediator, a spokesperson, and a comforter or consoler.

However, there is a deeper meaning - that of a teacher or witness. The Spirit of Truth instructs and provides evidence through  personal presence.  This means that Jesus is more fully present to us than he ever was to his disciples in his own time and place. Then, he was only present to  them.  Now, he is present to  all,  throughout time and eternity.

In Christ and through the Holy Spirit, we are made friends of God. We are all connected - the ultimate social network.

Because of this, we have the Advocate - in prayer, in the Eucharist, in the other sacraments, in Scripture, in the ministers of the Church, and its living Tradition, in one another, and in our hearts. The Spirit - coequal and coeternal with Father and Son - is the reason for our hope.

Brought to life in the Spirit through the death and resurrection of Christ (cf. 1 Peter 3:15-18), we have faith in yesterday, hope in tomorrow, and love for today. We become one in the Holy Trinity, now and forever. Amen.

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Echoes from the Bell Tower is a blog devoted to observations on Christian faith, spirituality and everyday events, by authors with a connection to the Benedictine values found at Saint Meinrad Archabbey and its Seminary and School of Theology. Contributors include students, permanent deacons, Benedictine oblates and Saint Meinrad monks. Their stories, thoughts and ideas highlight the mission and vision that ring out from the bell towers on this Hill in southern Indiana.