There was a priest with whom I used to meet for occasional spiritual direction, named Fr. Mike. During a conversation one day, Fr. Mike told me about a habit that he had developed over the years. Any time he encountered someone whom he sensed was in distress or sad or anxious, or if he passed by a homeless person in the street and felt helpless to do anything about it, he would pray in a very low voice: “Come, Holy Spirit.” He shared with me his thought that that this little prayer offered for these strangers might have been the first time in a long time that someone specifically prayed for them.
His words have stayed with me for many years now. And they came to mind last Thursday, when the gospel for the Mass gave the account of Jesus telling His disciples how eager God the Father is to give us what we most need. Our Lord says: “What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” Even the wicked want to share what they have with their children – food, shelter, clothing, etc. The Lord God goes much further, however, desiring to share with His children His Spirit, His very life.
It was providential that the Church would give us that reading last Thursday (10/8), since that was the evening that Bishop Caggiano – our spiritual father – came to confirm 31 of the young men and women in our parish. Having received a strengthening in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, I pray that they (and all of us who have received Confirmation) might call upon God the Holy Spirit to sustain us and those we encounter, especially those in need, in the grace and peace of God the Father, which He is so eager to give us. Let us not be afraid to ask Him.