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Novena to the Holy Spirit

compiled by Catherine Fournier

In honour of this year of the Holy Spirit declared by our pontiff in preparation for the Great Jubilee of the Millennium, we present this novena to the Holy Spirit.

First Day

Holy Spirit, Lord of Light
From thy clear celestial height,
Thy pure beaming radiance give.

Meditation

We shall strive during this novena to obtain an increase of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, over and above the special favors we shall ask from the Divine Spirit. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are permanent super-natural dispositions given to us with grace, to make the soul attentive and responsive to the movements of the Third Person of the Adorable Trinity.
Very appropriately have they been compared to the sails of a ship which, when spread, carry the craft swiftly and smoothly over its course. When the inspirations of the Holy Spirit find the gifts spread like sails in the soul, they waft it safely over the sea of life to the haven of eternal happiness. Those Christians who through indolence allow the gifts to lie dormant, are like ships dismantled, whose sails lie in the bottom of the boat, useless.
Who has not felt many a time, even immediately after coming from the sacred tribunal of Penance, the necessity of some such impelling power? Therefore, let us beseech the Holy Spirit for an increase of these necessary gifts.

Prayer

Almighty and eternal God, who hast vouchsafed to regenerate us by water and the Holy Spirit, and hast given us forgiveness of all sins, vouchsafe to send forth from heaven upon us thy seven fold Spirit, the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and Fortitude, the Spirit of Knowledge and of Piety, and fill us with the Spirit of Holy Fear. Amen.
Glory Be, seven times


Second Day

Come thou father of the poor,
Come with treasures which endure,
Come thou light of all that live.

Meditation

The irreligious man often fears that there may possibly be a God and a time of retribution. O what a base fear; a fear which he tries to bury in oblivion by leading a riotous, sinful life. With such fear we are not concerned.
The gift of Holy Fear fills us with a sovereign respect for God, and makes us dread above all things to offend Him. It is fear like that of a dutiful son, who will shun certain company of whom he knows no evil, but with whom his parents do not wish him to associate. He simply respects his parents' wishes. It is a fear which arises from reverence and submission towards those we love and esteem. It measures the malice of sin, not by the world's standards, but by those of heaven.
If it does not suggest very noble deeds in God's service, at least it keeps us from going over to the enemy's camp. For this reason we, poor sinners, need the gift of Holy Fear. Let us therefore pray fervently for it.

Prayer

Come, O blessed Spirit of Holy Fear, penetrate my inmost heart, that I may set thee, my Lord and God, before my face forever; and shun all things that can offend thee, so that I may be made worthy to appear before the pure eyes of thy Divine Majesty in the heaven of heavens, where thou livest and reignest in the unity of the ever Blessed Trinity, God, world without end. Amen.
Glory Be, seven times.


Third Day

Thou of all consolers best,
Visiting the troubled breast,
Dost refreshing peace bestow.

Meditation

The gift of piety is the gift through which the Holy Ghost calls to the service of God and man, the mistress of virtues, charity. It prompts us to love God not because of his majesty but because he is our Father.
It makes us love whatever is near and dear to our Divine Savior, beginning with his Immaculate Mother and going down the scale to the most abandoned soul on earth and in purgatory. The gift of Piety which bids us love our Father in heaven, stirs up our affections for our father and mother in the flesh, our own dear parents, for our fathers in God, the Pope, Bishops and Priests, for our home, our church and our country.
Pride and envy beget chauvinism, which is false patriotism and narrow mindedness; the gift of Piety begets real patriotism. Let us therefore, pray fervently for this beautiful gift.

Prayer

Come, O blessed Spirit of Piety, possess my heart, incline it to a true faith in Thee, to a holy love of Thee, my God and of all my fellow creatures for Thy sake. Amen.
Glory Be, seven times.


Fourth Day

Thou in toil art comfort sweet,
Pleasant coolness in the heat,
Solace in the midst of woe.

Meditation

Knowledge, as a gift of the Holy Spirit, directs the soul to judge of things, both human and divine, according to supernatural common sense and not according to the standards of the worldly-wise. Even with supernatural faith in our soul to elevate our reason, how often we detect ourselves talking of temporal gain and loss, success and failure, suffering and pleasure, purely and simply according to the principles of the worldly-minded!
We fail to pierce the veil of the natural and see in suffering a blessing from God. We have come to think it folly to season our pleasures with a pinch of the pepper and salt of mortification; for example: to determine that we will not remain out later than a certain reasonable hour, when we go out for an evening of innocent pleasure.
In this age of doubt, materialism, pleasure-seeking, what shall we say of the necessity of this gift to enable us to distinguish good from evil, innocent pleasure from tainted joy, truth from falsehood, the real good from the apparent good among all the things around us? Let us therefore, pray earnestly for this gift.

Prayer

Come, O blessed Spirit of Knowledge, and grant that I may perceive the will of the Father; show me the nothingness of the earthly things, that I may realize their vanity and use them only for thy glory and my own salvation, looking ever beyond them to thee and thy eternal rewards. Amen.
Glory Be, seven times.


Fifth Day

Light immortal, light divine,
Visit thou these hearts of thine,
And our inmost being fill.

Meditation

Fortitude is a gift of the Holy Spirit strengthening the soul against all natural fear and supporting it to the end in the performance of duty. Daily the soul, in the state of grace must go forth to fight the good fight of Christ; to do its duty, which, because it is duty, will always be difficult.
The virtue of fortitude leads us into the battle, but we need special encouragement from the Spirit of God, to enable us to persevere in good, in spite of unforeseen difficulties, hardships, and the grind of routine. That encouragement the Holy Ghost imparts to us through the gift of Fortitude. Moreover, whilst we are not called upon to face the roaring lion in the Roman arena like the first Christians, we are bound every day of our lives to fight the roaring lion within us, to struggle against our besetting temptation. God has armed us with the gift of Fortitude for that purpose.
Let us therefore pray for that gift to enable us to fight perseveringly the good fight of Jesus Christ until it please our divine Leader to call us from the battlefield of life to enjoy the eternal reward of heaven.

Prayer

Come, O blessed Spirit of Fortitude, uphold my soul in time of trouble and adversity, sustain my efforts after holiness, strengthen my weakness, give me courage against all the assaults of my enemies, that I may never be overcome and separated from thee, my God and greatest Good. Amen.
Glory Be, seven times.


Sixth Day

If Thou take Thy grace away,
Nothing pure in man will stay;
All his good is turned to ill.

Meditation

The gift of Counsel is a disposition in the soul through which the Holy Spirit prompts us to choose to do the better of two good actions. It is the elder sister of the supernatural gift prudence. Prudence teaches us the A,B,C, of Christian life, the gift of Counsel trains us in the fine arts of Christian perfection. As this gift gains greater influence over our actions, the soul begins to realize more and more the full meaning of the words of Saint Paul: "All things are lawful to me, but all things are not expedient." (I Cor. VI. 12)
This gift can never be developed in the Christian soul which stops short of only mortal sin in its use and abuse of liberty. Such a rule of conduct will not keep us long from mortal sin, and when mortal sin enters the soul, grace and all the supernatural gifts depart. Because my use of the things of this world may give my neighbor a pretext for abusing them, it is often expedient for me to hearken to the counsel of my divine Guide and refrain from licit pleasures and actions.
Above all, as Catholics, we should be as shining lights to our neighbors, going before them in the path of virtue. To do so, we need the gift of Counsel, and therefore, let us pray for it.

Prayer

Come, O Spirit of Counsel, help and guide me in all my ways, that I may always do Thy holy will. Incline my heart to that which is good; turn it away from all that is evil, and direct me by the straight path of Thy commandments to that goal of eternal life for which I long. Amen.
Glory Be, seven times.


Seventh Day

Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour Thy dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away.

Meditation

Understanding, as a gift of the Holy Spirit, helps the Christian, in the state of grace, to grasp according to his mental capacity, the meaning of the truths of our holy religion. Perhaps, to many of us, the articles of the creed are but dry disconnected truths.
God gives us the gift of Understanding to enable us to penetrate the truths of our holy religion in a manner that will enable us to live them. Many Catholics find the Catholic newspapers flat and unsavory. On Sundays they would like to hear the Priest speak of the topics of the times rather than give catechetical instructions. That is because they are imbued with the spirit of the age. They have never become accustomed to thinking seriously of religious subjects. They have no religious, no Catholic, no supernatural ideals. Perhaps one of the reasons why we do not duplicate the majestic cathedrals of Europe is, because we do not live the religious mysteries and ideals which inspired those monuments of faith.
We need an increase of the gift of Understanding to make our religion real and living. Therefore let us pray fervently for that intention.

Prayer

Come, O Spirit of Understanding, and enlighten our minds, that we may know and believe all the mysteries of salvation; and may merit at last to see the eternal light in Thy Light; and in the light of glory to have a clear vision of thee and the Father and the Son. Amen.
Glory Be, seven times.


Eighth Day

Bend the stubborn heart and will,
Melt the frozen, warm the chill,
Guide the steps that go astray.

Meditation

Wisdom is that gift of the Holy Spirit whereby the Divine Spirit raises up our intellect and our heart to rest in God alone. Knowledge tells us the value of earthly things, and how we can enjoy them licitly without offending God; but Wisdom gives us courage to trample under foot wealth, honor and pleasure, if these things,--I will not say, impede our salvation,-- but even cast so much as a shadow between us and our God.
You may be inclined to think that the gift of Wisdom is only for Saints. You are right when you say this gift is only for the Saints, but you are wrong if you think that you are not destined to be a Saint. We must all aspire to sanctity.
Why not aim high? God will reward the effort. Let us begin today by trying to make an act of thanksgiving for every little cross that falls on us.

Prayer

Come, O Spirit of Wisdom, and reveal to my soul the mysteries of heavenly things, their exceeding greatness, power and beauty. Teach me to love them above and beyond all the passing joys and satisfactions of earth. Show me the way by which I may be able to attain them and possess them for ever. Amen.
Glory Be, seven times.


Ninth Day

Thou on those who evermore,
Thee confess and Thee adore,
In Thy seven fold gift descend.

Give them comfort when they die,
Give them life with Thee on high,
Give them joys which never end.

Meditation

The first great novena in honor of the Holy Spirit was crowned with an abundant outpouring of the Divine Spirit upon the Apostles. It enkindled within their bosom a zeal that knew not fear of starvation or death, that defied the sword and the cross, that braved storms at sea and bloody persecutions on land, for the propagation of the faith of Jesus Christ.
Before we close the novena, let us beg the Holy Spirit to fill the world with zeal for the triumph of honesty and purity over deceit and sensuality.
Let us pray that the Divine Spirit may fill many of our young men and women with zeal for the propagation of the faith, with courage to sacrifice the comforts of home and the company of parents, to labor in the service of Christ and the Church.
Let us pray that he may pour out an abundance of the apostolic spirit upon our priests, missionaries and nuns.
Let us pray that he may draw the hearts of heretics and pagans to the one true fold of Jesus Christ, so that from every quarter of the earth the cry will ascend heavenward: Praised be the holy and adorable Trinity; to it be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Prayer

Holy, Divine Spirit, by the infinite merits of the passion and death of Jesus Christ, deign to pour abroad thy most ardent and omnipotent charity into all hearts, so that there may be one fold and one shepherd in the whole world; and that we may all come to sing thy divine praises in heaven forever. Amen.
Glory Be, seven times.


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