"We will come to him and will make our abode with him (John 14:23). St. John of Avila bases this sermon upon Jesus' promises to the apostles and to all of us that if we keep His commandments, if we remain in His love, He will be our dwelling place. Who is He? Who is We?
The following excerpt from John of Avila's Holy Ghost homilies is key to our understanding of the fullness of His Real Presence: Who, then, are those who are to come? The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost--because wherever the Father and the Son are, the Holy Ghost is with Them. The Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity....And We will not go away--said our Redeemer. 'We will make our abode with him.'
At this point, John of Avila further discusses why God made man. "So that he might love God, and loving Him possess Him, and possessing Him, enjoy Him, and enjoying Him, become blessed. Men were created that they might enter into a state of bliss...." And man did enjoy bliss until we sinned. But now Jesus tells the apostles (and us) that we do have a pathway of union with God, possible in the indwelling of the Trinity, through a process of our salvation.
Then the saint describes the religious men and women as well as the married thinking they can better dedicate themselves to God by going into seclusion or by avoiding work other than prayer and fasting. But no, "God has called you to a certain state of life and in it you must gain salvation. Be conscientious about doing your duty, and He will give you the grace of salvation." Yet here he inserts a realistic warning: "The devil will never let you be contented if you are leading a holy life, but will make you dissatisfied in order that you may lose the peace of mind you should feel in the state to which God has called you. He will make you hope for what cannot be, for the impossible."
"'By me, if any man shall enter in, he shall be saved, and he shall go in and go out, and shall find pastures' (John 10:9). Since Jesus Christ is the door, where will this door lead? To the Holy Ghost.
Consider the many Scriptures that depict the breath of life blown into the dead. Recall, for example, in the Old Testament when Elijah placed himself over a dead child and breathed upon him, bringing life. Think about how many times Jesus imparted the Spirit into the sick as well as the dead, healing and reviving them to fullness of life. "He who does not receive the breath of Christ, no matter how rich or powerful he may be...is poor, weak and wretched....Vine and branches are nourished with the same sap; Head and body are sustained by the same holiness: the spirit of Christ and the spirit of those who are incorporated in Him, is all one....Jesus and all His servants were chiseled by the troubles and persecutions of this world and therefore, His servants deserved to dwell with Christ."
"He who desires the Holy Ghost, let him love and obey and desire Jesus Christ forever! Is it of little importance that the Father should love you? There are no better chains with which to hold the Holy Ghost than by loving Jesus Christ. 'Because you have loved me,' says Jesus Christ, 'the Father himself loveth you,' because you loved Me very much. He who loves Jesus Christ and desires Jesus Christ will in return receive the Holy Ghost."
"Do not be frightened because the Holy Ghost has brought you today to be placed on a cross...." John of Avila concludes this sermon by reminding us that through, with and in Christ, the Father and the Holy Spirit will bring us to all goodness of union in such a way as to defy our fears and sufferings of this life. We must keep our eyes, thoughts, hearts and souls upon heaven while existing in this realm.
I am reminded, personally, of how easy it is to be deceived. The evil one can work through but one person to discourage us or misunderstand and mistreat. Then others around that one person can follow suit, being used by the devil to go along with one person doing wrong--not that one still not realizing he or she is deceived. Thus the ugliness spreads, and this includes the person mistreated, for the devil deceives and works on that one, too, who reacts to the persecution with upset and anger. This is how evil can spread without any of the people realizing they are being used by the devil.
You can consider events in your own lives. Of mine, I reflect briefly on the seemingly long-lasting coma of my ugliness and hurt--the snapping remarks, the chaos with relationships, my growing fear of others, the roller coaster days and nights. I also consider with amazement the harsh and cruel ordeals of what some people said and did to me that defied normalcy...to which I reacted, at times, with the grace of His Real Presence but more often with the human failings of one inexperienced in rough, devil-clever, spiritual warfare. I was so deceived; yet His Real Presence continued the gracious ecstasies which, beyond my understanding at the time, brought more hurt, unkindness, awkwardness and isolation.
It is worth all. I can say this now, thanks to so many who prayed for me--even those who departed due to my human failings and blindness. How unexpectedly treacherous is the journey...but for His Mercy! All glory and thanksgiving to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!
God bless His Real Presence in us!