The Paraclete, the Life of My Soul!

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O eternal Paraclete, the light and the life of my soul.
O eternal Paraclete, the light and the life of my soul.

My God, I adore you for taking on yourself the charge of sinners; of those, who not only cannot profit you, but who continually grieve and profane you. You have taken on yourself the office of a minister, and that for those who did not ask for it. I adore you for your incomprehensible condescension in ministering to me. I know and feel, O my God, that you might have left me, as I wished to be left, to go my own way, to go straight forward in my will­fulness and self-trust to hell. You might have left me in that enmity to you which is in itself death. I would at length have died the second death and would have had no one to blame for it but myself. But you, O eternal Fa­ther, have been kinder to me than I am to myself. You have given me, you have poured out upon me your grace, and thus I live.

My God, I adore you, O eternal Paraclete, the light and the life of my soul. You might have been content with merely giving me good suggestions, inspiring grace, and helping from without. You might thus have led me on, cleansing me with your inward virtue, when I changed my state from this world to the next. But in your infinite compassion you have from the first entered into my soul, and taken possession of it. You have made it your temple. You dwell in me by your grace in an ineffable way, unit­ing me to yourself and the whole company of angels and saints. Nay, as some have held, you are present in me, not only by your grace, but by your eternal substance, as if, though I did not lose my own individuality, in some sense I was even here absorbed in God—as though you had taken possession of my very body, this earthly, fleshly, wretched tabernacle; even my body is your temple. O as­tonishing, awesome truth! I believe it, I know it, O my God.

O my God, can I sin when you are so intimately with me? Can I forget who is with me, who is in me? Can I expel a divine inhabitant by that which he abhors more than anything else, which is the one thing in the whole world that is offensive to him, the only thing that is not his? Would not this be a kind of sin against the Holy Spirit? My God, I have a double security against sinning: first, the dread of such a profanation of all you are to me in your very presence; and next, because I do trust that that presence will preserve me from sin. My God, you will go from me, if I sin; and I shall be left to my own miser­able self. God forbid! I will use what you have given me; I will call on you when tried and tempted. I will guard against the sloth and carelessness into which I am con­tinually falling. Through you I will never forsake you.

 John Henry Newman, Meditations and Devotions, Christian Classics, 1975, 400-402.