My Favourite Prayers to the Holy Spirit

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Apart from the universally treasured Veni Creator Spiritus and the Veni Sancte Spiritus there are a few prayers to the Holy Spirit that have rooted themselves in my heart and served me well over the years. I thought that I might share them with the readers of Vultus Christi.

I don't remember where or how I came across the first of these prayers. It was written by Désiré-Joseph Cardinal Mercier (1851–1926). I vaguely remember that it was printed on a little leaflet. Cardinal Mercier wrote this prayer on the back of a holy picture while on pilgrimage at the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in England. In 1926, while preaching a retreat, he offered a little commentary on it:

"I am going to reveal to you a secret of holiness and of happiness. Every day for five minutes, silence your imagination, closing your eyes to things of the senses and your ears to all earthly sounds so as to withdraw into yourselves, and there in the sanctuary of your baptized soul, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit, speak to that Divine Spirit, saying:

Holy Spirit, soul of my soul, I adore Thee;
enlighten, guide, strengthen and console me;
tell me what I ought to do and command me to do it,
I promise to be submissive in everything that Thou shalt ask of me
and to accept all that Thou permittest to happen to me,
only show me what is Thy will.

If you do this, your life will flow along in happiness, serenity, and consolation, even in the midst of sorrows, because grace will be proportioned to your trials, giving you the strength to bear them, and you will arrive at the gates of Paradise laden with merits. This submission to the Holy Spirit is the secret of holiness."

I found the second prayer when I was about fifteen years old. It was in a small paperback edition of the Pastoral Prayer of Saint Aelred, published in England. I believe it came into my hands on an early visit to Saint Joseph's Trappist Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts. The prayer so impressed me that I copied it out on the last blank page of the breviary I was using at the time:

"Lord, may Thy good, sweet Spirit descend into my heart,
and fashion there a dwelling for Himself,
cleansing it from all defilement both of flesh and spirit,
inpouring into it the increment of faith and hope and love,
disposing it to penitence and love and gentleness.
May He quench with the dew of His blessing the heat of my desires
and with His power put to death my carnal impulses and fleshly lusts.
In labours and in watchings and in fastings
may He afford me fervour and discretion,
to love and to praise Thee:
to pray and think of Thee:
and may He give me the power and devotion to order every act and thought
according to Thy will,
and also persevere in these virtues until my life's end. Amen."

To be continued.


Thank you for that last prayer. It is indeed inspiring.

As the conclusion of his 2001 Pentecost homily, Pope John Paul II quoted this prayer of Bd John XXIII to the Holy Spirit, which I find inspiring and challenging:

"O Holy Spirit, Paraclete, perfect in us the work begun by Jesus: enable us to continue to pray fervently in the name of the whole world: hasten in everyone of us the growth of a profound interior life; give vigour to our apostolate so that it may reach all men and all peoples, all redeemed by the Blood of Christ and all belonging to him. Mortify in us our natural pride, and raise us to the realms of holy humility, of real fear of God, of generous courage. Let no earthly bond prevent us from honouring our vocation, no cowardly considerations disturb the claims of justice, no meanness confine the immensity of charity within the narrow bounds of petty selfishness. Let everything in us be on a grand scale: the search for truth and the devotion to it, and readiness for self-sacrifice, even to the cross and death; and may everything finally be according to the last prayer of the Son to his heavenly Father, and according to the pouring out of your Spirit, O Holy Spirit of love, whom the Father and the Son desired to be poured out over the Church and her institutions, over the souls of men and of nations."

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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