The Holy Spirit, The Comforter (I)

Saint Nikolai Velimirovich

When the seed is sowed, the power of the heat and of the light must penetrate it to make it grow. When the tree is planted the power of the wind must come to make it strong and strengthen its root. When the householder builds his house he seeks the power of prayer to sanctify it. Our Lord Jesus Christ sowed the most precious seed in the field of this world. The power of the Holy Spirit was needed to come to give it heat and light and make it grow.

God the Son sowed the Tree of Life in the desert and uncultivated fields of death.

It was needed to have the strong whirl of the Holy Spirit breathing inside it to establish the Tree of Life. God’s wisdom since eternity became a shelter for the chosen souls of men. The power and wisdom of God’s Spirit had to descend in this shelter and sanctify it.

The divine Groom had chosen His Bride, the Church of the pure souls and the Spirit of the eternal joy had to descend to unite the sky and the earth with a ring and clad the Bride in bridal garments. Everything was to take place as it had been prophesied.

The Holy Spirit was promised and the Holy Spirit came. Who could promise the coming on earth of the Almighty Spirit except for the One who knew that the Spirit will be obedient and come? And to whom could He show immediate obedience if not to the One for whom He has perfect love?

Oh, how perfect is the benevolent love to show absolute obedience! This perfect love cannot reveal itself completely otherwise than by absolute obedience. Love is very careful all the time and with the wish and zeal to listen the beloved One. And from the absolute obedience comes out like a spring of milk and honey an absolute joy which makes love a beautiful thing. The Father has a perfect love for the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Son has a perfect love for the Father and the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit has a perfect love for the Father and the Son.

Due to this perfect love the Father is the immediate servant of the Son and of the Holy Spirit just as the Son is for the Father and the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is for the Father and the Son. In the same way there is no love from the created world to resemble the love shared by each one of the Divine Persons, there is no obedience to resemble their obedience towards each other.

`I finished the work You gave Me to do` (John 17:4); `Your will be done`(Matthew 6:10). Don’t these words show the absolute obedience of the Son towards the Father?` ` I knew that you always hear me.` (John 11:41-42), the Lord said when he revived Lazarus. And later He cried on a certain occasion:

` Father, glorify your name. Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.` (John 12:28). Don’t these show the absolute obedience of the Father towards the Son?

`And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever` (John 14:16); `When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. `(John 15:26).

And indeed in the 50th day after Resurrection, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth descended over those for whom He promised Him. Doesn’t this show the absolute obedience towards the Son? The saving command settled by Saint Paul the Apostle for all the believers:

 `Honor one another above yourselves.` (Romans 12:10), is perfectly accomplished between the Persons of the Holy Trinity. Each Person tries to show greater honor to the other two than to Himself, as each one of them wants by His obedience to make Himself smaller than the other two. And if there weren’t this sweet and holy aspiration of each one of these Divine Persons to honor the other two lessening Himself by obedience coming out of the endless love each Person has for the other two, then the Triune God would become a Person without identity.

Thus from the endless love the Holy Spirit has for the Son, He rushed to descend at the right time over the Apostles. The Son knew for sure that the Holy Spirit would listen to Him and that is why He made the certain promise of the descent of the Spirit over the Apostles.

`But stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.` (Luke 24:49), commanded the Lord to His Apostles. Don’t ask how our Lord Jesus Christ knew beforehand that this power from above, the Holy Spirit wanted to descend over His disciples. Not only that the Lord knew about this beforehand but He also knew all the others which were to happen until the end of times and after that. But if you deepen thoroughly this event you will see that this foreknowledge and prophecy of the Lord about the descent of the Holy Spirit is a foreknowledge and a prophecy in the measure in which it refers at the fact beside that descent: it doesn’t refer at the consent and the willingness of the Spirit to fulfill the Will of the Son to descend. Because the Lord already had the consent and willingness of the Spirit for that before He spoke about the descent of the Spirit.

In fact the Holy Spirit spoke through the Lord about His descent.

Doesn’t the Gospel say that Jesus was `full of Holy Spirit`? (Luke 4:1) And didn’t our Lord Jesus Christ prove in Nazareth that Isaiah’s prophecy was fulfilled in Him: ` The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor.` (Luke 4:18)

Here is how it is clarified the fact that the Son was in an inseparable unity with the Holy Spirit and the Father in perfect communion of love, obedience and joy. The anointment with myrrh by the Holy Spirit attests the real and vivid presence of the Spirit in a person. Then how could the One anointed with myrrh say something about the Holy Spirit without the knowledge of the Holy Spirit Himself or promise the common work with this Spirit without the consent of the Spirit? The evangelical parable from today shows the fact that the Holy Spirit was present in Lord Jesus and that He was in perfect communion with Lord Jesus in every word, at every work and promise of the Lord.

`On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.`

This feast is the Feast of the Tents which is celebrated in autumn in the remembrance of the raising of tents in the desert during the journey of the Jews through it.

This feast was celebrated in the seventh month according to the Judaic calendar which corresponds to our September and it was a feast of joy (Leviticus 23:24; Deuteronomy 16:13-14). It was celebrated for seven days and the last day must have been really magnificent being called `great.` `If anyone is thirsty` the Lord cried, `let him come to Me and drink.` In the desert Jerusalem it was difficult to find water for the crowds of common people. The water sellers carried water from the fountain of Siloam and the householders took water from them in their vessels. What made the Lord speak about thirst and water? Maybe the people complained they were thirsty. Maybe he watched the water sellers who carried with great effort their heavy pails with water from the hill of Siloam to the hill Moriah where it was located the temple. Or maybe the reason was that it was the last day and the Lord wanted to use the opportunity for bringing in the idea of spiritual thirst to the men with callous hearts and give them a spiritual drink. The Lord had told the Samaritan woman: `

`but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. `(John 4:14). And He thinks now at the life giving water since He calls every thirsty man: `let him come to Me and drink!`

`Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.` (And He said this about the Spirit Whom those who believed in Him were to receive. For as yet the Spirit had not been not given because Jesus was not yet glorified).

Above all the Lord shows the need of having faith in Him. He promised a reward only to those who have faith in Him and this means only as it was written in the Scripture. The men won’t believe in Him as in one of the prophets since all the prophets prophesied about Him. Nor will He be regarded as a second Elijah or John the Baptist. Elijah and John the Baptist were only servants of God and forerunners of God. The Holy Scripture speaks about Him as Son of God born from the Father from eternity and from the Immaculate Virgin Mary in transitoriness. When Saint Peter the Apostle confessed such a faith in Him saying: `You are Christ, the Son of the Living God.` (Matthew 16:16), He praised this faith. When the rulers and the scholars tried to put him in difficulty by all kinds of obscure questions He put them in difficulty telling them by quoting from the Holy Scripture that the expected Messiah was not only the Son of David but also the Son of God (Matthew 22:42-45).

His wish is to believe in Him as in the greatest revelation of God through which all the other revelations were removed from the first one until the last. Without Him faith is in vain, hope is in vain and love is useless. But the true faith in Him leads to salvation – fact which can be attested by those who have true faith. How can this be reinforced? From their bodies will flow rivers of living water.

By `living water` it is understood here Holy Spirit as it is explained by the evangelist : `He said this about the Spirit.` Therefore the one who believes in the Son of God will receive the Spirit of God who will come to dwell inside him and the spiritual life giving river will flow from his body. But why from his stomach (body)? Because the body is the shelter of the Holy Spirit in saints  as the Apostle says:

`Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own `(I Corinthians 6:19)?

Thus Saint Paul the Apostle speaks to the believers over whom the Holy Spirit had already descended by the faith in the Son of God. By `body` in a narrow meaning it is understood the heart of the man as a center of physical and spiritual life as well.

`My son`, says the wise emperor, `above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.` (Proverbs 4:20,23).

And prophet David prayed to God:

`Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.` (Psalm 50:11). And Saint Paul the Apostle says again: `Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts`. (Galatians 4:6).