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The Litany to the Holy Spirit, printed below, pays loving tribute to the Third Person of the Trinity. It also includes an inspiring set of petitions that can increase our sanctity and strength when we feel like we’re stumbling and falling in our footsteps towards heaven.
Lord, have mercy on us
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord have mercy on us; Christ, hear us.
Christ graciously hear us.
God the Father Almighty, have mercy on us.
Jesus Eternal Son of the Father, Redeemer of the world, save us.
Spirit of the Father and the Son and Infinite Love of Both sanctify us.
Most Holy Trinity, hear us.
Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, come to us (said after each line)
Promise of the Father,
Gift of God Most High,
Ray of heavenly light,
Fount of Living Water,
Author of all good,
Spirit of wisdom,
Spirit of understanding,
Spirit of counsel and of fortitude,
Spirit of knowledge and of piety,
Spirit of the fear of the Lord,
Spirit of truth and of love,
Spirit of grace and of prayer,
Spirit of peace and of sweetness,
Spirit of modesty and of innocence,
Spirit of consolation,
Spirit of sanctification,
Spirit that governs the Church,
Spirit that fills the universe,
Spirit of adoption of the Son of God,
Holy Spirit, imprint on our hearts, our horror for sin,
we beseech You, hear us (said after each line)
Holy Spirit, come and renew the face of the earth
Holy Spirit, shed Your light upon our understanding.
Holy Spirit, engrave your law upon our hearts.
Holy Spirit, consume in us the fire of Your love.
Holy Spirit, open to us the treasure of Your grace.
Holy Spirit, teach us how we ought to pray.
Holy Spirit, enlighten us with Your heavenly inspirations.
Holy Spirit, grant us the one knowledge that is necessary.
Holy Spirit, instill into us the practice of the virtues.
Holy Spirit, grant that we may persevere in injustice.
Holy Spirit, be our reward.
Lamb of God who takest away the sins of the world,
send us your Holy Spirit
Lamb of God who takest us away the sins of the world,
imbue us with the spirit of wisdom and the Holy Spirit.
Lamb of God who takest us away the sins of the world,
imbue us with the spirit of wisdom and devotion.
V. Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful
R. And kindle in them the fire of Your love.
Let us pray:
O God, who instructed the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant us in the same Spirit to be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolation, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
It is one of those great Triune mysteries, that the Holy Spirit who “proceeds from the father and the Son” as we say in the Nicene Creed, is nonetheless every bit as glorified, as we also recite, as God the Father and His Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Reflecting the infinite love of both Father and Son, the Holy Spirit is in no way of lesser importance.
In some wonderful way we can never fully comprehend but can nonetheless appreciate, God is equally present to us in those three distinct persons, to help us achieve salvation and Eternal life.
Our pictorial representations of God are imperfect approximations as to the Father (often represented with a gray beard) and the Spirit (represented as a dove, as seen above, in keeping with the scriptural interpretation given in the Gospels as He descended after Jesus’ Baptism in the River Jordan by John the Baptist).
The Holy Spirit, also traditionally called the Holy Ghost, is quite active in scripture. Besides speaking through the Old Testament prophets, again as referenced in the Nicene Creed, we see Him at work early on in the Gospels in the Incarnation, in conveying to Elizabeth her cousin Mary’s being the Mother of Jesus, and later in showing the just and devout Simeon the Christ of the Lord in the Infant Jesus.
And of course, Jesus made it clear in the Last Supper discourse that following His earthly ministry He would send the Holy Spirit, who would remind the disciples of all He had taught them. But first, however, he told them “it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counselor [that is to say the Holy Spirit] will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. (John 16:7). (Here Jesus was referring to His forthcoming Passion, Death, and Resurrection followed by His Ascension into heaven.)
In his great biography of our Lord entitled Life of Christ, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen put it so well in expounding on those words from John’s Gospel “It was better that He go away, for His return to the Father was the condition of the coming of the Spirit. If He remained among them, He would have been only an example to be copied; if He left and sent the Spirit, He would be a veritable life to be lived…. The corporal presence had to be removed in order that the spiritual presence might take its place. His continued presence on earth would have meant a localized presence; the descending of the Spirit would mean that He could be in the midst of all men who would be incorporated unto Him."
Clearly Jesus followed through in sending His Spirit momentously at Pentecost, after which the previously more timid Apostles and disciples boldly proclaimed Jesus’ Gospel message in a manner they probably never could have imagined possible only a short time before, as we read about in Chapter 2 of the Book of Acts!
We also see in the Book of Acts how the Holy Spirit was quite involved as counselor in the fledgling but growing church in wonderful mystical ways. St. Paul refers to Him more than 100 times in his various letters.
As our Lord said at the Last Supper He would not leave us orphans after all (John 14:18)! It is important to keep in mind here as well, however, that Jesus did indeed say that after His Ascension into heaven, He would still be with us always until the end of time (Matt 28:20). He was by no means “bugging out” on us! And indeed, He is with us in the Euchaist at every Mass in Communion as well as in Eucharistic Adoration in parishes worldwide!
The Curé of Ars, St. Jean-Marie Vianny, once expressed his admiration for the Holy Spirit this way: "How beautiful it is! The Father is our Creator, the Son is our Redeemer and the Holy Spirit is our Guide. Man of himself is nothing, but with the Holy Spirit he is very great. The Holy Spirit elevates his mind and raises it on high...He teaches us to distinguish between truth and falsehood, between good and evil."
Still, how do we know God is speaking to us through His Spirit, the third Divine person of the Trinity? This litany includes some verses spelling out the Gifts the Holy Spirit wishes to give us, for which we should strive, namely Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety and Fear of the Lord.
We can also see the Spirit at work in our lives when we make good use of these gifts and receive as well His fruit, of “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, [and] self-control” as described by St. Paul in Chapter 5 of his letter to the Ephesians, verses 22-23.
In addition it never hurts to brush up on learning the essential teachings of Catholicism. I have links for a suggested reading list in the box below, that can help enhance your knowledge and wisdom as to what inspirations you may have that are or are not from the Holy Spirit. I hope it’s not overwhelming. Think of it as a guide to help our Guide lead you towards true love and fellowship with God!
If nothing else, I would recommend the Baltimore Catechism (for a nourishing summary as to the basics of our Faith) as well as the Catechism of the Catholic Church, published in 1995, for more elaborate study.
And as well, by all means pray to the Holy Spirit in litanies such as this one, as with all other prayers, for much needed guidance and strength in these times when aspotasies are creeing into our apostolic church. Let the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit help you keep the faith and not lose heart!