First Reading: Acts 16:11-15; Psalm: 149. R. v. 4a; Gospel: Jn 15:26-16:4a
THE FORTITUDE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
Have we ever been worried about persecution or martyrdom and what our possible response would be like if such fate befell us? The thought of this alone is enough to make us frantic with fear. This is because humanly, we do not have the courage it takes to withstand or accept them. It is something that requires supernatural strength and courage. It is not like our normal future goals that require planning and strategising on how to implement them. Withstanding persecution or accepting martyrdom is principally the work of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus did not tell his disciples of their impending persecution to heighten their fear or for them to start planning on how to manage this reality when it comes. Jesus only told them of it that they may understand the working power of the Holy Spirit who bears witness to him in them. “When the Counsellor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me” (Jn 15:26). So, it would futile for the disciples to be petrified by the tension or worry of persecution. The Holy Spirit shall be their strength when that time comes.
Courage and resoluteness are the fruits of the gift of Fortitude which is one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. Fortitude instils in us a tenacious and fearless spirit to remain steadfast in the face of persecution. Since the Spirit of God dwells in us as baptised Christians, it is needless therefore to worry about persecutions that may come to us in any form since we are not the principal agent of the gift of fortitude. We only need to remain steadfast in our faith and leave our fears and worries for the Holy Spirit to take care of. When the Holy Spirit comes, he will teach us everything. (Jn 14:26).
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
O Holy Spirit our Counsellor, strengthen us in our moments of trials and persecution. Amen.