(Wednesday, June 7)

O Heavenly King, the Comforter (Paráklite, Utéshitelyu), the Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere and fillest all things; Treasury of Blessings, and Giver of Life – come and abide in us, and cleanse us from every impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.” (Prayer to the Holy Spirit)

What does “the Comforter” mean, in the Prayer to the Holy Spirit? This word, which in Greek is “para-kletos,” literally means “the one called to one’s side,” an “ad-vocatus” or advocate. He is called to our side to guide us, counsel us, intercede for us, and to speak for us, whenever we need help in speaking “for” ourselves. We need counsel and help with speaking “for” ourselves, lest we unwittingly (or wittingly) speak “against” ourselves, using destructive rather than constructive words before God and our neighbors. As we are reminded in today’s Gospel-reading: “Whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.” (Mt 5:22)

Who is it that “calls” the “Para-kletos” or “Ad-vocatus” to our side? We do. We might hesitate or neglect to do so, when we get caught up in self-reliance and the self-centered fears that come from self-reliance; or when we don’t have faith that God is listening, wants to and can help, because He is “everywhere” and “good.” We are reminded in the prayer to the Holy Spirit, that He is the “Good One,” because we need this reminder; we tend to project onto God our own shortcomings, or perhaps the shortcomings of human parents. Christ addresses this when He assures us: “If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Lk 11:11-13)

Thank You, Lord, and thank You, O Heavenly King and Comforter! Come and abide in us, and cleanse us from every impurity, and save our souls, O Good One!
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