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Novena before Pentecost

Between the Ascension and Pentecost

Forty days after Easter we celebrate the Ascension, that is, the rising of Jesus into Heaven with His Father. In the Gospel according to Luke, just before the Ascension, Jesus promises to give his Holy Spirit to his disciples : "I am sending upon you what my Father has promised. As for you, stay in the city until you are clothed with a power from on high." (Lk 24, 49)

Ten days later, it is the feast of Pentecost. On that day, says Luke in the Acts of the Apostles (ch. 2), the disciples received the Holy Spirit, in the form of tongues of flame accompanied by a big wind. They then left the house where they had locked themselves up, and full of enthusiasm, they announced to the crowd that Jesus had risen and that God offers salvation to all who believe in His name. Through their words, it is the Holy Spirit who is at work: everyone heard them speak in his own tongue.

Today, the Church's liturgy invites us to live in expectation of the Holy Spirit as did Mary and the apostles. During the nine days between the Ascension and Pentecost, it invites us to sing the Vespers hymn, Veni Creator Spiritus. This famous hymn, probably composed in the ninth century by St. Rabanus Maurus, abbot of Fulda and Archbishop of Mainz, Germany, implores and sings the gifts of the Holy Spirit with such inspiration that it has become one of the most popular prayers Holy Spirit. We propose you listen to it with its expressive, Gregorian melody.

Veni, creator Spiritus,
mentes tuorum visita,
imple superna gratia
quæ tu creasti pectora

Come, Holy Spirit, Creator blest,
and in our souls take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heavenly aid
to fill the hearts which Thou hast made

Qui diceris Paraclitus,
donum Dei altissimi,
fons vivus, ignis, caritas
et spiritalis unctio

O comforter, to Thee we cry,
O heavenly gift of God Most High,
O fount of life and fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above

Tu septiformis munere,
dextræ Dei tu digitus,
tu rite promissum Patris,
sermone ditans guttura

Thou in Thy sevenfold gifts are known;
Thou, finger of God's hand we own;
Thou, promise of the Father, Thou
Who dost the tongue with power imbue

Accende lumen sensibus,
infunde amorem cordibus,
infirma nostri corporis
virtute firmans perpeti

Kindle our sense from above,
and make our hearts o'erflow with love;
with patience firm and virtue high
the weakness of our flesh supply

Hostem repellas longius
pacemque dones protinus;
ductore sic te prævio
vitemus omne noxium

Far from us drive the foe we dread,
and grant us Thy peace instead;
so shall we not, with Thee for guide,
turn from the path of life aside

Per te sciamus da Patrem,
noscamus atque Filium;
te utriusque Spiritum
credamus omni tempore

Oh, may Thy grace on us bestow
the Father and the Son to know;
and Thee, through endless times confessed,
of both the eternal Spirit blest