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The Father and Son sent the Spirit; let us receive him with faith and joy

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When he ascended into heaven, Jesus promised his followers "I am with you always, till the end of the world." One of the key ways he is with us is through the Holy Spirit, whose ‽arrival" in Jerusalem we celebrate on Pentecost.

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The Holy Spirit comes to you and me as he has always come to Jesus†s disciples. He comes to us in baptism, in the fullness of the Spirit. He comes to us in Confirmation, strengthening us with his gifts so that we can both live and proclaim the Gospel.

The Holy Spirit brings clarity, not confusion, when it comes to matters of the faith, enabling us to be clear about the things we believe, which have been handed on to us through the centuries in the ‽deposit of faith" -- the Gospel and all the teachings of our faith. The Holy Spirit increases the clarity of mind by which we embrace the truths of our faith and empowers us to live by them.

The Holy Spirit brings conviction, not doubt. Along with enlightening the mind and helping us to better understand the faith, the Holy Spirit strengthens our will. The Holy Spirit brings inspiration, enabling us to proclaim the name of Jesus as the only Lord and Savior, and to build his kingdom in the world. Remember the Great Commission, "Make disciples of all the nations, and teach them to carry out everything I have commanded you," and, of course, his command to "Love one another." 

Living these commands takes daily inspiration, which is what the Holy Spirit brings us. When we want to give more, when we want to help people more, when we want to serve more, that's the Holy Spirit. That's what he does for our soul. He brings generosity, not selfishness, and he enables us to take risks, not constantly be in a mode of careful calculation, not constantly asking the question, "What am I going to lose?" and ‽What's going to happen to me?" That is not of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit enables us, as individuals and as a Christian community, to take risks for the sake of good, for the sake of the Gospel and the kingdom. 

Look at what we've read all through the Easter season from the Acts of the Apostles; look what these followers of Jesus did. They risked everything to bring the Gospel to the whole world, and they endured so much, and yet the Holy Spirit said to them, "Keep on preaching." He didn't caution them to consider the damage that might be done to their reputations. The Holy Spirit inspires us with that same courage to take risks for the sake of the kingdom. The Holy Spirit also brings comfort in the midst of sadness. He brings consolation, and he brings forgiveness of sins. 

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The Holy Spirit is needed in our land. The Holy Spirit needs to breathe on the minds and hearts of our citizens, first of all to understand all that has happened in the last year â€" the pandemic, the violence in our streets, the attacks on our history and our values, the cyberattacks that show us how vulnerable we are. The Holy Spirit brings peace to transform chaos. We need that peace.

The Holy Spirit also comes to bring an end to the worst violence, the violence that claims more human life than anything else, the violence perpetrated against the most defenseless members of our human family. 

I am talking about the violence that takes a little baby still in his or her mother's womb and literally rips that baby apart by abortion. This is not and can never be of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit comes to encourage and strengthen the mind and heart of a pregnant mom who is afraid to be a mom, and says, "You can do it." He enters the troubled mind of a dad who is afraid to be a dad, and says, "Take courage. Stand by the side of your child and of that child's mother. Take courage and do what is right." The Holy Spirit transforms a culture of death into a culture of life, where every child is welcomed and protected, respected and revered, and we make room for that child, no matter what the cost. 

All we need to do is to be open to the Holy Spirit, and to have confidence that the Spirit will indeed come, and will be the fruit of the saving death and resurrection of Christ we have been celebrating throughout this holy season. 

The Father and the Son have sent the Spirit; let us receive him with the greatest faith and joy.

Father Frank Pavone is national director of Priests for Life and the national pastoral director of Rachel†s Vineyard Ministries and the Silent No More Awareness Campaign. The books he has authored include Abolishing Abortion and Proclaiming the Message of Life.

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