The Holy Spirit
It is a cliché in Catholic circles that the Holy Spirit is the neglected Person of the Blessed Trinity. While the Council of Nicaea promulgated formulas for the Father and the Son, it merely stated belief in the existence of the Holy Spirit. More details would be added at future Ecumenical Councils, as the Creed we recite on a Sunday demonstrates, but nevertheless the Spirit retains an element of mystery and ineffability. However, we realise that the Holy Spirit absolutely is essential to the Christian life which is grounded and built upon grace. We understand that the Holy Spirit is at the very centre of the Sacraments, the Magisterium and in the hearts of each individual Baptised person. Through the Spirit we are united to the Mystical Body of Christ and made sons and daughters of God the Father.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus promises us a new Advocate who will counsel and advise us. The Holy Spirit will continue to make Jesus’ teaching present in the world and in each individual heart until the end of time. Also, each of us has a conscience that is bound up with the Holy Spirit. How we engage with our Faith will inform our conscience but it is the same Spirit that guides all of us. It might be hard to capture the essence of the Spirit in a dogmatic formula but if we open our hearts and minds to it we can hear and know the Spirit. This will be beyond words but rooted in our very essence.
Father Francis Jordan
A phrase in today’s Gospel was considered very important by Father Francis Jordan, the founder of the Salvatorians: ‘Now this is eternal life, to know you the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.’ John 17:3.
It was a text he frequently meditated over and it became the centrepiece of the spirituality of our Order. The name Salvatorians is an abbreviation of our proper title: The Society of the Divine Saviour. And from this you can see that our spirituality is focused on Jesus Christ the Divine Saviour.
The important word in that phrase is ‘know’. Father Jordan wanted his new Society to focus on making the Divine Saviour known to as many people as possible in the world.
For this reason, one of his earliest tasks was to set up a printing press which disseminated magazines to the German speaking countries. Eventually we had a large printing house in Berlin which published among many other items the encyclical ‘Mit brennender Sorge’ (1937) in which Pius XI made clear his opposition to Nazism.
Moreover, Jordan wanted each member of his Society to use his or her talents to further this mission of making the Saviour known to the world which is one of the reasons that our Order is open to accepting the widest possible range of apostolates.
Father Alex SDS
We remember in our prayers the children of our parish
who are receiving their First Holy Communion this Sunday:
Emmanuel Aisagbonhi, Jeremy Aisagbonhi, Isabel Bowen, Esmée Dancey, Cora Molloy, Adam Poręba, Helena Radwan, Ioan Robinson, Gabrielle Rowland, Henry Smith, Johan Soby and Khienn Uzziah
The Burning Babe
Robert Southwell SJ
As I in hoary winter’s night stood shivering in the snow,
Surpris’d I was with sudden heat which made my heart to glow;
And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was near,
A pretty Babe all burning bright did in the air appear;
Who, scorched with excessive heat, such floods of tears did shed
As though his floods should quench his flames which with his tears were fed.
“Alas!” quoth he, “but newly born, in fiery heats I fry,
Yet none approach to warm their hearts or feel my fire but I!
My faultless breast the furnace is, the fuel wounding thorns,
Love is the fire, and sighs the smoke, the ashes shame and scorns;
The fuel Justice layeth on, and Mercy blows the coals,
The metal in this furnace wrought are men’s defiled souls,
For which, as now on fire I am to work them to their good,
So will I melt into a bath to wash them in my blood.”
With this he vanish’d out of sight and swiftly shrunk away,
And straight I called unto mind that it was Christmas day.
On Friday we had a very interesting talk by Duncan McGibbon on the poet and martyr St Robert Southwell.
Father Alex McAllister SDS