The Spirit Helps in Our Weakness

July 19, 2020 – Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today’s second reading comes from Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans:

The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings. And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because he intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will. (Romans 8:26-27)

The following reflection comes from website:

This passage describes the difference between our future and our present as Christians. Our future in Christ, as God’s children and heirs of His kingdom, is everything for which we long. Our present, though, is a life of longing, patient waiting, living in the hope of reality that has not yet arrived. We continue to suffer along with the rest of creation, to groan for the life to come.

How do live in the meantime? A large part of the answer to that question has to do with the Holy Spirit, given to every Christian when he or she comes to faith in Christ. God gives us His own Spirit as a deposit or down payment on that future for which we long.

Through the Spirit, God provides for us in many different ways on this side of eternity. Generally, he helps us in our weakness. Paul is acknowledging here that, even as Christians, we remain weak. Physically, we remain creatures in fragile bodies with sometimes baffling emotions. Spiritually, we can become weak in our faith and/or in our resistance to sinful desires. As Paul will begin to make clear, however, God’s Spirit with us makes all the difference. He continually helps us in and even through our weakness. He steps in. He helps with the burden.

More specifically, Paul writes that we are so weak that at times we do not know what to pray for! We have been given access, in prayer, to our Father God. We feel the need, the longing, for Him, but what do we ask for? The Spirit steps in and carries those unsaid “groanings”—those thoughts and feelings we simply cannot express in human words—to God. He both creates the connection from ourselves to God and provides the content of our communication.


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