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Friends, once again in today’s Gospel, Jesus promises to send us the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the fuel of the Church, the energy and life force of the Body of Christ. And we can’t get him through heroic effort. We can only get him by asking for him. That’s why, for the past two thousand years, the Church has begged for this power from on high.

Jesus told us that the Father would never refuse someone who asked for the Holy Spirit. So ask! And ask again! Realize that every liturgy is a begging for the Holy Spirit. Fr. Hesburgh of Notre Dame once commented that the one prayer that is always appropriate—whether one is experiencing success or failure, whether one is confident or afraid, whether one is young or old—is “Come, Holy Spirit!”

He’s right, for this is the fundamental prayer of the Church. Mind you, we pray it, as the first Apostles did, in the presence of Mary and with her support. In the Hail Mary, we say, “Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.” What are we asking her to pray for but the Holy Spirit?