The living water of the Holy Spirit

The water I shall give him will become in him a fountain of living water, welling up into eternal life. This is a new kind of water, a living, leaping water, welling up for those who are worthy. But why did Christ call the grace of the Spirit water? Because all things are dependent on water; plants and animals have their origin in water. Water comes down from heaven as rain, and although it is always the same in itself, it produces many different effects, one in the palm tree, another in the vine, and so on throughout the whole of creation. It does not come down, now as one thing, now as another, but while remaining essentially the same, it adapts itself to the needs of every creature that receives it.
  In the same way the Holy Spirit, whose nature is always the same, simple and indivisible, apportions grace to each man as he wills. Like a dry tree which puts forth shoots when watered, the soul bears the fruit of holiness when repentance has made it worthy of receiving the Holy Spirit. Although the Spirit never changes, the effects of his action, by the will of God and in the name of Christ, are both many and marvellous.
  The Spirit makes one man a teacher of divine truth, inspires another to prophesy, gives another the power of casting out devils, enables another to interpret holy Scripture. The Spirit strengthens one man’s self-control, shows another how to help the poor, teaches another to fast and lead a life of asceticism, makes another oblivious to the needs of the body, trains another for martyrdom. His action is different in different people, but the Spirit himself is always the same. In each person, Scripture says, the Spirit reveals his presence in a particular way for the common good.
  The Spirit comes gently and makes himself known by his fragrance. He is not felt as a burden, for he is light, very light. Rays of light and knowledge stream before him as he approaches. The Spirit comes with the tenderness of a true friend and protector to save, to heal, to teach, to counsel, to strengthen, to console. The Spirit comes to enlighten the mind first of the one who receives him, and then, through him, the minds of others as well.
  As light strikes the eyes of a man who comes out of darkness into the sunshine and enables him to see clearly things he could not discern before, so light floods the soul of the man counted worthy of receiving the Holy Spirit and enables him to see things beyond the range of human vision, things hitherto undreamed of.

LOOK UP AND GO OUT

“No sooner had He said this than He was lifted up before their eyes in a cloud which took Him from their sight.” —Acts 1:9
 
The apostles asked Jesus: “Lord, are you going to restore the rule to Israel now?” (Acts 1:6) They were interested in knowing the time Jesus would restore the kingdom. Jesus responded: “The exact time it is not yours to know” (Acts 1:7). Then Jesus proceeded to bring up what He was interested in — not so much the time but the persons responsible for restoring the kingdom. The apostles had assumed Jesus would do the restoring. Jesus shocked them by asserting that they were to do the job. Before the apostles could try to shift the responsibility back onto Jesus, He ascended, leaving the apostles “holding the bag,” that is, having the responsibility of making disciples of all the nations (see Mt 28:19). However, Jesus did not leave His Church responsible but powerless. He promised us the Spirit’s power (Acts 1:8) and His presence “always, until the end of the world!” (Mt 28:20)
Jesus’ Ascension means that we, the members of the Church, take up where Jesus has left off. The responsibility for evangelizing the world is ours; the power of the Holy Spirit is ours; and the privilege of living and dying for His kingdom is ours. Because He has gone up, we must go out. Go now.
 
Prayer: “God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory,” grant us “a spirit of wisdom and insight to know” You clearly (Eph 1:17).
Promise: “He has put all things under Christ’s feet and has made Him, thus exalted, Head of the Church, which is His body: the fullness of Him Who fills the universe in all its parts.” —Eph 1:22-23
Praise: Praise the ascended Jesus, “seen by the angels; preached among the Gentiles, believed in throughout the world, taken up into glory” (1 Tm 3:16).

The glory you gave to me, I have given to them

From a homily on the Song of Songs
by
Saint Gregory of Nyssa, bishop
[ 335 – 394 A.D. ]
Our Lord’s words in the gospel bring out the meaning of this text more clearly. After having conferred all power on his disciples by his blessing, he obtained many other gifts for them by his prayer to the Father. Among these was included the greatest gift of all, which was that they were no longer to be divided in their judgement of what was right and good, for they were all to be united to the one supreme Good. As the Apostle says, they were to be bound together with the bonds of peace in the unity that comes from the Holy Spirit. They were to be made one body and one spirit by the one hope to which they were all called. We shall do better, however, to quote the sacred words of the gospel itself. I pray, the Lord says, that they all may be one; that as you, Father, are in me and I am in you, so they also may be one in us.When love has entirely cast out fear, and fear has been transformed into love, then the unity brought us by our saviour will be fully realised, for all men will be united with one another through their union with the one supreme Good. They will possess the perfection ascribed to the dove, according to our interpretation of the text: One alone is my dove, my perfect one. She is the only child of her mother, her chosen one.
  Now the bond that creates this unity is glory. That the Holy Spirit is called glory no one can deny if he thinks carefully about the Lord’s words: The glory you gave to me, I have given to them. In fact, he gave this glory to his disciples when he said to them: Receive the Holy Spirit. Although he had always possessed it, even before the world existed, he himself received this glory when he put on human nature. Then, when his human nature had been glorified by the Spirit, the glory of the Spirit was passed on to all his kin, beginning with his disciples. This is why he said: The glory you gave to me, I have given to them, so that they may be one as we are one. With me in them and you in me, I want them to be perfectly one.
  Whoever has grown from infancy to manhood and attained to spiritual maturity possesses the mastery over his passions and the purity that makes it possible for him to receive the glory of the Spirit. He is that perfect dove upon whom the eyes of the bridegroom rest when he says: One alone is my dove, my perfect one.