We ought to pray and invoke the Holy Spirit, for each of us greatly needs His protection and His help. The more a man is deficient in wisdom, weak in strength, borne down with trouble, prone to sin, so ought he the more fly to Him Who is the never ceasing Fount of Light, Strength, Consolation and Holiness.” – Pope Leo XIII
Note: The following novena was written by the Holy Ghost Fathers over 100 years ago and was reprinted several times. It is prayed for the nine days prior to Pentecost.
The novena in honor of the Holy Ghost is the oldest of all novenas since it was first made at the directions 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 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.
The Church grants the following indulgence: “Partial indulgence to those who participate in a public novena before the feast of Christmas or Pentecost, or the Immaculate Conception.” (The Enchiridion of Indulgences, Issued by the Sacred Apostolic Penitentiary, 1968, #34)
Though this novena can be prayed any time of year, it is traditionally prayed from the Friday after Ascension Thursday (when the Ascension is not transferred to the following Sunday) until the Saturday before Pentecost.
The novena begins Friday, May 22, 2020, and concludes Saturday, May 30, 2020.
- Day One – Friday of the Sixth Week of Easter (May 22)
- Day Two – Saturday of the Sixth Week of Easter (May 23)
- Day Three – Sunday, Solemnity of the Ascension (May 24)
- Day Four – Monday of the Seventh Week of Easter (May 25)
- Day Five – Tuesday of the Seventh Week of Easter (May 26)
- Day Six – Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter (May 27)
- Day Seven – Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter (May 28)
- Day Eight – Friday of the Seventh Week of Easter (May 29)
- Day Nine – Saturday of the Seventh Week of Easter (May 30)
Act of Consecration to the Holy Ghost
On my knees / before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses / I offer myself, soul and body / to Thee O Eternal Spirit of God. / I adore the brightness of Thy purity / the unerring keenness of Thy justice / and the might of Thy love. Thou art the Strength / and Light of my soul. / In Thee I live and move and am. / I desire never to grieve Thee by unfaithfulness to grace, and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against Thee. / Mercifully guard my every thought / and grant that I may always watch for Thy light / and listen to Thy voice / and follow Thy gracious inspirations. / I cling to Thee / and give myself to Thee / and ask Thee / by Thy 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 Thee / Adorable Spirit / Helper of my infirmity, / so to keep me in Thy grace / that I may never sin against Thee. / Give me grace / O Holy Ghost, / Spirit of the Father and of the Son / to say to Thee always and everywhere / “Speak, Lord / for Thy servant heareth.”
O Lord Jesus Christ / Who, before ascending into heaven / did promise to send the Holy Ghost / to finish Thy work / in the souls of Thine Apostles and Disciples / deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me / that He may perfect in my soul / the work of Thy grace and Thy 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 choose / the surest way of pleasing God / and gaining heaven, / the Spirit of Fortitude / that I may bear my cross with Thee / 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, / the Spirit of Fear of the Lord / 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 Thy true disciples / and animate me in all things with Thy Spirit. / Amen.
Holy Spirit! Lord of light!
From Thy clear celestial height,
Thy 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.”
Almighty and eternal God, Who hast vouchsafed to regenerate us by water and the Holy Ghost, and hast given us forgiveness of all sins, vouchsafe to send forth from heaven upon us Thy 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.
Come Thou, Father of the poor!
Come, treasure which endure!
Come Thou, Light of all that live!
The Gift of Holy 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.”
Come, O blessed Spirit of Holy Fear, penetrate my inmost heart, that I may set Thee, my Lord and God, before my face forever; help me to shun all things that can offend Thee, and make me worthy to appear before the pure eyes of Thy Divine Majesty in heaven where Thou livest and reignest in the unity of the Blessed Trinity, God, world without end. Amen.
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.
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.
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 persevere unto the end, he shall be saved.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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 be 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.”
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.
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 come 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 Saviour: “Take up thy cross and follow me, for my yoke is sweet and my burden light.”
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 forever. Amen.
Thou, on those who evermore
Thee confess, and Thee adore,
In Thy sevenfold gifts, 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 effort in the service of God, to serve Whom is to reign.
Come, O Divine Spirit, fill my heart with Thy heavenly fruits: charity, joy, peace, patience, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, modesty, self-control and chastity, 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.
An Imprimatur for this novena was granted by +Patrick A. O’Boyle, Archbishop of Washington, March 12, 1948.
Images used on this page:
Jean II Restout – Pentecost
Master of the Baroncelli portraits – Pentecost
Hours of the Holy Spirit: Pentecost
Pentecost by Master of Guillaume Lambert
Pentecost by Girolamo da Cremona
Pentecost byJosef Ignaz Mildorfer, Hungarian National Gallery, 1750s
Pentecost stained glass, Lawrence OP, Flikr
Pentecost by Bartolomeo di Tommaso
Pentecost: Master of the Dominican Effigies
Anonymous – Pentecost
Giotto di Bondone: Pentecost