Prayers to the holy ghost

Friday after Ascension Thursday thru Saturday, the Vigil of Pentecost

This is the prototype of all novenas. It commemorates the nine days between the Ascension of Our Lord and the descent of the Holy Ghost on the first Pentecost Sunday. During this time Our Lady and the twelve Apostles prayed in the Cenacle for the coming of the Paraclete. Our Lord Himself instituted this novena, and it is celebrated every year by the whole Church.

Primary Intention: Like the Apostles, we pray that the Holy Ghost will come into our lives and set the Church and faithful on fire with true Apostolic zeal.

Secondary Intention: On Pentecost Sunday every year, we renew our consecration to Jesus through Mary as prescribed by Saint Louis Marie de Montfort. On this solemn occasion, we pray that we may be true to our consecration and live it ever more faithfully during the year to come. Every member of the Crusade should feel that he or she has a special obligation to make this novena.

Form for the novena: State the intentions given above, and then open your heart to God the Holy Ghost in this prayer:

O Holy Ghost, O my God, I adore Thee, and acknowledge, here in Thy divine presence, that I am nothing and can do nothing without Thee. Come, great Paraclete, Thou father of the poor, Thou comforter the best, fulfil the promise of our blessed Savior, Who would not leave us orphans, and come into the mind and the heart of Thy poor, unworthy creature, as Thou didst descend on the sacred day of Pentecost on the holy Mother of Jesus and on His first disciples. Grant that I may participate in those gifts which Thou didst communicate to them so wonderfully, and with so much mercy and generosity. Take from my heart whatever is not pleasing to Thee, and make of it a worthy dwelling-place for Thyself. Illumine my mind, that I may see and understand the things that are for my eternal good. Inflame my heart with pure love of Thee, that I may be cleansed from the dross of all inordinate attachments, and that my whole life may be hidden with Jesus in God. Strengthen my will, that I may be made comformable to Thy divine will, and be guided by Thy holy inspirations. Aid me by Thy grace to practice the divine lessons of humility, poverty, obedience, and contempt of the world, which Jesus taught us in His mortal life.

Oh, rend the heavens, and come down, consoling Spirit! that inspired and encouraged by Thee, I may faithfully comply with the duties of my state, carry my daily cross most patiently, and endeavor to accomplish the divine will with the utmost perfection. Spirit of love! Spirit of purity! Spirit of peace! Sanctify my soul more and more, and give me that heavenly peace which the world cannot give. Bless our Holy Father the Pope, bless the Church, bless our bishops, our priests, all Religious Orders, and all the faithful, that they may be filled with the spirit of Christ and labor earnestly for the spread of His kingdom.

O Holy Ghost, Thou Giver of every good and perfect gift, grant me, I beseech Thee, the intentions of this novena. May Thy will be done in me and through me. Mayest Thou be praised and glorified forevermore! Amen.

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The Ascension of Our Lord – NOVENA to the HOLY GHOST

Start Novena on Friday, May 11 (nine days before the feast of Pentecost)prayers to the holy ghost

 FOREWORD

The novena in honor of the Holy Ghost is the oldest of all novenas since it was first made at the direction of Our Lord Himself when He sent His apostles back to Jerusalem to await the coming of the Holy Ghost on the first Pentecost. It is still the only novena officially prescribed by the Church. Addressed to the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, it is a powerful plea for the light and strength and love so sorely needed by every Christian.

 HOW TO PRAY THE NOVENA

Each day the meditation and prayer for the particular day is said, followed by one (1) Our Father, one (1) Hail Mary and seven (7) Glory be to the Fathers, the Act of Consecration and the Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost.

ACT OF CONSECRATION TO THE HOLY GHOST

On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses,
I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God.
I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice,
and the might of Your love.
You are the Strength and Light of my soul.
In You, I live and move and am.
I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace
and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against You.
Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light
and listen to Your voice and follow Your gracious inspirations.
I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You, by Your compassion,
to watch over me in my weakness.
Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus and looking at His Five Wounds
and trusting in His Precious Blood and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart,
I implore You, Adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity,
so to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You.
Give me grace, O Holy Ghost, Spirit of the Father and the Son,
to say to You always and everywhere, “Speak, Lord, for Your servant heareth.”
Amen.

PRAYER FOR THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY GHOST

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who, before ascending into heaven, did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Your grace and Your love.

Grant me

  • the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal,
  • the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth,
  • the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven,
  • the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation,
  • the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints,
  • the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable,
  • and the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him.

Mark me, dear Lord, with the sign of Your true disciples and animate me in all things with Your Spirit.

Amen.

 FIRST DAY OF THE NOVENA TO THE HOLY GHOST

Holy Spirit! Lord of Light!
From Your clear celestial height,
Your pure beaming radiance give!

The Holy Ghost

Only one thing is important — eternal salvation. Only one thing, therefore, is to be feared — sin. Sin is the result of ignorance, weakness, and indifference The Holy Ghost is the Spirit of Light, of Strength, and of Love. With His sevenfold gifts, He enlightens the mind, strengthens the will, and inflames the heart with love of God. To ensure our salvation we ought to invoke the Divine Spirit daily, for “The Spirit helpeth our infirmity. We know not what we should pray for as we ought. But the Spirit Himself asketh for us.”

Prayer

Almighty and eternal God, Who hast vouchsafed to regenerate us by water and the Holy Ghost, and hast given us forgiveness all sins, vouchsafe to send forth from heaven upon us your sevenfold Spirit, the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and fortitude, the Spirit of Knowledge and Piety, and fill us with the Spirit of Holy Fear. Amen.

  • Our Father
  • Hail Mary
  • Glory be to the Father (seven times)
  • Act of Consecration
  • Prayer for the Seven Gifts

 SECOND DAY OF THE NOVENA TO THE HOLY GHOST

Come. Father of the poor.
Come treasures which endure
Come, Light of all that live!

The Gift of Fear

The gift of Fear fills us with a sovereign respect for God, and makes us dread nothing so much as to offend Him by sin. It is a fear that arises, not from the thought of hell, but from sentiments of reverence and filial submission to our heavenly Father. It is the fear that is the beginning of wisdom, detaching us from worldly pleasures that could in any way separate us from God. “They that fear the Lord will prepare their hearts, and in His sight will sanctify their souls.”

Prayer

Come, O blessed Spirit of Holy Fear, penetrate my inmost heart, that I may set you, my Lord and God, before my face forever, help me to shun all things that can offend You, and make me worthy to appear before the pure eyes of Your Divine Majesty in heaven, where You live and reign in the unity of the ever Blessed Trinity, God world without end. Amen.

  • Our Father
  • Hail Mary
  • Glory be to the Father (seven times)
  • Act of Consecration
  • Prayer for the Seven Gifts

 THIRD DAY OF THE NOVENA TO THE HOLY GHOST

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

The Gift of Piety

The gift of Piety begets in our hearts a filial affection for God as our most loving Father. It inspires us to love and respect for His sake persons and things consecrated to Him, as well as those who are vested with His authority, His Blessed Mother and the Saints, the Church and its visible Head, our parents and superiors, our country and its rulers. He who is filled with the gift of Piety finds the practice of his religion, not a burdensome duty, but a delightful service. Where there is love, there is no labor.

Prayer

Come, O Blessed Spirit of Piety, possess my heart. Enkindle therein such a love for God, that I may find satisfaction only in His service, and for His sake lovingly submit to all legitimate authority. Amen.

  • Our Father
  • Hail Mary
  • Glory be to the Father (seven times)
  • Act of Consecration
  • Prayer for the Seven Gifts

 FOURTH DAY OF THE NOVENA TO THE HOLY GHOST

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

The Gift of Fortitude

By the gift of Fortitude, the soul is strengthened against natural fear, and supported to the end in the performance of duty. Fortitude imparts to the will an impulse and energy which move it to undertake without hesitancy the most arduous tasks, to face dangers, to trample under foot human respect, and to endure without complaint the slow martyrdom of even lifelong tribulation. “He that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved.”

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.

  • Our Father
  • Hail Mary
  • Glory be to the Father (seven times)
  • Act of Consecration
  • Prayer for the Seven Gifts

 FIFTH DAY OF THE NOVENA TO THE HOLY GHOST

Light immortal! Light Divine!
Visit Thou these hearts of Thine,
And our inmost being fill!

The Gift of Knowledge

The gift of Knowledge enables the soul to evaluate created things at their true worth–in their relation to God. Knowledge unmasks the pretense of creatures, reveals their emptiness, and points out their only true purpose as instruments in the service of God. It shows us the loving care of God even in adversity, and directs us to glorify Him in every circumstance of life. Guided by its light, we put first things first, and prize the friendship of God beyond all else. “Knowledge is a fountain of life to him that possesseth it.”

Prayer

Come, O Blessed Spirit of Knowledge, and grant that I may perceive the will of the Father; show me the nothingness of 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.

  • Our Father
  • Hail Mary
  • Glory be to the Father (seven times)
  • Act of Consecration
  • Prayer for the Seven Gifts

 SIXTH DAY OF THE NOVENA TO THE HOLY GHOST

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

The Gift of Understanding

Understanding, as a gift of the Holy Ghost, helps us to grasp the meaning of the truths of our holy religion BY faith we know them, but by Understanding, we learn to appreciate and relish them. It enables us to penetrate the inner meaning of revealed truths and through them to be quickened to newness of life. Our faith ceases to be sterile and inactive, but inspires a mode of life that bears eloquent testimony to the faith that is in us; we begin to “walk worthy of God in all things pleasing, and increasing in the knowledge of God.”

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.

  • Our Father
  • Hail Mary
  • Glory be to the Father (seven times)
  • Act of Consecration
  • Prayer for the Seven Gifts

 SEVENTH DAY OF THE NOVENA TO THE HOLY GHOST

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

The Gift of Counsel

The gift of Counsel endows the soul with supernatural prudence, enabling it to judge promptly and rightly what must done, especially in difficult circumstances. Counsel applies the principles furnished by Knowledge and Understanding to the innumerable concrete cases that confront us in the course of our daily duty as parents, teachers, public servants, and Christian citizens. Counsel is supernatural common sense, a priceless treasure in the quest of salvation. “Above all these things, pray to the Most High, that He may direct thy way in truth.”

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.

  • Our Father
  • Hail Mary
  • Glory be to the Father (seven times)
  • Act of Consecration
  • Prayer for the Seven Gifts

 EIGHTH DAY OF THE NOVENA TO THE HOLY GHOST

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

The Gift of Wisdom

Embodying all the other gifts, as charity embraces all the other virtues, Wisdom is the most perfect of the gifts. Of wisdom it is written “all good things came to me with her, and innumerable riches through her hands.” It is the gift of Wisdom that strengthens our faith, fortifies hope, perfects charity, and promotes the practice of virtue in the highest degree. Wisdom enlightens the mind to discern and relish things divine, in the appreciation of which earthly joys lose their savor, whilst the Cross of Christ yields a divine sweetness according to the words of the Savior: “Take up thy cross and follow me, for my yoke is sweet and my burden light.

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. Help me to attain them and possess them for ever. Amen.

  • Our Father
  • Hail Mary
  • Glory be to the Father (seven times)
  • Act of Consecration
  • Prayer for the Seven Gifts

 NINTH DAY OF THE NOVENA TO THE HOLY GHOST

Thou, on those who evermore
Thee confess and Thee Adore,
in Thy sevenfold gift, Descend;

Give Them Comfort when they die;
Give them Life with Thee on high;
Give them joys which never end. Amen

The Fruits of the Holy Ghost

The gifts of the Holy Ghost perfect the supernatural virtues by enabling us to practice them with greater docility to divine inspiration. As we grow in the knowledge and love of God under the direction of the Holy Ghost, our service becomes more sincere and generous, the practice of virtue more perfect. Such acts of virtue leave the heart filled with joy and consolation and are known as Fruits of the Holy Ghost. These Fruits in turn render the practice of virtue more attractive and become a powerful incentive for still greater efforts in the service of God, to serve Whom is to reign.

Prayer

Come, O Divine Spirit, fill my heart with Thy heavenly fruits, Thy charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, faith, mildness, and temperance, that I may never weary in the service of God, but by continued faithful submission to Thy inspiration may merit to be united eternally with Thee in the love of the Father and the Son. Amen.

  • Our Father
  • Hail Mary
  • Glory be to the Father (seven times)
  • Act of Consecration
  • Prayer for the Seven Gifts

© 1912 Congregatio Sancti Spiritus sub tutela Immaculati Cordis Beatissimae Virginis Mariae.

 You may also like the Chaplet of the Holy Ghost

prayers to the holy ghost

Chaplet of the Holy Ghost from the Rosary Bay workshop

The Chaplet of the Holy Ghost gives the faithful an easy means honoring the Holy Spirit by entering into this powerful and beautiful contemplative prayer.

Rosary Bay is a Christian mission-driven online resource and shop inspired from the beauty of Catholic faith, tradition, and arts. Our mission is to “Restore All Things to Christ!”, in continuing the legacy of Pope St. Pius X under the patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary. “Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in battle array?” O Mary conceived without sin. Pray for us who have recourse to Thee.

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prayers to the holy ghost

Commentary on Saint Augustine’s Prayer to the Holy Ghost by Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira.

“O Love Divine, O sacred bond that unites the Father and the Son, almighty Spirit, faithful Consoler of the afflicted, penetrate the profound depths of my heart and make Thy resplendent light shine therein. Pour out Thy sweet dew upon this desert land to end its long aridity. Send forth the heavenly darts of Thy love into the sanctuary of my soul to light up burning flames that consume all my weaknesses, negligence, and apathy.

Come, o sweet Consoler of desolate souls, refuge in danger, and protector in distress.

Come, Thou Who washest souls from their stains and healest their wounds.

Come, strength of the weak, support of those who fall.

Come, doctor of the humble and defeater of the proud.

Come, Father of orphans, hope of the poor, treasure of the indigent.

Come, star of sailors, safe harbor of the shipwrecked.

Come, strength of the living and salvation of the dying.

Come, O Holy Ghost, come and have mercy on me. Make my soul simple, docile and faithful, and graciously bear with my weakness with a kindness so great that my smallness may find favor before Thy infinite grandeur, my powerlessness before Thy strength, and my offenses before the multitude of Thy mercies. Amen.”

*          *          *

First of all, I would like to note how in this prayer Saint Augustine really soars to unimaginable heights right from the start, and even when you do not stop to analyze every word. This most beautiful prayer contains passages that need to be analyzed.

“Faithful Consoler of the afflicted.” To console is not merely to sooth a person’s affliction and encourage him. It is to strengthen him. To “console” properly speaking is to give strength. So a “faithful consoler” is one who always gives strength. Fortifier and continuous strengthener of the afflicted: this tells us much more accurately what we need to ask for: Not just in order to have a sense of encouragement and hope amidst the hardships of a very deep trial, but to have the strength to weather that trial. Not bravado or swordsmanship, but real strength!

“Penetrate the profound depths of my heart and make shine therein Thy resplendent light… “Heart” here means affection and is not employed lightly but very appropriately, and yet it means a whole lot more: the depths of the soul, where the tendencial Revolution takes place — they are, so to speak, a “subconscious of the soul.” So the prayer asks the strength of the Holy Ghost to penetrate and strengthen the person’s soul. It is a mysterious place inside the soul where darkness makes it difficult to perceive what happens.

Another element to note is that the prayer does not ask so much for a word, but for a light. You can see the scope of this prayer.

prayers to the holy ghost

Partial view of the stain glass window before the Altar of the Chair in Saint Peter’s Basilica, Rome.

“Pour out Thy sweet dew on this desert land to end its long aridity.” He supposes that the person finds himself in aridity right in those very depths of his soul. It is therefore a soul tormented by the trial of aridity. So what does he ask for? “Pour out Thy sweet dew on this desert land…” You see how this is closer to the word “consolation” in the common sense of the term, that is, a soothing balm, dew, or something of this kind.

“…Thy sweet dew upon this desert land.” He is not referring to a dry land but to an empty, deserted land. And the sweet dew must fall upon this emptiness of soul. This interior emptiness can be described thus: When dealing with one another, each of us conveys an impression of satisfaction, well being etc. (incidentally, this is even an obligation of politeness). However, there is a certain region of the soul where, due to the effects of original sin, the person feels happy to be himself but feels at the same time a kind of insufficiency. He is not sufficient unto himself and feels an interior loneliness that becomes a torment. And seeking to make this torment cease is one of the springs of the instinct of sociability.

One gets the idea that the company of person A, B or C can stop this feeling of emptiness, but no mistake could be greater, for no one can do it but the Holy Ghost. Anything else is illusion and stupidity.

“Send forth the heavenly darts of Thy love into the sanctuary of my soul to light up burning flames that consume all my weaknesses, negligence, and apathy.” You see how he takes this “desert land” and at the same time calls it a “sanctuary” because there is continuity in his description of the person’s state of soul.

He says: “Send forth the heavenly darts of Thy love into the sanctuary of my soul.” While this desert land is at the same time a sanctuary, he sees it as forsaken and likens it to a desert land. It is a sanctuary in the dark. How well this describes some states of mind and some spiritual crises in which the interior of a soul is at the same time a desert land and a sanctuary in the dark!

I do not know if the idea of a sanctuary in the dark that needs to be penetrated by heavenly arrows, which alone can penetrate it, appears as clear to you as it does to me. One can see he expects no other solution from anyone else. God alone can send darts from Heaven and penetrate this desert land to operate something therein.

“Send forth the heavenly darts of Thy love into the sanctuary of my soul.” Supernatural love of God is something that stems from God, something He alone gives. It does not come from the soul. It is a gift of His which we obtain through prayer; and we should ask for it through the intercession of Our Lady, the universal Mediatrix of all graces. It is precisely when our soul is like a desert land or our sanctuary is in darkness that we should ask for what comes only from Heaven and lights up our soul, for God alone can do it. God alone can light up or set on fire once again; everything comes from Him through the prayers of Our Lady. How useful it is for us to remember that in our spiritual life!

“…to light up burning flames that consume all my weaknesses, negligence, and apathy.” This list is very meaningful because it does not mention perfidy, meanness, atrocious intentions or cruelty. He mentions a certain family of defects: weakness, and negligence, which is a fruit of weakness. When an individual does not resist weakness, the normal result is negligence. Apathy comes from weakness, and both cause negligence, producing a soft soul.

This state of mind is shared by countless faithful today facing the situation in which the Catholic Church finds herself. If only those souls were not negligent, weak or apathetic, the good people who struggle for the cause of the Counter-Revolution would simply not be so isolated and abandoned.

Here (for some reason unknown to me) Saint Augustine has in mind a special type of souls. They are neither bandits nor those who plot wars or massacres, but especially the “abandoned sanctuaries,” those affected by this strain of weakness and softness.

“Come, o sweet Consoler of desolate souls, refuge in danger and protector in distress.” Note the idea of a strong sweetness or a sweet strength. It is very proper for heavenly things to make us feel God’s goodness and sweetness but at the same time to communicate a very great strength. This happens, for example, when we receive a grace that enlightens us about the sweetness of the Sacred Heart of Jesus or the Immaculate Heart of Mary and we actually experience that sweetness. Without realizing it we become more resistant to temptation, stronger in danger, and more persevering in the Faith. In other words, this sweetness communicates strength! Therefore, there is no dichotomy between strength on the one hand and sweetness on the other. Sweetness communicates strength, and strength communicates sweetness. It is only one thing.

“…sweet Consoler of desolate souls.” Desolation is not just any sadness. It is a kind of apex, a summit of sadness. In common language, when one says “I feel desolate,” one does not simply mean to be very sad but, “I am extremely said, in me there is nothing but sadness.” We can speak of Our Lord’s desolation in the Garden of Olives.

“…refuge in danger.” What danger? He is not referring mainly to bodily dangers but especially those regarding the soul. Salvation is continuously endangered by all kinds of circumstances. The soul’s refuge in this danger is the Holy Ghost, with His grace and action in the depth of our hearts. And by saying this I would like — if possible — to communicate a certain security to souls. As people feel inside themselves that enigmatic sanctuary in the dark and that arid land, they tend to suspect they will be unable to overcome their inner problems and begin to become discouraged from sticking to the path of salvation. If they bear in mind that the Holy Ghost is the Spouse of Our Lady and refuses her nothing, they will be encouraged, for the Holy Ghost is the remedy for all that. They can ask Him for graces and they will receive them.

“…Protector in distress.” “Distress” is a very beautiful word. It means helpless affliction, very dire straits. How many such situations take place in the spiritual life? A person is in distress, asks the Holy Ghost and is freed from it, however unlikely it might have seemed in the normal course of his thoughts and ideas. His soul is touched by one impression or the other and everything changes. It is the action of the Holy Ghost.

“Come, Thou Who washest souls from their stains and healest their wounds.” If this phrase is well translated from the Latin, it is structured as follows: “Thou are the One par excellence that cleans people’s souls. Saying “Thou that does this” inclines the mind to admit: “Thou that art the only One that does this.”

Once again you have here an encouragement full of sweetness. A person who often looks inside his soul finds it so full of wounds, wounds so festering and filthy, that he becomes discouraged. Having no strength to overcome that situation, of course he will become discouraged! He needs a heavenly strength that provides courage and mettle to overcome or at times to operate the change in him without any action on his part except for saying “yes.” And that light enters and heals the soul…

But why is it that in our spiritual life we lack the full hope and ardor communicated by this way of seeing the action of the Holy Ghost? Is it not true that this consideration would give our souls a much greater impulse to soar and forge ahead than our habitual way?

“Come, strength of the weak, support of those who fall.” This is so clear that I have nothing to say.

“Come, doctor of the humble and defeater of the proud.” How beautiful: A doctor that enlightens and teaches those that are humble, first of all, before Him. They are not the proud who think they possess the solution to all problems: they know the Holy Ghost is the One that has that solution and that they need to pray, beg, implore and beseech, often and humbly. I, Plinio, am simply unable to solve this problem! Nor will I obtain a solution if I merely pray. But if I pray through Our Lady, the Mother of Mercy, She will pray and obtain it for me. This is the easy, safe and quick way to do it; and it keeps me joyful and standing amid all the afflictions of this vale of tears.

This prayer is extremely concise and substantial!

Come, Father of orphans, hope of the poor, treasure of the indigent.” Here too one should consider it from the standpoint of the interior life, which the Saint always has in mind first and foremost: the sanctification of the one saying this prayer.

“…Father of orphans…” How many orphans there are when it comes to the spiritual life! How orphaned a man really is during his journey on this earth! He is an orphan even when he reaches the age of 81! The Holy Ghost is the Father of those who feel the terrible orphanhood of this life. This life is orphanhood.

“…Father of orphans, hope of the poor…” An orphan, a poor person is one who has nothing to hope for and is interiorly poor, that is, one who almost has no right to ask for anything and who lives from mercy. To these the Holy Ghost is a Father entirely accessible and full of kindness.

“…Treasure of the indigent” — We have no merits to present before God. We are indigent. But the Holy Ghost is our treasure. We ask, and He gives. How substantial and magnificent this prayer really is!

“Come, star of sailors, safe harbor of the shipwrecked.” Here you have two concepts: One is star of sailors, which recalls the invocation of Our Lady, Ave Maris Stella. If She is the star of the sea, She obviously is the star of those who sail. But why is the same thing said of the Holy Ghost and of Her? Because what is said of the Spouse is also said of her Consort. And She is the star of sailors because She is the Mystical Spouse of the Holy Ghost, Who is the Star of Sailors par excellence.

In other words, the Holy Ghost is the guiding Star of all those on this life’s journey with its risks, problems and so on.

Saint Augustine speaks first about sailors and then about the shipwrecked. Imagine a ship that wrecked and a castaway clinging to the flotsam and jetsam and going wherever the currents take him. Suddenly, the currents take him to a harbor. This harbor is the Holy Ghost. In other words, the waves of the passions cast man from one side to another as he is given over to most unruly appetites and disorderly pride: there is no safe harbor from him. Nay! There would be no safe harbor but for the prayer of Our Lady to the Holy Ghost, Who is the safe harbor of the shipwrecked. She intervenes, and everything is solved.

prayers to the holy ghost

Descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Apostles in the Cenacle

“Come, strength of the living and salvation of the dying.” What a beautiful alternative: strength of the living and salvation of the dying! Man is alive, life is a struggle, and he needs strength. But when dying he needs a grace independent of all others received throughout life: the grace of a good death. And the person obtains salvation if he prays to the Holy Ghost.

Throughout my life I found very poignant that ceremony held in the Roman arenas before Christians were martyred. First, gladiators would face off and then the martyrs would be killed. The gladiators would enter in formation, stop in front of the Emperor’s rostrum and say, Ave Caesar, morituri te salutant! — “Hail, Caesar, those who are about to die salute you!”

Caesar was usually a rough, loutish, sensual, vulgar, venal and half-drunk soldier who had bought his office. He would be lounging in the safety of the imperial tribune as the young and strong gladiators marched in with swords, tridents, nets, spears, etc. to begin the fight. And they knew they would fight only to entertain that clown sitting up there! What a sad situation: they are the morituri, those about to die.

Rather than addressing a filthy Caesar, when on the verge of dying, every man can tell the infinitely perfect God: “Hail, O God, the one about to die salutes Thee!” It is his last salute before death! Well then, for this salutation to be perfect we need the help of the Holy Ghost, always through the prayers of Mary, without whom we obtain nothing.

“Come, O Holy Ghost, come and have mercy on me. Make my soul simple, docile and faithful, and graciously bear with my weaknesses.” No comment would do justice to this very beautiful phrase. We need to drink it like water bubbling up from the source.

Then comes a tour de force: “Come, O Holy Ghost, come.” Notice the emphasis: “come, come! — and have mercy on me.” The one in need of mercy insistently implores: “Come, come!” And then Saint Augustine explains what mercy concretely means in his case: “Make my soul simple, docile, and faithful.” These three words should be taken together, as they are a kind of triad.

Simple is a soul that has no swaying, vanities, complications. A soul that is, therefore, the opposite of one who does not want to see himself rightly and up front and simply to say ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ Our Lord said: “Let your speech be yea, yea; no, no.” (Mt. 5:37). Accordingly, “let your inner thoughts be yes, yes; no, no. Have the courage to see truth and error, but also about you. Not only about the objective world external to you, but also regarding your inner self. Have that courage!” This is a simple soul.

A simple soul is docile. Why? The more a soul finds it complicated to obey, the more it lacks simplicity. In the old days, at times I would see janitors cleaning floors with a scouring iron mesh and then wax it. I think the mesh was probably used to remove dirt that had impregnated the floor.

Now, there are souls as complicated as iron mesh! All coiled up and intertwined… If you propose them to do something, the answer will be: “sure, but if I do it this other way, or work around it that way… then I agree.” These are souls that lack docility and find it complicated to obey.

Conversely, simple souls receive an invitation from the Holy Ghost and say: “Of course!” And they go and do it! We could ask ourselves: are we like iron mesh, or are we straight like the blade of a sword?

The preceding article is taken from an informal lecture Professor Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira gave on Sunday, May 20, 1990. It has been translated and adapted for publication without his revision. —Ed.

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