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Paraclete/Helper/Advocate



The Holy Spirit, known also as the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Jesus, the Spirit of the Lord, the Breath, the Wild Goose, and the Dove of Peace. These names give us a rich understanding of the eternal divine presence and personality.


Words are key in helping us articulate the experienced divine reality to be found in worship, sacraments, and daily life.


In John's Gospel, the Spirit is called the Paraclete, meaning 'helper' or 'advocate,' mentioned four times in John (14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7). Here are a few notes about the Holy Spirit gleaned from these verses and the surrounding context.


John 14: 16-21 As Jesus acknowledges his impending departure, he asks the Father to send the Paraclete, the Spirit of Truth, to be with the disciples forever and help them (v16). Even if the world may not recognize the Paraclete, the disciples will know him; he will live with them and within them (v17). Through the Paraclete, Jesus' personal presence continues to be felt (v18), and through the tangible presence of the Paraclete, Jesus is seen afresh (v19). The Paraclete prompts the disciples to recognize their unity with Jesus in the Father, inviting them to experience the heart of the Godhead. Through the Paraclete, the disciples uphold Jesus' commands and experience his love; in the Spirit, Jesus reveals himself (v21).


In John 14:25–31 : Jesus assures that the Father will send the advocate in his name (v26), who will teach and help the disciples remember his teachings (v26). This advocate embodies Jesus' peace, ensuring they need not be troubled or afraid (v27). Even though Jesus is leaving, through the Spirit, he will remain with them (v28).


In John 15:18–27, Jesus warns of persecution and trials, aligning the disciples with the experience of the Father and Son, whom the world hates. Yet, the Paraclete will bear witness about Jesus and empower the disciples to do the same (v26-27).


John 16:4–15 further explains the Spirit's role as Jesus' physical absence leads to the Paraclete's personal presence (v8). The Spirit will guide them into all truth (v12), speaking with authority from above and glorifying Jesus by declaring his treasures to the disciples (v13-15).


This short study offers a glimpse into the profound mystery of the Paraclete, inviting us into a holy encounter with the helper who communicates and mediates the presence of Jesus to his followers.

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