Day 31: No Branch Can Bear Fruit by Itself
I believe in the Holy Spirit.
John 14:15–18; 25–27
“If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”
“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”
“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.”
In John’s Gospel, Jesus’ last words to his disciples deal almost exclusively with the Holy Spirit. He tells them his secret. Earlier in the Gospel he describes his work by saying he says only what he hears the Father saying and does only what he sees the Father doing. The Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit work together in a profoundly bonded community and through an exquisitely unified order. In this revelatory teaching, Jesus prepares us to be brought on the inside of this community to participate in this order. This is extraordinary.
In fact, at the climax of Jesus’ teaching he offers what is arguably the most substantive prayer that we have recorded (see John 17). He prays specifically for us, saying, “My prayer, Father, is that all of them would be one; just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” What he asks for seems impossible; that our relationships with each other would have the very same character of union of his relationship with his Father. Further, he asks for our community to be brought inside of their community. Finally, he links all of this to the ability for the world to believe in him. Could this be why he focuses so much on the Holy Spirit in his final hours with the disciples? Think on these things.
To say, “I believe in the Holy Spirit,” is not assent to a doctrinal concept but rather to open yourself to full participation in the ministry of the gospel and all its implications.
Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy.
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy.
Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy.
—From Prayer to the Holy Spirit
St. Augustine of Hippo
Express your questions, doubts, curiosities, and conundrums.
Write any fresh affirmation stirring in your heart and mind from today.
Now affirm the Apostles’ Creed aloud:
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth, I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord . . .