The Advocate (Holy Spirit Part 4)

Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director of Priests for Life
May 11, 1998

"If anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one" (1John2:1). The Lord Jesus is our Advocate. "He always lives to make intercession for us" (see Hebrews 7:25, Rom.8:34).

Yet the Lord Jesus promised on the night before He died, "I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth" (John 14:16-17).

What is an advocate? An advocate pleads our cause, takes our side, conducts our defense. When we cannot pray, the Advocate prays within us (see Rom.8:26). When we cannot save ourselves, the Advocate saves us and lifts us up. When we dare not approach the God we have offended by sin, the Advocate gives us confidence by speaking words of pardon and mercy.

Our age needs an advocate more than ever, because of the culture of death, and what the Holy Father has called a "conspiracy against life," a "war of the powerful against the weak" (see The Gospel of Life, #12). We need an advocate that can assure us that no sin of which we repent is beyond forgiveness. We need an advocate, furthermore, to assure us that we can indeed embark upon a new culture of life.

But as people filled with the Holy Spirit, we do not only have an advocate; we become advocates. "As the Father has sent me, so I send you," the Lord said, as He breathed the Holy Spirit upon the apostles (John) "When the Advocate comes, ...he will testify to me. And you also testify..."(John 15:26-27).

We also testify. We also advocate. If we cry out for mercy, can we indeed neglect the cries of others for mercy? If we know that we cannot save ourselves, can we be indifferent to others who cannot save themselves?

Sometimes in speaking of the babies in danger of abortion, we say that we all "were once in their position." Indeed we were. But in another way we still are. We still need to be saved. We cannot rescue ourselves from death. We still cannot speak for ourselves.

When the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost, He appeared as tongues of fire. He gave speech to the apostles, whose fear had wrapped them in silence. Despite great danger to themselves, they went forth and proclaimed Christ.

The Holy Spirit still comes, and we are still called to proclaim Christ. An essential aspect of that proclamation is "to proclaim good news to the poor...liberty to captives" (Is, Lk) The poor are not just those who have little. The poor are those who have no help but God. There is no group of people more helpless and more in need of an advocate that the children in the womb.

When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, the "father of the poor" (Sequence of Pentecost), we advocate on behalf of the very poorest, threatened as they are by abortion. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, who inspires our speech, we speak up for the pre-born. Then, indeed, we know the Advocate.

Part One: The Holy Spirit and Abortion

Part Two: Creator Blest 

Part Three: The Spirit of Truth

Part Five: The Spirit of Love

Priests for Life
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