The “Fourth Week”: Week Thirty/Session Two.
Theme: Life in the Spirit.
Our reading for today: John 14: 16-27.
I (Jesus) will talk to the Father, and He’ll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can’t take Him in because it doesn’t have eyes to see Him, doesn’t know what to look for. But you know Him already because He has been staying with you, and will even be in you!
I will not leave you orphaned. I’m coming back. In just a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you’re going to see Me because I am alive and you’re about to come alive. At that moment you will know absolutely that I’m in My Father, and you’re in Me, and I’m in you. The person who knows My commandments and keeps them, that’s who loves Me. And the person who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and make Myself plain to him. Judas (not Iscariot) said, “Master, why is it that You are about to make Yourself plain to us but not to the world?” “Because a loveless world,” said Jesus, “is a sightless world. If anyone loves Me, he will carefully keep My word and My Father will love him—We’ll move right into the neighborhood! Not loving Me means not keeping My words. The message you are hearing isn’t Mine. It’s the message of the Father who sent Me.”
I’m telling you these things while I’m still living with you. The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at My request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you. I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s My parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught. (John 14: 16-27 MsgB)
Did you ever have an invisible friend when you were a small child?
Marjorie Taylor, professor of psychology at the University of Oregon, studied preschoolers through seven years of age and discovered that 65 percent of all children have make-believe friends at some point in their young lives. Her report indicates that a healthy imagination that produces a “secret friend” actually helps young children learn about their environment, get along with others, and solve or cope with problems. Yale emeritus of psychology, Jerome Singer reports that children who create make-believe friends tend to be more imaginative, have richer and fuller vocabularies, and are better able to entertain themselves.*
I find it interesting that while the world tells us that it’s OK for kids to have a “secret friend,” without a doubt, it’s a sign of mental unstableness for adults to do so! Yet, isn’t it intriguing that Jesus of Nazareth, as He is preparing to leave His best friends, ascending to the right hand of God the Father, tells them that God is going to send them an invisible Friend to come alongside them to comfort, teach, and guide them in the days ahead?
Now, before you go off thinking I’m off my rocker here, let me explain.
As children of God, followers of Jesus of Nazareth, I can’t think of a better way for us to “grow up” and mature in the things of God than to have this wonderful Friend Jesus speaks of, coming right alongside us. And yet, unlike the ‘special friends’ pre-school children create in their minds, this Friend Jesus tells us about in today’s text is no imaginary person! Without a doubt, the Holy Spirit is no figment of our creative imagination, but as the Scriptures teach us, this Friend is actually the Third Person of the Holy Trinity! The Divine Presence of God placed securely in the hearts and lives of those who know Jesus as their Savior and Lord!
Amazing stuff, huh?
Just think about it for a moment. In the economy of God, He knows how susceptible we human beings are to being misled or to wandering aimlessly through this maze called life. Even Jesus says it here when He states that this godless world we live in just can’t embrace the good from God because it doesn’t have eyes to see it or doesn’t know what to look for.
“A loveless world is a sightless world,” Jesus states. And as I see it, a sightless wanderer with no direction from above is certainly destined to fall off the next available cliff!
So here’s the good news, folks. If I’m catching Jesus’ words here properly, it’s absolutely A-OK in the Kingdom economy of God for me to return to the wisdom of my childhood and start believing once again in the Invisible Friend Jesus tells me I now have alongside me. Oh yes, without a doubt, many in the world will call me childish, or even goofy, but I say let’s go for it!
If Jesus says it is perfectly fine to know that God has sent this Friend, the Spirit of Truth, to come alongside us, and even dwell inside us, I’m guessing that’s good enough for me!
My prayer: Jesus, I’m thrilled to see what You told Your friends as You were preparing to leave them. Thank You that You never want me to feel like I’m alone, abandoned, or left to make it through this life on my own. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for becoming my real Invisible Friend, sent by God the Father to lead me in all Truth. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: Have I become so ‘adult-like’ that I’m no longer expecting my Invisible Friend, the Holy Spirit, to lead me, guide me and come alongside me? What steps do I need to take today to become ‘childlike’ again, opening myself up fully to the Spirit of Truth in my day-to-day life?
So what is God speaking to you today as we ponder together The Ignatian Adventure?
* thanks to www.susannewmanphd.com/imaginary-friends-should-parents-worry/
Over an eight month period, you and I will be working our way through the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius. For more information on our journey and how to begin…click here!
To go onto the next journal entry…click here.