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Gospel reflection

June 16, 2019: Trinity Sunday

Reading: John 16:12-15

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.
But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. The Spirit will not speak on his own, but will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. The Father will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.
Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.”


In today’s gospel, the disciples are beginning to learn about the Advocate (Holy Spirit). They are told that the Advocate will guide them to an understanding of all truth. For the disciples and for each of us, experiencing the Holy Spirit’s guidance is a lifetime’s journey of exploration and discovery.

As a young adult, I was working out my understanding of what it meant to be a Catholic scientist. I had been raised Catholic. I worked in a very skeptical and secular environment. I was a shy person trying to learn to quell my fears and present to an audience. Matthew’s words, “…do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say (Matthew 10: 19).” That seemed an amazing gift of the Holy Spirit. I wanted to know what it felt like to receive those words.

I was a facilitator for the Rainbows program. That program was to support children whose parents were in the process of getting a divorce. This boy walked over to my group. He said, “You are the science lady. What do you think of these after death experiences? What are they?”

I was clueless as to what to say to a 10-11-year-old kid on that topic. I didn’t even know what I thought about it! For the very first time in my life, I thought, “Lord, this one is Yours.”

Instantly I had an answer to give the child. He ran away giggling. I had this “Where did that come from?” feeling. I thanked God. I promised I would research the rest of the answer.

Even more amazing than having the words at that instance was what I found after my intensive research that week. There wasn’t anything else to add!

I knew personally what it was like to experience the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Having experienced it, I wasn’t afraid to talk about it or read about it. Many years later, I can say that though the words people use to describe the feelings and experiences under the Advocate’s guidance differ dramatically, there is a common essence. It is this. There is a feeling coming from within. You know it is the answer. Following through on the idea/answer often calls forth from within you something you did not know or were not sure was there.

The Advocate calls you and strengthens you to help play a role in participating in bringing God’s plan to fruition.


Find a friend whom you trust to discuss with him/her the Holy Spirit. Someone has asked the two of you to explain “How do I know or feel the Holy Spirit in my life?” What is your answer?

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Helen Flavin

Helen Flavin is a Providence Associate. She is a Catholic scientist, educator and writer. Helen received her Ph.D. in Neurochemistry from Boston College. She is a fulltime science teacher. She is a guest columnist for her Diocese’s Catholic Newspaper “The Anchor.” She enjoys volunteering at the local nursing home.

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