As Eastertide closes, liturgies turn our mind from rejoicing in Christ’s Resurrection to accepting his physical absence and Lordship (Ascension) in preparation for our union with God in and through the presence of the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ has not abandoned his people, nor will he. “I am yours, you are mine.” That is his divine promise to us. But his presence is now mediated to us through the Holy Spirit. Whatever of Christ we receive--his Word in the gospel, his Body and Blood in the Eucharist, his love in the Body of Christ--we receive in and through the Holy Spirit. Without the Spirit, we would not believe or experience the real love of Christ for human beings, each and all. Without the Holy Spirit, our minds would not be enlightened by the truth of Christ shining in. Without the Holy Spirit, we would not experience God’s forgiveness. Without the Holy Spirit, we could love for our own benefit, but not with God’s own self-giving love.
“We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life.” One may say that our biological life comes through the body’s physical processes and through ongoing breathing, drinking, eating, exercising, and resting; but God’s life in us comes through openness and ongoing response to the indwelling Spirit. The Spirit, generating true love in us for God and for one another, knits us together for our well-being in time and in eternity. The life that the Holy Spirit keeps breathing into us is divine Life, true life, and it is forever, because it is not ours, but God’s Life in us. “Because I live, you shall live also,” says the Risen LORD, dwelling in us through the Holy Spirit. “We will not leave you orphans or abandoned, we will come to you.” That promise, spoken by Christ, means that the whole mystery of God is alive in our souls, and we are taken up eternally into union with He Who Is. One simple truth, slowly breaking into our human hearts, effecting in us what God promises to give: Himself to us eternally.