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Friends, today’s Gospel declares that when the Spirit comes, he will guide us into all truth. There is a story I’ve heard about Jean-Luc Marion that, if it isn’t true, should be. In the midst of a lively lecture on Descartes, a student asked a pointed question about God. Marion looked at her and said, “Go to Sunday Mass for a year and then return and ask me that question again.”

Marion’s response was not just a clever one-liner. If true knowledge of God depends upon immersion in the Holy Spirit, then that knowledge is a function of an entire form of life, involving prayer, self-denial, the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, and the forgiveness of one’s enemies. We don’t think our way to an understanding of God so much as we live our way to it.

Thomas Aquinas always said that he owed his theology far more to the persistence of his prayer than to the acuity of his mind. His penetration of the divine mystery flowed from his life in the Holy Spirit. And so today we pray, “Come, Holy Spirit, come!”