The Catacombs

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Monday in Whitsun Week
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Guéranger  (1841-1875)

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Veni, sancte Spiritus, reple tuorum corda fidelium, et tui amoris in eis ignem accende. 
Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of thy faithful, and enkindle within them the fire of thy love.

Yesterday, the Holy Ghost took possession of the world: his commencement of the mission given him by the Father and the Son was such as to indicate his power over the human heart, and prepare us for his future triumphs. The days of this solemn Octave are a fitting occasion for our respectfully considering the progress of his workings in the Church and the souls of men.

Jesus, our Emmanuel, is the King of the whole earth; his Father gave him all nations for his inheritance. He Himself tell us that all power is given to him in heaven and in earth. But he ascended into heaven before establishing his Kingdom here below. The very Israelites—to whom he preached his Gospel, and under whose eyes he wrought such stupendous miracles in attestation of his being the Messias—have refused to acknowledge him, and ceased to be his people. A few have been faithful, and others will follow their example: but the mass of the people of Israel have impiously resolved not to have this Man to reign over them.

As to the Gentiles, what likelihood is there of their accepting the Son of Mary for their Master? They know nothing whatsoever of Him, his teachings, or his mission. They have lost all their primitive religious traditions. Materialism reigns supreme in every country, whether civilized or barbarian; and every creature is made an object for adoration. The very first principles of morality have been corrupted. The insignificant minority, who proudly call themselves Philosophers, have the strangest theories: they became vain in their thoughts, as St. Paul says of them, and their foolish heart was darkened. Races, once distinct, have been gradually fused into each other by conquest. Revolution after revolution has habituated mankind to respect no power but that of might. The colossal Roman Empire, with despotic Cæsars at its head, crushes the whole earth beneath its sway. And this is the time chosen by the heavenly Father for sending his Son into the world! Jesus is to reign over men, and his reign must be accepted:—but there seems to be little chance of there being any welcome given to a King who claims to rule the mind and heart of his subjects!

During these long sad ages, another master has presented himself to the Nations, and they have enthusiastically hailed him as their king. It is Satan. So firmly indeed has he established his rule, that our Lord calls him the Prince of this world. He must be cast out; that is, he must be driven from the temples men have built to him, from society, from the soul, from literature, from art, from political life—all of which are under his sway. There will be resistance from the world he has corrupted; nay, he himself, the strong armed one, will resist, and so powerfully that no mere created power shall ever make him yield.

So, then, everything is against the Kingdom of Christ, and nothing is favorable. And yet, if we are to believe certain modern writers, the world was in a fit state for a total and complete reformation! Impious and absurd assertion! Are we to deny the evidence of facts? Or must we admit that error and vice are the best preparation for truth and virtue? Man may know that he is in a state of wretchedness, and yet not know that his wretchedness comes from sin, still less be resolved to become, at once and at every sacrifice, a hero in virtue!

No:—in order that Jesus might reign over a world such as our was, there was need of a miracle, nay of a miracle, as Bossuet observes, comparable to that of creation, whereby God draws being out of nothingness. Now, it was the Holy Ghost who worked this miracle. He willed that we, who have never seen the Lord Jesus, should be as certain of his being our Messias and God, as though we had witnessed his wonderful works, and heard his divine teachings. For this end, he achieved the master-miracle of the conversion of the world, wherein God chose the weak things of the world, that he might confound the strong—the things that are not, that he might bring to nought the things that are. By this stupendous fact, which was evident to men as the noon-day sun, the Holy Ghost made his presence known and felt by the world.

Let us consider the means he took for establishing the Kingdom of Jesus upon the earth. And first, let us return to the Cenacle. Look at these men now endued with power from on high: what were they a while ago? Men without influence, poor, ignorant, and, as we all know, easily intimidated. But now, the Holy Ghost has changed them into other men: they have an eloquence which it is hard to resist; they are heedless of every threat or peril; they are soon to stand before the world, yea, and conquer it with a victory such as no monarch ever won or fancied. The fact is too evident for the blindest incredulity to deny—the world has been transformed, and transformed by these poor Jews of the Cenacle. They received the Holy Ghost on the Day of Pentecost, and he has done through them the work he came to do.

He gave them three things on that day: the power to preach the word, which was signified by the Tongues that sat upon them; the ardor of love, expressed by the Fire; and the gift of miracles, which they exercised that very morning. The word is the sword wherewith they are armed; love is the source of their dauntless courage; miracles win man’s attention to their teachings. These are the means used for driving Satan from the world, and for establishing the Kingdom of Jesus; and these means are all provided by the Holy Ghost.

But he does not confine his action to this. It is not enough for men to hear the word, and admire the courage, and witness the miracles of the Apostles. Neither is it sufficient that they should see the force of truth and the beauty of virtue, or acknowledge the disgrace and sinfulness of their own manner of life. In order to a conversion of heart—to confess that the Jesus, who is preached to them, is God—to love him, be baptized, promised fidelity to him, even to martyrdom if required—for all this there is need of the grace of the Holy Ghost. He alone can take away the stony heart, as the Prophet expresses it, and give a heart of flesh, filled with supernatural faith and love. Hence, he will accompany his ministers wheresoever they preach the Gospel; the visible working is theirs, the invisible is His: man’s salvation is to be the result of the two united. They must be applied to each individual, and each individual must freely yield his assent to the exterior preaching of the apostle, and to the interior action of the Holy Spirit. Truly, the undertaking is one of extreme difficulty—to bring mankind to receive Jesus as its Lord and King: but after three centuries of contest, the Cross of our Redeemer will be the standard round which the whole civilized world will be rallied.

It was just, that the Holy Spirit and the Apostles should first turn to the Israelites. They were the people to whom were committed the words of God; and the Messias was born of their race. Jesus had said that he was not sent but to the sheep that were lost of the house of Israel. Peter, his Vicar, inherited the glory of being the Apostle of the Jews; although it was also by his ministry that the Gentiles, in the person of Cornelius the Centurion, were first admitted into the Church; and again, it was by him, at the Council of Jerusalem, that the baptized Gentiles were declared emancipated from the Jewish Law. We repeat it—the first preaching of the Christian Law was an honor due to the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: hence, our first Pentecost is a Jewish one, and the first to celebrate it are Jews. It is upon the people of Israel that the Holy Spirit first pours forth his divine Gifts.

As soon as the Solemnity was over, these men who have received the faith and are now truly children of Abraham by holy Baptism, return to the several provinces of the Gentile world whence they came; they return, bearing in their hearts that Jesus whom they have acknowledged to be the Messias, their God and their Savior. Let us honor these first-fruits of holy Church, these trophies of the Paraclete Spirit, these messengers of the good tidings. They will soon be followed by the Disciples of the Cenacle, who—after using every means that zeal could devise for the conversion of the proud and ungrateful Jerusalem, but to no effect—will turn to the Gentiles.

So that, of the Jewish nation, a very small minority has acknowledged the Son of David as the heir of the Father of the Family; the body of the people has rebelled against him, and is running headlong to destruction. By what name are we to call their crime? The Protomartyr, St. Stephen, speaking to these unworthy children of Abraham, says: O stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! we always resist the Holy Ghost! Resistance, then, to the Spirit of God is their crime; and the Apostles, finding the favored people determined to refuse the truth, turn to them that are sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death. These are the Gentiles; and upon them the Apostles are henceforward to lavish the torrents of grace, which Jesus has merited for mankind by his Sacrifice on the Cross.

These messengers of the word of life carry the treasure to pagan lands. Every opposition in man’s power is made against them, but they triumph over all. The Holy Spirit gives efficacy to his own indwelling within them; he acts himself on the souls of their hearers; and rapid is the spread of Faith in Jesus. A Christian colony is soon formed at Antioch, then at Rome, and then at Alexandria. The tongue of fire runs through the world, beyond even the farthest limits of the Roman Empire, which, as the Prophets had foretold, was to serve as an instrument to the establishing the Kingdom of Christ. India, China, Ethiopia, and a hundred other distant countries, hear the word of the heralds of the Gospel of Peace.

But they have another testimony besides their word, to give to Jesus their King: they owe him the testimony of their blood, and they give it. The fire that was enkindled within them on the Day of Pentecost, consumes them in the holocaust of martyrdom.

And yet, observe the power and fruitfulness of the Holy Spirit! To these first Apostles he raises up successors, in whom he continues his influence and work. So will it be to the end of time; for Jesus is to be acknowledged as Lord and Savior by all generations, and the Holy Ghost has been sent into the world in order to effect this.

The Prince of this world, the old serpent, makes use of the most violent means for staying the conquests of these messengers of the Holy Spirit. He has had Peter crucified, and Paul beheaded; he spared not one of the glorious chieftains. They are gone, and yet his defeat is terrible to his pride. The mystery of Pentecost has created a new people; the seed sown by the Apostles has produced an immense harvest. Nero’s persecution has swept away the Jewish leaders of the Christian host; but they had done their grand work—they had established the Church among the Gentiles: we sang their triumph in our yesterday’s Introit: The Spirit of the Lord hath filled the whole earth! Alleluia! Towards the close of the first century, Domitian finds Christians even in the imperial family; he makes them Martyrs. Trajan, Adrian, Antoninus, Marcus Aurelius—all are jealous of the growing power of Jesus of Nazareth; they persecute his flock, and yet they see it multiply. Their master, the Prince of this world, gives them political influence and philosophy; but the Holy Ghost brings both to nought, and the Truth spreads through the universe. Other Emperors—such as Severus, Decius, Gallus, Valerian, and Maximian—with the sterner course of cruelty unrefined by sophistry, order a universal massacre of the Christians, for the Empire was filled with them. And when this too failed, Satan brings all his power to bear in the last Persecution, which is decreed by Diocletian and his fellow Cæsars. It is to be the extermination of the Christian name. It deluges the Empire with the blood of Martyrs; but the victory is for the Church, and her enemies die, despairing and baffled.

How magnificent, O Holy Spirit! is thy triumph! How divine is this Kingdom of Jesus, which thou thus foundest in spite of human folly and malice, or of Satan’s power, strong as it then was upon the earth! Thou infusest into millions of souls the love of a Religion which demands the most heroic sacrifices from its followers. Thou answerest the specious objections of man’s reason by the eloquence of miracles; and hearts that once were slaves to concupiscence and pride are inflamed, by thee, with such a love of Jesus that they cheerfully suffer every torture, yea and death itself, for his dear sake!

Then it was that was fulfilled the promise made by our Savior to his Disciples: When they shall deliver you up, take no thought how or what to speak, for it shall be given to you, in that hour, what to speak; for it is not you that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you. We have a proof of it in the Acts of the Martyrs, where we read their simple and sublime answers, when questioned by their persecutors, and this frequently in the midst of the most excruciating torments. It is the word of the Spirit, combating and conquering the world. The bystanders would frequently exclaim: “Great is the God of the Christians!” At times, the executioners, excited by the heavenly eloquence of the victims they were torturing, cried out that they too would be Disciples of such a God. We are told by authors who lived in those times that the arena of martyrdom was the forum of Faith, and that the blood and testimony of the Martyrs was the seed of Christians.

For three centuries did these prodigies of the Holy Spirit continue, and then the victory was complete. Jesus was acknowledged as the King and Savior of the world, as the Teacher and Redeemer of mankind; Satan was driven from the kingdom he had usurped; and idolatry was either abolished by the Faith in the one true God, or they, that still kept it up, were looked upon as ignorant and depraved beings. Now, this victory—which was gained, first over the Roman Empire and, since then, over so many other infidel nations—is the work of the Holy Ghost. The miraculous manner of its being accomplished, is one of the chief arguments whereon our faith rests. We have not seen or heard Jesus; and yet we confess him to be our God, because of the evident testimony given of him by the Spirit whom he sent to us. May all creatures, then, give glory, thanks and love to this Holy Paraclete who has thus put us in possession of the salvation brought us by our Emmanuel!


The Station for today is in the Basilica of Saint Peter-ad-Vincula. This Church, which is called also (after the name of the Empress who built it) the Basilica of Eudaxia, possesses the precious relic of the Chains (Vincula) wherewith St. Peter was bound at Jerusalem by order of Herod, and at Rome by order of Nero. The Faithful would be reminded, by their being assembled in this Church, of the fortitude wherewith the Apostles were endowed by the Holy Ghost, on the day of Pentecost. Peter was bound with chains because he labored in the service of his divine Master; he felt it an honor to be thus fettered. He that once trembled at being questioned about Jesus by a woman, now that he has received the gift of the Holy Ghost, rejoices at being loaded with chains for Jesus’ sake. The Prince of this world thought he might enchain the Word of God; but no, this Word is free, even under the shackles forged by a Nero!

The Introit is taken from the Psalms, and is an allusion to the newly baptized neophytes who are present at the Holy Sacrifice, vested in their white garments. After their Baptism, they were fed with the fat of Wheat,—the Bread of Life. They received honey out of the Rock: the Rock is Christ, as St. Paul tells us, and Christ permitted Simon, the son of Jonas, to share with him the honor;—he made him the Rock when he said to him: Thou art Peter! Would we have a proof of Simon’s staunch fidelity to his Master? Look at these Chains! Now, the same Holy Spirit that manned Peter for the combat is now resting on the Neophytes of Pentecost.

Cibavit eos ex adipe frumenti, alleluia; et de petra, melle saturavit eos. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. 
He fed them with the fat of wheat, alleluia; and filled them with honey out of the rock. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Ps. Exsultate Deo adjutori nostro: jubilate Deo Jacob. ℣. Gloria Patri. Cibavit. 
Ps. Rejoice in God, our helper; sing aloud to the God of Jacob. ℣. Glory, &c. He fed them, &c.

In the Collect, holy Church commemorates the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles; and while thanking God for the gift of Faith, which he has bestowed on the newly baptized, she beseeches him to bless them with that Peace which our Risen Jesus gave to his Disciples.

Deus, qui Apostolis tuis Sanctum dedisti Spiritum: concede plebi tuæ piæ petitionis effectum; ut quibus dedisti fidem largiaris et pacem. Per Dominum. 
O God, who didst give the Holy Ghost to thine Apostles, hear the prayers of thy people, that they may enjoy a happy peace, who, by thy grace, have received the gift of faith. Through, &c.

Lesson from the Acts of the Apostles.  Ch. X.

In those days: Peter opening his mouth, said: Brethren, the Lord commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is he who was appointed by God, to be judge of the living and of the dead. To him all the prophets give testimony, that by his name all receive remission of sins, who believe in him. While Peter was yet speaking these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them that heard the word. And the faithful of the circumcision, who came with Peter, were astonished, for that the grace of the Holy Ghost was poured out upon the Gentiles also. For they heard them speaking with tongues, and magnifying God. Then Peter answered: Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, who have received the Holy Ghost, as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Quote:This passage from the Acts of the Apostles, read on such a day as this, and in such a place, is most appropriate. Peter, the Vicar of Christ, is speaking to some Jews, who have been converted to the Christian Faith. Several Gentiles, who are present, are touched with grace on hearing Peter preaching, and they profess themselves believers in Jesus, the Son of God: the moment is come for the Apostle to throw the Church open to the Gentile world. Knowing that the Jewish converts would be tempted to jealousy, he appeals to the Prophets. What say these Prophets? That all, without distinction, who shall believe in Jesus, shall receive forgiveness of their sins in his Name. While Peter is thus arguing with his audience, the Holy Ghost removes every objection by falling, as he did on the day of Pentecost, on these humble and believing Gentiles. As soon as the Jewish converts perceive the miracle, they are astonished, and exclaim: “What! is the grace of the Holy Ghost poured out on the Gentiles also!” Peter replies: “Who dares to refuse Baptism to these men, who have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?”—and without waiting for an answer, he gives the order, as Head of the Church, that Baptism be immediately conferred upon these privileged Catechumens.

We repeat it: nothing could be more appropriate than this passage of Sacred Scripture, read as it was in Rome, the center of the Gentile world—and in the presence of the newly baptized, who had so recently received the gifts of the Holy Ghost. We, also, have our lesson to learn from this Epistle: we must fervently thank our Heavenly Father for his having vouchsafed to call our ancestors to the true Faith, and make us also partakers of the graces of the Holy Ghost.

Alleluia, alleluia. 
Alleluia, alleluia.

℣. Loquebantur variis linguis Apostoli magnalia Dei. 
℣. The Apostles spoke, in diverse tongues, the wondrous works of God.

Here all kneel.


℣. Veni, Sancte Spiritus, reple tuorum corda fidelium: et tui amoris in eis ignem accende. 
℣. Come, O Holy Spirit! fill the hearts of thy faithful, and kindle within them the fire of thy love.

Then follows the Sequence, Veni Sancte Spiritus.

Veni, creator Spiritus,
Mentes tuorum visita,
Imple superna gratia
Gratiæ tu creasti pectora

O come, Creator Spirit, visit our souls; and with thy heavenly grace fill the hearts that were made by thee.

Qui diceris Paraclitus,
Altissimi donum Dei,
Fons vivus, ignis, caritas,
Et spiritalis unctio. 

Thou art called the Paraclete, the Gift of the Most High God, the Living Fountain, Fire, Love, and Spiritual Unction.

Tu septiformis munere,
Digitus Paternæ dexteræ,
Tu rite promissum Patris,
Sermone ditans guttura. 

Thou art sevenfold in thy gifts; the Finger of the Father’s hand; the Father’s solemn Promise, that enrichest men with the gift of tongues.

Accende lumen sensibus,
Infunde amorem cordibus,
Infirma nostri corporis
Virtute firmans perpeti. 

Enkindle thy light in our minds; infuse thy love into our hearts; and strengthen the weakness of our flesh by thine unfailing power.

Hostem repellas longius,
Pacemque dones protinus:
Ductore sic te prævio
Vitemus omne noxium. 

Repel the enemy far from us, and delay not to give us peace; be thou our guide, that we may shun all that could bring us harm.

Per te sciamus da Patrem,
Noscamus atque Filium,
Teque utriusque Spiritum
Credamus omni tempore

Grant that, through thee, we may know the Father and the Son; and that we may evermore confess thee the Spirit of them both.

Deo Patri sit gloria,
Et Filio, qui a mortuis
Surrexit, ac Paraclito
In sæculorum sæcula.

Glory be to God the Father, and to the Son who rose from the dead, and to the Paraclete, for everlasting ages! Amen.

Ant. Spiritus Domini. 
Ant. The Spirit of the Lord.

Sequel of the holy Gospel according to John.  Ch. III.
At that time: Jesus said to Nicodemus: God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting. For God sent not his Son into the world, to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by him. He that believeth in him is not judged. But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the judgment: because the light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light: for their works were evil. For every one that doth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, that his works may not be reproved. But he that doth truth, cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, because they are done in God.

Quote:The Holy Ghost creates Faith within our souls, and by Faith we obtain life everlasting; for Faith is not the Intellect’s assent to a proposition logically demonstrated, but a virtue which proceeds from the Will vivified by grace. Nowadays, Faith is rare. Pride of Intellect is at its height, and docility to the Church’s teachings is far from being general. A man calls himself a Christian and a Catholic, and yet he has his own views upon certain subjects, which he would very reluctantly give up, were they to be condemned by the only authority on earth which has power to guide us in what we are to hold or reject in matters pertaining to Faith. He reads dangerous, sometimes even bad, books, without thinking of inquiring if the laws of the Church forbid such books. His religious instruction has been of a very meager kind, and he seems to wish it to remain so, for he takes no pains to come to a solid and perfect knowledge of his religion; the result is that his mind is filled with the fashionable prejudices of the world he lives in and, on more than one point, he may depend upon his having imbibed heretical nations. He is looked upon as a Catholic; he satisfies the exterior obligations of his Religion, either because of his early training, or because the rest of his family do so, or because he feels more satisfied to do than to omit them: and yet—how sad it is to say it!—he is not a Catholic, for his Faith is gone.

Faith is the first link that unites us to God; for as the Apostle says, he that cometh to God, must believe. Our Savior here tells us that he who believeth is not judged: and the reason is that he whose Faith is what our Gospel implies it to be, does not only assent to a doctrine, but he embraces it with his whole heart and mind; he believes it because he wishes to love what he believes. Faith works, and is perfected by Charity; but itself is a foretaste of Charity. Therefore does our Lord promise salvation to him that believeth. This Faith meets with obstacles, because of our fallen nature. As we have just been told, Light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the Light. In this our age, darkness is prevalent. Even false lights are seen to rise up, and they mislead thousands. We repeat it: Faith—that Faith which brings us to God and saves us from his judgments—is now rare. O Divine Spirit! deliver us from the darkness of the times in which our lot has been cast. Humble the pride of our minds. Save us from that false Religious Liberty, which is one of the idols of our generation, but which keeps men from the true Faith. We wish to love and possess and keep within us the glorious Light: we wish to merit, by the docility and child-like simplicity of our Faith, to enjoy the full cloudless vision of this divine Light in heaven.

The Offertory is taken from one of the sublimest of the Psalms. It speaks of the tempest, which heralded the coming of the Holy Spirit; and of the fountains of the living waters of Baptism, which sprang up and covered the earth with spiritual verdure.

Intonuit de c&aoelig;lo Dominus, et Altissimus dedit vocem suam: et apparuerunt fontes aquarum, alleluia. 
The Lord thundered from heaven, and the Highest gave his voice: then the fountains of waters appeared, alleluia.

In the Secret, the Church prays that, by the operation of the Holy Spirit, our hearts and the sacred elements on the Altar may be an offering well pleasing to God.

Propitius, Domine quæsumus, hæc dona sanctifica: et hostiæ spiritalis oblatione suscepta, nosmetipsos tibi perfice munus æternum. Per Dominum. 
Mercifully sanctify, we beseech thee, O Lord, these offerings; and having accepted the oblation of our spiritual victim, make us also an offering pleasing to thee. Through, &c.

The Preface is the same at Whit Sunday.

The Communion-Anthem is formed of the words spoken by Jesus to his Disciples, wherein he explains to them the ministry which the Holy Ghost is come to fulfill:—he will provide for the teaching of the truths which Jesus has revealed.

Spiritus Sanctus docebit vos, alleluia: quæcumque dixero vobis. Alleluia, alleluia. 
The Holy Ghost shall teach you, alleluia, whatever I shall say to you. Alleluia, alleluia.

In the Postcommunion, the Church prays for us all, but in a special manner for her dear Neophytes. They have just been receiving the sacred mysteries; but their virtue and constancy will soon be put to the test: Satan, the world and persecution, await them. The holy Mother asks of God that he would have pity on these tender plants, and shelter them under the cover of his fostering care.

Adesto, quæsumus Domine, populo tuo: et quem mysteriis cœlestibus imbuisti, ab hostium furore defende. Per Dominum. 
Help, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy people, and defend from the fury of their enemies those whom thou hast fed with thy sacred mysteries. Through, &c.

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The Armenian Church gives us, for the Monday within the Octave, the following beautiful Hymn, wherein is celebrated the Mission of the Holy Ghost.

(Canon secundæ diei.)

Idem ac similis Patri et Filio, Spiritus tu non facte, et co-existens, procedens a Patre inscrutabiliter, accipiens a Filio inenarrabiliter, in Cœnaculum hodie descendisti, spiritu gratiæ tuæ potasti: pota nos quoque per misericordiam calice sapientiæ. 
O Uncreated Spirit! one and the same and co-existing with the Father and Son; who proceedest inscrutably from the Father, and receivest of the Son ineffably; thou this day descendedst into the Cenacle, and gavest the Disciples to drink of the spirit of grace. Oh! give us also in thy mercy, to drink of the chalice of wisdom.

Exstantium creator effectorum, qui ferebaris super aquas, pariter in aquis lavacri concessi nobis a tibi co-existente, blandiris amore columbæ instar, homines generas Deiformes: pota nos quoque per misericordiam calice sapientiæ. 
O Creator of all things, who movedst over the waters! thou, in the form of a Dove, lovingly broodest over the water of the Font given to us by Him who is God together with thee; and thus thou givest birth to a race of godlike men. Oh! give us also, in thy mercy, to drink of the chalice of wisdom.

Magister supernorum intellectualium, ac imorum horum sensibilium; qui Prophetas das de pastoribus, et Apostolos de piscatoribus, Evangelistas publicanos, prædicatores verbitui persecutores: pota nos quoque per misericordiam calice sapientiæ. 
O Master of the heavenly Spirits, and of us men who live on earth; who turnest shepherds into Prophets, and fishermen into Apostles, and publicans into Evangelists, and persecutors into Preachers of thy word; oh! give us also, in thy mercy, to drink of the chalice of wisdom.

Formidabilis venti instar, horrisono vehementi sonitu, apparuisti in Cœnaculo, Spiritus tu, choro duodecim, qui a te baptizati, velut aurum igne purgati sunt, expurga a nobis caliginem peccati, et indue nos lumine gloriæ. 
O Divine Spirit, who, as a mighty wind, whose rushing sound fills men with fear, appearedst in the Cenacle to the choir of the twelve Apostles, baptizing them with fire, as gold is cleansed of its dross;—oh! drive from us the darkness of sin, and clothe us with the light of glory.

Amor ex amore te amorem misit, sibi membra sua junxit, Ecclesiam suam quam ædificavit, septem columnis tuis firmavit, œconomisi in ea posuit Apostolos septem charismatibus tuis exornatos: expurga a nobis caliginem peccati, et indue nos lumine gloriæ. 
He that is Love, out of love for man, sent thee that art Love; by thee, he united his members (that is, his Church) to himself; he, by thee, built this Church, and set it upon seven pillars, and entrusted her to the stewardship of the Apostles, who were adorned with thy seven gifts;—oh! drive from us the darkness of sin, and clothe us with the light of glory.

The following Sequence was composed in the 11th Century, by the pious and learned Hildebert, Bishop of Le Mans, and afterwards, Archbishop of Tours. It will show us what an enlightened appreciation of the mystery of the Holy Ghost was possessed by the Christians of the Ages of Faith, and how fervently they celebrated it.


Spiritus sancte,
Pie Paraclite, O Holy Spirit! merciful Paraclete!
Amor Patris et Filii,
Nexus Gignentis et Geniti. 

Love of the Father and Son! Link of the Begetting and Begotten!

Utriusque bonitas et charitas,
Et amborum essentiæ puritas;
Benignitas, suavitas,

Their Goodness and Charity; the Purity of their essence; Benignity, Sweetness, Joy!

Vinculum nectens
Deum homini,
Virtus adunans
Hominem Numini. 

The bond that joinest God to man; the Power that unitest man to God!

Tibi soli digno coli
Cum Patre Filioque
Jugis cultus,
Honor multus
Sit semper
Procedenti ab utroque. 

To thee, who, with the Father and the Son, art alone worthy of adoration; to thee that proceedest from both, be worship and honor forever!

Tu mitis et hilaris,
Amabilis, laudabilis,
Vanitatis mundator,
Muntitiæ amator. 

Thou art gentle and joyous, worthy of love and praise. Thou cleansest the soul from vanity. Thou art the lover of purity.

Vox suavis exsulum
Melodia civium

Thou art music to them who mourn in exile; thou art the melody of them that are in joy.

Istis solamen,
Ne desperent de te,
Istis juvamen,
Ut suspirent ad te. 

To the first, thou art a Comforter, lest they should despair of thy help; to the second, a Helper, that they may long to behold thee.

Consolator piorum,
Inspirator bonorum,
Consiliator mœstorum, 

The Consoler of the pious, the Inspirer of the good, the Counsellor of the afflicted!

Purificator errorum,
Eruditor ignotorum,
Declarator perplexorum, 

The Remover of errors, the Teacher of the ignorant, the Solver of doubts!

Debilem erigens,
Devium colligens,
Errantem corrigens,
Sustines labantem,
Promoves conantem,
Perficis amantem. 

Thou supportest the weak, guidest the wanderer, bringest back him that is astray, holdest him that is falling, encouragest him that strives, perfectest him that loves.

Perfectum educis
De lacu fecis,
Et miseriæ

’Twas thou that broughtest from the pit of dregs and misery him that now is perfect.

Deducis per semitam
Pacis et lætitiæ:
Inducis sub nube
In aulam sapientiæ. 

’Tis thou that leadest him through the path of peace and joy, and admittest him, under the cloud (of faith), into the sanctuary of wisdom.

Fundamentum sanctitatis,
Alimentum castitatis,
Ornamentum lenitatis,
Lenimentum paupertatis,
Supplementum largitatis,
Munimentum probitatis. 

Thou art the Foundation of sanctity, the Nourishment of chastity, the Beauty of meekness, the Solace of poverty, the Treasury of munificence, the Bulwark of honesty.

Miserorum refugium,
Captivorum suffragium.

Thou art the Refuge of the miserable, and the Deliverer of captives;

Illis aptissimus,
Istis promptissimus. 

To the first, most seasonable; to the second, most prompt.

Spiritus veritatis,
Nodus fraternitatis,
Ab eodem missus
A quo et promissus. 

Thou art the Spirit of truth, and the bond of brotherly love. He that sent thee, is the same that gave us the promise.

Tu crederis
Omnium judex,
Qui crederis
Omnium opifex. 

We believe thee to be the Judge of all men, as we believe thee to be their Creator.

Honestans bene meritos
Onustans immeritos

Thou givest reward to them that merit it; thou inflictest chastisement on them that have no merit.

Spiras ubi vis
Et quando vis;
Doces quos vis
Et quantum vis. 

Thou breathest where and when thou wilt; thou teachest whom thou wilt, and as much as thou wilt.

Imples et instruis
Certos in dubiis
Firmas in subitis,
Regis in licitis. 

Thou givest light and knowledge to thy faithful servants when in doubt; thou strengthenest them when taken unawares; thou guidest them when doing what is right.

Tu ordo decorans
Decor ordinans et ornans
Dicta, facta, cogitata,
Dicta veritate,
Facta honestate,
Cogitata puritate. 

Thou art Order, that beautifiest all things; thou art Beauty, that ordainest all things,—said, done, or thought; giving truth to what is said, honesty to what is done, purity to what is thought.

Donum bonum,
Bonum perfectum,
Dans et affectum. 

Thou art the good and perfect Gift, giving both understanding and love.

Dirigens rectum,
Formans affectum.
Firmans provectum,
Et ad portas Paradisi
Coronans dilectum.

Thou guidest man to truth, thou formest his love. Thou confirmest him in good, and, having made him deserving of thy love, thou crownest him at heaven’s gate. Amen.

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The Gift of Godliness

The gift of the Fear of God is intended as a cure for our pride; the gift of Godliness is infused into our souls by the Holy Ghost, in order that we may resist self-love, which is one of the passions of our fallen nature, and the second hindrance to our union with God. The heart of a christian is not made to be either cold or indifferent; it must be affectionate and devoted; otherwise, it never can attain the perfection for which God, who is Love, has graciously created it.

The Holy Ghost, therefore, puts the Gift of Godliness into the soul by inspiring it with a filial affection for her Creator. You have received, says the Apostle, the Spirit of adoption of Sons, whereby we cry to our God, Abba! Father! This disposition makes the soul alive to whatsoever regards God’s honor. It enables man to nourish within him a sorrow for his sins, in consideration of the divine mercy which has borne with and forgiven him, and of the Sufferings and Death of his Redeemer. It makes him thirst for God’s glory to be ever spreading; he would, if he could, bring all his fellow creatures to adore this God; he feels most keenly every insult that is offered to so dear a King. His greatest joy is to see others growing in their love and devotedness in the service of the sovereign Good. He is filled with filial submission to his Heavenly Father, whose every will he is most ready to do, cheerfully resigned to whatsoever he may appoint.

His Faith is unhesitating and fervent. Affectionately docile to the Church, he is always in the disposition of mind to abandon his most cherished ideas the moment he discovers them to be, in any way, out of harmony with her teaching or practice, for he has an instinctive horror of novelties and insubordination.

This devotedness to God, which results from the gift of Godliness and unites the soul to her Creator by filial love, makes her love all God’s creatures, inasmuch as they are the work of his hands and belong to him.

The Blessed in heaven hold the first place in the fraternal affection of such a Christian. He has a most tender love for the holy Mother of God, and is zealous for her honor; he venerates the Saints; he is a warm admirer of the courage of the Martyrs, and of the heroic actions of the servants of God; he delights in reading of their miracles, and has a devotion to their sacred Relics.

But his love is not limited to the citizens of heaven; it is extended also to his fellow creatures here on earth, for the gift of Godliness makes him find Jesus in them. He is kind to everyone without exception. He forgives injuries, bears with the imperfections of others, and where an excuse is possible for his neighbor, he makes it. He has compassion on the poor, and it attentive to the sick. His whole conduct is the index of a sterling warmheartedness that weeps with them that weep, and rejoices with them that rejoice.

All this is found in those who use thy gift of Godliness, O Holy Spirit! By infusing it into our souls, thou enablest us to withstand the workings of our self-love, which would corrupt the heart; thou preservest us from that odious indifference to everyone around us, which dries up all feeling; thou drivest from us the sentiments of jealousy and hatred. Yes, Godliness inspired us with a filial love for our Creator, that softened the heart; and every creature of God became dear to us. O Blessed Paraclete! grant that this Gift may produce its rich fruits in us! Never permit us to stifle it by the love of self. Our Jesus has told us that his heavenly Father maketh his sun to rise upon the good and bad: he would have us take this divine generosity as our model: do thou, therefore, foster within us that germ of devotedness, kindness and sympathy, which we received from thee on the day of our Baptism, when thou first tookest possession of our souls!
Tuesday in Whitsun
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Guéranger  (1841-1875)

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Veni, sancte Spiritus, reple tuorum corda fidelium, et tui amoris in eis ignem accende. 
Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of thy faithful, and enkindle within them the fire of thy love.

Yesterday, we were admiring the work of the Holy Ghost, whereby he drew mankind to the faith and name of Jesus, to whom all power was given in heaven and in earth. The instruments used for this conquest were the Apostles and their immediate successors. The Tongue of Fire was victorious, and the Prince of this world was defeated. Let us continue our reflections, and see the further workings of the Holy Spirit for the glory of the Son of God, who had sent him into the world.

Our Emmanuel came down from heaven, that he might effect the union he had desired from all eternity. He began it by uniting our human nature to his own divine Person; but this personal union did not satisfy his love. He mercifully deigned to invite the whole human race to a spiritual union with himself by giving her to become his Church his own dearest One, as he calls her;—his glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, but holy and without blemish. But how could mankind, deformed as it was by sin, be worthy of such an honor? His love would make it worthy. He tells us that this Church is his Spouse; and thus chosen, he beautified her in the laver of his own precious Blood, and gave her, in dowry, the infinite merits he had acquired.

Thus prepared, her union with him was to be of the closet. Jesus and his Church are one body; He is the Head, she is the aggregate of the Members united together under this one Head. Such is the teaching of the Apostle: Christ is the Head of the Church:—we are Members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. This Body is to be formed of all who shall, in each successive age, be faithful to the call of divine grace, and enroll themselves as children of the Church. The world we inhabit is to be preserved, till the last elect, required to complete the mystic body of Jesus, be added to the Church Triumphant:—then all will be consummated; the divine Mystery of the Incarnation will have achieved its whole work.

But as in the Incarnate Word there was the invisible Soul and the visible Body, so also the Church was to have a Soul and a Body: a Soul, whose hidden beauty no eye but God’s can fully see, at least during her earthly sojourn; and a Body, which is to be visible to men,—an ever-living proof of God’s power, and of his love for the human race. Up to the Day of Pentecost, the just, who had been united under Jesus, their Head, had belonged only to the soul of the Church, for the body was not then in existence. The heavenly Father had adopted them as his children; the Son of God had accepted them as his members; and the Holy Ghost (who is now about to work exteriorly) had interiorly wrought their election and sanctification. The new order of things is to begin in Mary’s person. As we have already explained, the Church in its entirety, that is both soul and body, resided first in Her. It was but fitting that she who was as truly the Mother of the Son of God, according to his Human Nature, as the heavenly Father was his Father according to the Divine Nature, should be superior to all other members of the Church, and this not only in the high degree of grace, but also in the precedence of time.

When our Savior gave his Church an existence outside the loved sanctuary of his Mother’s Heart, he, with his own hands, set the Foundation Stone (—Peter, the Rock,—); he raised up the Pillars, and we have seen how he spent the forty days before his Ascension, in organizing this Church, which was then so small, but which was afterwards to cover the whole earth. He told his Apostles that he would be with them all days even to the consummation of the world; it was the same as telling them that, even after his Ascension into heaven, his Church was to continue on earth, even to the end of time.

He left the plan, thus begun by himself, to be perfected by the Holy Ghost. It was necessary that this Holy Spirit should come down from heaven, in order to strengthen those whom Jesus had chosen as his Apostles. He was to be their Paraclete; their Comforter, in the absence of their Master; he was to be the Power from on high, who was to serve them as armor in their future combats; he was to remind them of all the words spoken to them by Christ; he was to give fruitfulness, by his own action, to the Sacraments, which Jesus had instituted, and over which the Apostles had power, because of the character impressed upon them by this Holy Spirit. It is on this account that Jesus said to his Apostles: It is expedient to you that I go; for if I go not, the Paraclete will not come to you. We have seen this Divine Spirit, on the Day of Pentecost, producing his effects on the Apostles and Disciples; let us now see his action in the creation, maintenance, and perfecting of this Church, which Jesus has promised to assist, by his mysterious presence, even to the consummation of the world;

The first operation of the Holy Ghost in the Church is the election of its members. This right of election is so especially his prerogative, that, as we learn from the Scriptures, it was by the Holy Ghost that Jesus chose the Apostles, who were to be the pillars of his Church. We have seen how this Holy Spirit began his Mission on the Day of Pentecost, by the election of three thousand Jews. A few days after, five thousand were added to the number, being converted by the preaching of Peter and John. The Gentiles, also, were called to the Church; and the Holy Ghost, having led Peter to Cornelius the Centurion, descends upon this Roman and his household, thus declaring them to be elected as candidates for holy Baptism. The Liturgy put this history before us in the Mass of yesterday.

We seem able to keep pace with these first workings of the Holy Spirit; but the sequel is all impetuosity—divine rapidity of action—irresistible conquest. He sends forth his Messengers;—their sound goeth forth into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. He goes before them; he goes with them; he works the victory while they speak. We come to the commencement of the 3rd Century, and we find a Christian writer addressing the Magistrates of the Roman Empire in these words: “We are but of yesterday, and we abound everywhere—in your cities, in your towns, in your camps; in the palace, the senate, the forum.” Nothing can withstand the Spirit of God: and in less than three hundred years from the Day of his first manifestation, he calls the very Emperors of Rome to be members of the Church.

Thus does the Spouse of Jesus advance in her beauty and strength; he looks upon her from his throne in heaven, and tenderly loves her. In the early part of the 4th Century, the Church—the work of the Holy Ghost—exceeds the limits of the Roman Empire. Here and there, within this vast Empire, there are places where paganism is still rife; but they all know what the Church is, and the very hatred they bear her is a proof that they are aware of her progress.

But let us not suppose that the Mission of the Holy Ghost is limited to the founding the Church on the ruins of the great Pagan Empire. No: the Spouse of Jesus is to be immortal; she is to exist in every place and age; she is to be superior, both by the extent of her dominions and the number of her subjects, to every other human power.

The Divine Spirit could not, therefore, suspend his Mission. The Roman Empire has merited, by her crimes, to be swept away by the inundation of barbarous nations:—it is the preparation of a new triumph for the Spirit. He comes and works, invisibly and silently, amidst this huge mass: he has his elect there, and by millions. He has renewed the face of the pagan world; he renews the face of the world, now that the Barbarians rule it. He chooses his cooperators, and right faithful are they. He creates new Apostles, and he selects them from all classes, for he is Master to do as he wills. Queens such as Clotilda, Bertha, Theodelind, or Hedwiges, are ready to do his biddings; they deck the Spouse of Jesus with their royal hands, and she comes forth to the world once more, younger and lovelier than ever.

There are, indeed, immense tracts of country in Europe not yet in the Church; it was necessary first to give stability to the work in those that had previously been Christian, and had been well-nigh submerged beneath the deluge of the invasion. But at the close of the 6th Century, the Holy spirit visits Britain, Germany, Scandinavia and Sclavonia; he sends them Apostles such as Augustine, Boniface, Ancharius, Adalbert, Cyril, Methodius, Otho. By the labors of Missioners like these, the Spouse is compensated for the losses she has sustained in the East, where schism and heresy have encroached upon her primitive inheritance. That Holy Spirit, who is God together with the Father and the Son, and has been sent by Them to defend the honor of the Spouse, is ever faithful to his trust.

Thus, when the so-called Reformation was preparing, for Europe, the great apostasy of the 16th Century, the Paraclete was extending the glories of the Church in other Continents. The East Indies became the conquest of the Most Faithful Nation; and in the West, a New World was discovered by and made subject to the Catholic Kingdom. The Divine Spirit, who is ever jealous to maintain the honor and entirety of the deposit entrusted to him by the Incarnate Word, then raised up new Apostles to go and carry the Name of Jesus to these immense tracts of country, which were to be added to the kingdom of his Spouse. St. Francis Xavier was sent to the East Indies; his brethren, together with the Sons of St. Dominick and St. Francis of Assisi, labored most perseveringly in preaching the Gospel to the people of the West Indies.

If, later on again, our Europe be misled by false theories and break with the Church; if this beloved Spouse of Jesus be betrayed and pillaged, calumniated and deprived of her rights by those very Nations which she had protected for so many ages, as the most loving of Mothers;—fear not; the Holy Ghost will add to her glories in some other way. Look at his present workings in the Church. Whence, if not from him, are those ever increasing vocations to the apostolic ministry? Moreover, while conversions from heresy are more numerous than at any previous period, there is not an infidel country where the Gospel is not being preached. Our century has had its Martyrs for the Faith; it has heard the authorities of China and Cochin China, like the Proconsuls of old, putting the Christians through an examination; it has heard the sublime answers, suggested by the Holy Ghost to these brave Confessors, as Christ had promised. The farthest East produces its elect; the negroes of Africa are evangelized; and if a fifth part of the World has been made known, it already counts its Faithful by thousands, flourishing under a hierarchy of lawfully appointed Pastors.

Be thou blessed, then, O Holy Spirit! who thus watchest over the dear Spouse of Jesus! Thanks to thy ceaseless and untiring action, she has never once failed. In every age, thou hast raised up Apostles to enrich her by their conquests; thy grace has been uninterruptedly inviting men to give themselves to her; in every nation and period, thou thyself hast chosen the members of her happy and countless family. She is our Mother and we are her Children; she is the Spouse of our divine Master, to whom we hope to be united through her; so that, by working for the glory of the Son of God, who sent thee, O Holy Spirit! thou hast deigned to work for us poor sinful creatures. We offer thee our feeble tribute of thanks for all these thy benefits to us.

Our Emmanuel has revealed to us that thou art to abide with us to the end of the world; and we now understand how necessary is thy presence. It is thou that presidest over the formation of the Spouse; that maintainest her; that renderest her victorious over her enemies; that carriest her from one country to another, when a people becomes unworthy to possess her; that avengest her when she is insulted; and all this thou wilt continue to do to the end of time.

But this noble Spouse of our God is not to remain forever an exile from her Lord. As Mary was left for several years upon the earth, in order that she might labor for the glory of her Son, and was then taken up to heaven, there to reign eternally with him; so likewise the Church is to remain Militant here below as long as God sees her to be needed for completing the number of his Elect. But the time will come, of which it is written: The Marriage of the Lamb is come, and his Wife hath prepared herself. And it is granted to her, that she should clothe herself with fine linen, glittering and white; for the fine linen are the justifications of the Saints, that is, the virtues of the Saints she has formed. In those days, the Spouse, ever comely and worthy of her Jesus, will grow no more, nay, she will decrease on earth in proportion as her Triumphant glory is perfect in heaven. The Revolt, spoken of by St. Paul, will show itself; men will abandon her, side with the Prince of this world, who is to be let loose for a little while, and serve the Beast, to whom it shall be given to make war with the Saints, yea, and to overcome them. The Spouse herself will not be degenerate, during those her last days on earth, for thou, O Holy Spirit! wilt still be with her, supporting her. But as soon as the last of the Elect shall have been born, the Spirit and the Bride will say “Come!” Then will Jesus appear upon the clouds of heaven; the Mission of the Spirit will be accomplished; and the Spouse, leaning upon her Beloved, will ascend from this ungrateful barren earth to heaven, where the eternal Nuptials with the Lamb await her.


The Station for today is in the Church of Saint Anastasia, where we assisted at the Mass of the Aurora on the Birthday of our Emmanuel. We revisit it, now that we have celebrated all the grand Mysteries of our Redemption. Let us bless our God for his having so magnificently completed what he began so humbly and so sweetly. The Neophytes, clothed in their white garments, are present, bearing testimony both to the love of the Son of God who has cleansed them by his Blood, and to the power from the Holy Ghost who has rescued them from the tyranny of Satan, the Prince of this world.

The Introit is addressed to the Neophytes, inviting them to appreciate the glory they have received and to give thanks to the God who has called them to a heavenly kingdom. The words of this Introit, which has been used almost from the very commencement of the Church, are taken from the 4th Book of Esdras, which, although not received by the Church as part of the Sacred Scriptures, was frequently read by the early Christians on account of the admirable instructions it contains.

(IV. Esdr. ii, xxxvi-xxxvii)
Accipite jucunditatem gloriæ vestræ, alleluia: gratias agentes Deo, alleluia: qui vos ad cœlestia regna vocavit. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. 
Receive your glory with joy, alleluia: giving thanks to God, alleluia: who hath called you to a heavenly kingdom. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Ps. Attendite, popule meus, legem meam: inclinate aurem vestram in verba oris mei. ℣. Gloria Patri. Accipite. 
Ps. Attend, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. ℣. Glory, &c. Receive, &c.

In the Collect, the Church teaches us that the action of the Holy Ghost in our souls is one of mercy and power combines. This divine action purifies our souls from all their stains, and defends them from the attacks of the crafty and jealous enemy, who is ever lying in wait for us.

Adsit nobis, quæsumus Domine, virtus Spiritus Sancti, quæ et corda nostra clementer expurget, et ab omnibus tueatur adversis. Per Dominum. 
Assist us, O Lord, we beseech thee, with the power of thy Holy Spirit, that our hearts may be purified, according to thy mercy, and be defended from all adversities. Through, &c.

Lesson from the Acts of the Apostles. Ch. VIII.

In those days: When the apostles, who were in Jerusalem, had heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John. Who, when they were come, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost. For he was not as yet come upon any of them; but they were only baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands upon them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

Quote:The inhabitants of Samaria had received the word of God through the preaching of Philip the Deacon. They had received, at his hands, the Sacrament of Baptism, which made them Christians. This reminds us of the dialogue between Jesus and the woman at Jacob’s well, and of the three days that he spent in the city. Their faith is rewarded. Baptism has made them children of God and members of Christ their Redeemer. But they must also receive the Holy Ghost, in the Sacrament that gives perfection to the Christian character. The Deacon Philip has not power to confer it upon them: Peter and John, who are invested with Episcopal authority, visit them and complete their happiness. This event makes us think of the grace bestowed on us by the Holy Ghost, when he strengthened our souls by the Sacrament of Confirmation. Let us thank him for this favor, which brought us into closer union with himself, and gave us the courage needed for confessing our Faith before heretics or tyrants.

Alleluia, alleluia. 
Alleluia, alleluia.

℣. Spiritus Sanctus docebit vos quæcumque dixero vobis. 
℣. The Holy Ghost will teach you all things whatsoever I have said to you.

Here all kneel.


℣. Veni, Sancte Spiritus, reple tuorum cordis fidelium, et tui amoris in eis ignem accende. 
℣. Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of thy faithful, and kindle within them the fire of thy love.

Then follows the Sequence, Veni Sancte Spiritus.

Veni, creator Spiritus,
Mentes tuorum visita,
Imple superna gratia
Gratiæ tu creasti pectora. 

O come, Creator Spirit, visit our souls; and with thy heavenly grace fill the hearts that were made by thee.

Qui diceris Paraclitus,
Altissimi donum Dei,
Fons vivus, ignis, caritas,
Et spiritalis unctio. 

Thou art called the Paraclete, the Gift of the Most High God, the Living Fountain, Fire, Love, and Spiritual Unction.

Tu septiformis munere,
Digitus Paternæ dexteræ,
Tu rite promissum Patris,
Sermone ditans guttura. 

Thou art sevenfold in thy gifts; the Finger of the Father’s hand; the Father’s solemn Promise, that enrichest men with the gift of tongues.

Accende lumen sensibus,
Infunde amorem cordibus,
Infirma nostri corporis
Virtute firmans perpeti. 

Enkindle thy light in our minds; infuse thy love into our hearts; and strengthen the weakness of our flesh by thine unfailing power.

Hostem repellas longius,
Pacemque dones protinus:
Ductore sic te prævio
Vitemus omne noxium. 

Repel the enemy far from us, and delay not to give us peace; be thou our guide, that we may shun all that could bring us harm.

Per te sciamus da Patrem,
Noscamus atque Filium,
Teque utriusque Spiritum
Credamus omni tempore. 

Grant that, through thee, we may know the Father and the Son; and that we may evermore confess thee the Spirit of them both.

Deo Patri sit gloria,
Et Filio, qui a mortuis
Surrexit, ac Paraclito
In sæculorum sæcula.

Glory be to God the Father, and to the Son who rose from the dead, and to the Paraclete, for everlasting ages! Amen.

Ant. Spiritus Domini. 
Ant. The Spirit of the Lord.

Sequel of the holy Gospel according to John. Ch. X.

At that time: Jesus said to the Pharisees: Amen, amen I say to you: He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up another way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he hath let out his own sheep, he goeth before them: and the sheep follow him, because they know his voice. But a stranger they follow not, but fly from him, because they know not the voice of strangers. This proverb Jesus spoke to them. But they understood not what he spoke to them. Jesus therefore said to them again: Amen, amen I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All others, as many as have come, are thieves and robbers: and the sheep heard them not. I am the door. By me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved: and he shall go in, and go out, and shall find pastures. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly.

Quote:The Church’s motive for putting this passage of the Gospel before the Neophytes of Pentecost was to put them on their guard against a danger which might probably occur in after years. At present, they are the favored Sheep of the Good Shepherd Jesus, represented by men to whom he himself has given the charge to feed his Lambs. These men have received their mission from Peter; and he who is with Peter, is with Jesus. But it has not unfrequently happened that false Shepherds have got into the fold; our Savior calls them thieves and robbers. He tells us that he himself is the Door through which they must pass who can claim the right to feed his sheep. Every Shepherd, if he would avoid the imputation of being a robber, must have received his mission from Jesus; and this mission cannot be given save by him whom Jesus has appointed to be his Vicar and Representative, until he himself return.

The Holy Ghost has poured forth his divine gifts upon these new Christians; but the virtues that are in them cannot be meritorious of eternal life unless they continue to be members of the true Church. If instead of following the lawful Pastor, they were to be so unhappy as to go after false Pastors, all these virtues would become barren. They should, therefore, flee, as they would from a stranger, from any guide who has not received his mission from the Master, who alone can lead them to the pastures of Life. During the past centuries, schismatical Pastors have risen up from time to time: the Faithful were bound to shun them: we, who are living now, should take seriously to heart the admonition here given us by our Redeemer. The Church he has founded, and which he guides by his Holy Spirit, is Apostolical. The mission of those Pastors alone is lawful who are sent by Apostolic authority; and whereas Peter lives in his Successors, the Successor of Peter is the source whence alone can come pastoral power. He who is with Peter, is with Christ.

In the Offertory, the Church excites our devotion to the Holy Sacrifice at which we are assisting, by speaking to us, in the words of the Psalmist, the praises of the sacred nourishment which is to be given to us: it is a manna from heaven, it is the very Bread of the Angels.

Portas cœli aperuit Dominus, et pluit illis manna, ut ederent: panem cœli dedit eis, panem Angelorum manducavit homo, alleluia. 
The Lord opened for them the gates of heaven, and rained down manna for them to eat: he gave them the bread of heaven; men eat the bread of angels, alleluia.

The Victim that is about to be offered has the power to purify, by his immolation, those who are to feed upon his Sacred Flesh. The Church prays in the Secret that it may be thus with them that are assisting at this Holy Sacrifice.

Purificet nos, quæsumus Domine, muneris præsentis oblatio: et dignos sacra participatione efficiat. Per Dominum. 
May the oblation of this sacrifice purify us, O Lord, we beseech thee, and make us worthy to partake thereof. Through, &c.

The Preface is the same at Whit Sunday.

In the Communion-Anthem, the Church puts before us the words wherein Jesus told his Disciples that the Holy Ghost would glorify him. We, who have seen the workings of this Holy Spirit throughout the whole earth, can testify to the most perfect fulfillment of the prophecy.

Spiritus, qui a Patre procedit, alleluia: ille me clarificabit. Alleluia, alleluia. 
The Spirit who proceedeth from the Father, alleluia, shall glorify me. Alleluia, alleluia.

The faithful people has partaken of the Sacred Mysteries; and the Church comes immediately after, telling them that the Holy Ghost has actively cooperated in what has taken place. It is he that achieved the change of the Bread and Wine into the Body and Blood of our Redeemer; it is he also that prepared our souls for their union with the Son of God, by purifying them from their sins.

Mentes nostras, quæsumus Domine, Spiritus Sanctus divinis reparet sacramentis, quia ipse est remissio omnium peccatorum. Per Dominum. 
Grant, we beseech thee, O Lord, that the Holy Ghost may renew our souls by these divine mysteries, since he is the remission of sin. Through, &c.

Again let us give ear to the Armenian Church celebrating the coming of the Holy Ghost, and that with all the dignity of sentiment and diction which characterizes its Hymnarium.

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(Canon tertiæ diei.)

Hodie cœlestes lætati sunt de terrestrium renovatione: namque innovator existentium Spiritus descendit ad sacrum cœnaculum, quo renovati sunt chori apostolorum. 
Today, the heavenly hosts rejoiced at the earth’s being renewed; for the Spirit, the Renewer of all things, descended into the sacred Cenacle, and the Apostolic choir was renewed.

Hodie humea natura nostra exsultat reconciliatione cum Patre; quia qui abstulit spiritum ab hominibus caro effectis, iterum donat. 
Today, our lowly nature rejoices at her reconciliation with the Father; for he that took away his Spirit from men when they became carnal, now restores it to them.

Hodie pueri Ecclesiæ celebrant in exsultatione adventum Sancti Spiritus, per quem exornati sunt vestibus pellucidis et clarissimis, cantantes cum Seraphim trisagium. 
Today, the children of the Church celebrate in gladness the coming of the Holy Ghost, by whom they were clothed in garments of exquisite beauty and richness: and uniting their voices with the Seraphim, they sing and Holy, Holy, Holy!

Qui unitos turris, divisione linguarum sejunxit, hodie divisas linguas nationum univit rursum in sacro cœnaculo; omnes Spiritus, benedicite Spiritum Dei. 
Today, he that scattered the people of the Tower, by the division of tongues, again united the divided tongues of nations, in the sacred Cenacle. O all ye spirits, bless the Spirits of God!

Qui descendit, Spiritus Domini, et ductor fuit duodecim tribuum Israel in deserto, hodie duodecim Apostolos perducit ad Evangelium; omnes Spiritus, benedicite Spiritum Dei. 
Today, the Spirit of the Lord, who came down and led the twelve tribes of Israel through the Desert, led the twelve Apostles to the Gospel. O all ye spirits, bless the Spirit of God!

Qui implevit, Spiritus Domini, Beseleel architectorem tabernaculi, hodie efficit homines tabernaculum sanctæ Trinitati; omnes Spiritus, benedicite Spiritum Dei
Today, the Spirit of the Lord, who filled Beseleel with wisdom as architect of the Tabernacle, made men become the tabernacle of the Holy Trinity. O all ye spirits, bless the Spirit of God!

The beautiful Sequence we select for this day is taken from the ancient Missals of Liége.

Amor Patris et Filii,
Very splendor auxilii,
Totius spes solatii. 

O Love of the Father and Son! thou art our true and brightest aid, in whom alone we hope for solace.

O indeficiens piorum lux,
Et præmium justorum:
Sublevator perditorum. 

O never-failing Light of the good! the Reward of the just, the Resuscitator of sinners!

Omnis fortitudinis.
Ac omnis sanctitudinis
Ac beatudinis
Omnis rectitudinis amator

Giver of all strength, and holiness, and blessing! Lover of all righteousness!

Omnipotens, propitius;
Omnipotens, innoxius. 

Almighty, and so bounteous! All-governing, and so merciful!

Justius, carius
Sanctius, fortius,
Quo nihil est potentius,
Quo nihil est vel melius. 

Infinitely just, and dear, and glorious, and holy, and strong, and spiritual! No, nothing is so mighty, nothing so good!

Illuminator cordium,
Per quem ad Patrem omnium
Venitur, et ad Filium. 

Thou Enlightener of hearts! by whom we come to the Father of all, and to the Son.

Fons ingenii,
Dator gaudii:
Medicina vitii,
Spiritus consilii. 

Fount of knowledge; Giver of joy; Remedy for Sin; Spirit of counsel!

Humilis, ducilis,
Et invariabilis;
Habilis, nobilis,
Et insuperabilis
Promptus et amabilis. 

Humble, docile, and unchangeable; prudent, noble, and invincible; prompt and endearing!

Donum electum,
Dans intellectum,
Dans et affectum,
Diligens rectum. 

Choicest of Gifts! ’tis thou that givest us understanding and love, and that lovest what is right.

Patris ac Nati Spiritus,
Vivificans Paraclitus:
Divinæ dextræ digitus. 

Thou art the Spirit of the Father and Son; the Life-gving Paraclete; the Finger of God’s right hand!

Sublimitas, jucunditas,
Pietas et bonitas,
Benignitas et largitas: 

He is Grandeur and Joy, Mercy and Goodness, Benignity and Munificence:

Qui prout vult,
Quando vult,
Et ubi vult,
Quousque vult,
Et quantum vult,
Spirat et erudit,
Replet et erigit.
Ditat et instruit. 

Who, as he wills, and when he wills, and where he wills, and as long as he wills, and as much as he wills,—inspires and teaches, fills and exalts, enriches and guides.

Spiritus scientiæ,
Ad consolandum hodie
Apostolis donatur:
Et eis plenarie,
Fons veræ sapientiæ
Per hunc administrator. Amen.

He, the Spirit of knowledge, is given to the Apostles, on this day, that he may console them. By him is opened to them, in all its fulness, the fount of true wisdom. Amen.

The Gift of Knowledge

Detached from evil by the fear of the Lord, and ennobled with holy love by the gift of Godliness—the soul feels the want ot knowing how she is to avoid what she is to fear, an dhow to find what she must love. The Holy Ghost comes to her assistance and brings her what she needs, by infusing into her the Gift of Knowledge. By means of this precious gift, truth is made evident to her; she knows what God asks of her and what he condemns, she knows what to seek and what to shun. Without this holy Knowledge, we are in danger of going astray, because of the frequent darkness which, more or less, clouds our understanding. This darkness arises, in the first place, from our own nature, that bears upon itself the but too visible proofs of the Fall. It is added to by the false maxims and judgments of the World, which so often warp even those whose upright minds seemed to make them safe. And lastly, the action of Satan, who is the Prince of darkness, has this for one of its chief aims—to obscure our mind, or to mislead it by false lights.

The Light of our soul is Faith, which was infused into us at our Baptism. By the Gift of Knowledge, the Holy Ghost empowers our Faith to elicit rays of light, strong enough to dispel all darkness. Doubts are then cleared up, error is exposed and put to flight, truth became upon us in all its beauty. Everything is viewed in its true light—the light of Faith. We see how false are the principles which sway the world, which ruin so many souls, and of which we ourselves were once perhaps victims.

The gift of Knowledge reveals to us the end which God had in creation, and out of which creatures can never find either happiness or rest. It teaches us what use we are to make of creatures, for they were not given us to be a hindrance, but a help whereby to reach our God. The secret of life thus possessed, we walk on in safety, we halt not, and we are resolved to shun every path which would not lead us to our end.

The Apostle had this Gift in view when speaking to the converts of Ephesus, he said: Ye were heretofore darkness, but now light in the Lord: walk then as Children of the Light. Hence comes that unhesitatingness, that confidence, of the Christian Life. There may be a want of experience now and then; so much so, indeed, that the little world around talks feelingly about the indiscretions and scandals which are almost sure to arise; but they forget that there is the Gift of Knowledge, of which the Sacred Scripture thus speaks: She conducted the just through the right ways, and gave them the Knowledge of holy things, or as some render it, the Science of the Saints. We have daily proofs of this truth: a Christian, by means of supernatural light, is found to escape every danger; he has no experience of his own, but he has the experience of God.

We give thee thanks, O Holy Paraclete! for this thy gift of light, which thou so lovingly maintainest within us! Oh! never permit us to seek any other. It alone is sufficient; without it, there is nought but darkness. Preserve us from those sad inconsistencies, of which so many are guilty, who follow thy guidance today, and the maxims of the world tomorrow;—wretched double dealing, which displeases thee, and does not please the world! Make us love that Knowledge which thou gavest us in order to our Salvation. The enemy of our souls is jealous of our having such a Gift, and is ever studying to make us exchange it for his lying principles. O Divine Spirit! suffer not his treachery to triumph. Be thou ever within us, aiding us to distinguish truth from falsity, and right from wrong. May our Eye be single and simple, as our Jesus bids it be; that so our Body, that is, the Body of our actions, desires and thoughts, may be lightsome; and preserve us from that evil Eye, which makes the whole Body to be Darkness.
Wednesday in Whitsun Week
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Guéranger  (1841-1875)

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Veni, sancte Spiritus, reple tuorum corda fidelium, et tui amoris in eis ignem accende. 
Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of thy faithful, and enkindle within them the fire of thy love.

We have seen with what fidelity the Holy Ghost has fulfilled, during all these past ages, the Mission he received from our Emmanuel, of forming, protecting and maintaining his Spouse the Church. This trust given by a God has been executed with all the power of a God, and it is the sublimest and most wonderful spectacle the world has witnessed during the eighteen hundred years of the new Covenant. This continuance of a social body—the same in all times and places—promulgating a precise Symbol of Faith which each of its Members is bound to accept—producing by its decisions the strictest unity of religious belief throughout the countless individuals who compose the society—this, together with the wonderful propagation of Christianity, is the master-fact of History. These two facts are not, as certain modern writers would have it, results of the ordinary laws of Providence; but Miracles of the highest order, worked directly by the Holy Ghost, and intended to serve as the basis of our faith in the truth of the Christian Religion. The Holy Ghost was not, in the exercise of his Mission, to assume a visible form; but he has made his Presence visible to the understanding of man, and thereby he has sufficiently proved his own personal action in the work of man’s salvation.

Let us now follow this divine action,—not in its carrying out the merciful designs of the Son of God, who deigned to take to himself a Spouse here below,—but in the relations of this Spouse with mankind. Our Emmanuel willed that she should be the Mother of men; and that all whom he calls to the honor of becoming his own Members should acknowledge that it is she who gives them this glorious birth. The Holy Ghost, therefore, was to secure to this Spouse of Jesus what would make her evident and known to the world, leaving it, however, in the power of each individual to disown and reject her.

It was necessary that this Church should last for all ages, and that she should traverse the earth in such wise that her name and mission might be known to all nations; in a word, she was to be Catholic, that is, Universal, taking in all times and all places. Accordingly, the Holy Ghost made her Catholic. He began by showing her, on the Day of Pentecost, to the Jews who had flocked to Jerusalem from the various nations; and when these returned to their respective countries, they took the good tidings with them. He then sent the Apostles and Disciples into the whole world, and we learn from the writers of those early times that a century had scarcely elapsed before there were Christians in every portion of the known earth. Since then, the Visibility of this holy Church has gone on increasing gradually more and more. If the Divine Spirit, in the designs of his justice, has permitted her to lose her influence in a nation that had made itself unworthy of the grace, he transferred her to another where she would be obeyed. If, at time, there have been whole countries where she had no footing, it was either because she had previously offered herself to them and they had rejected her, or because the time marked by Providence for her reigning there had not yet come. The history of the Church’s propagation is one long proof of her ever living and of her frequent migrating. Times and places, all are hers; if there be one when or where she is not acknowledged as supreme, she is at least represented by her Members; and this prerogative, which has given her the name of Catholic, is one of the grandest of the workings of the Holy Ghost.

But his action does not stop here; the Mission given him by the Emmanuel in reference to his Spouse obliges him to something beyond this; and here we enter into the whole mystery of the Holy Ghost in the Church. We have seen his outward influence, whereby he gives her perpetuity and increase; now we must attentively consider the inward direction she receives from him, which gives her Unity, Infallibility, and Holines,—prerogatives which, together with Catholicity, designate the true Spouse of Christ.

The union of the Holy Ghost with the Humanity of Jesus is one of the fundamental truths of the mystery of the Incarnation. Our divine Mediator is called “Christ” because of the anointing which he received; and his anointing is the result of his Humanity’s being united with the Holy Ghost. This union is indissoluble: eternally will the Word be united to his Humanity; eternally also will the Holy Spirit give to this Humanity the anointing which makes “Christ.” Hence it follows that the Church, being the body of Christ, shares in the union existing between its Divine Head and the Holy Ghost. The Christian, too, receives, in Baptism, an anointing by the Holy Ghost, who from that time forward, dwells in him as the pledge of his eternal inheritance; but while the Christian may, by sin, forfeit this union which is the principle of his supernatural life, the Church herself never can lose it. The Holy Ghost is united to the Church forever; it is by him that she exists, acts, and triumphs over all those difficulties to which, by the divine permission, she is exposed while Militant on earth.

St. Augustine thus admirably expresses this doctrine in one of his Sermons for the Feast of Pentecost: “The spirit, by which every man lives, is called the Soul. Now, observe what it is that our Soul does in the body. It is the Soul that gives life to all the members; it sees by the eye, it hears by the ear, it smells by the nose, it speaks by the tongue, it works by the hands, it walks by the feet. It is present to each member, giving life to them all, and to each one its office. It is not the eye that hears, nor the ear and tongue that see, nor the ear and eye that speak; and yet they all live; their functions are varied, their life is one and the same. So is it in the Church of God. In some Saints, she works miracles; in other Saints, she teaches the truth; in others, she practices virginity; in others, she maintains conjugal chastity; she does one thing in one class, and another in another; each individual has his distinct work to do, but there is one and the same life in them all. Now, what the Soul is to the body of man, that the Holy Ghost is to the Body of Christ, which is the Church: the Holy Ghost does in the whole Church, what the soul does in all the members of one body.”

Here we have given to us a clear exposition, by means of which we can fully understand the life and workings of the Church. The Church is the Body of Christ, and the Holy Ghost is the principle which gives her life. He is her Soul—not only in that limited sense in which we have already spoken of the Soul of her Church, that is, of her inward existence, and which, after all, is the result of the Holy Spirit’s action within her,—but he is also her Soul, in that her whole interior and exterior life, and all her workings, proceed from Him. The Church is undying, because the love, which has led the Holy Ghost to dwell within her, will last forever: and here we have the reason of that Perpetuity of the Church which is the most wonderful spectacle witnessed by the world.

Let us now pass on, and consider that other marvel, which consists in the preservation of Unity in the Church. It is said of her in the Canticle: One is my dove; my perfect one is One. Jesus would have but One, and not many to be his Church, his Spouse: the Holy Ghost will therefore see to the accomplishment of his wish. Let us respectfully follow him in his workings here also. And firstly; is it possible, viewing the thing humanly, that a society should exist for eighteen hundred years and never change? nay, could it have continued all that time, even allowing it to have changed as often as you will? And during these long ages, this society has necessarily had to encounter, and from its own members, the tempests of human passions, which are ever showing themselves, and which not unfrequently play havoc with the grandest institutions. It has always been composed of nations, differing from each other in language, character, and customs; either so far apart as not to know each other, or when neighbors, estranged one from the other by national jealousies and antipathies. And yet, notwithstanding all this—notwithstanding, too, the political revolutions which have made up the history of the world—the Catholic Church has maintained her changeless Unity: one Faith—one visible head—one worship (at least in the essentials)—one mode for the deciding every question, namely, by tradition and authority. Sects have risen up in every age, each sect giving itself out as “the true Church:”they lasted for a while, short or long, according to circumstances, and then were forgotten. Where are now the Arians with their strong political party? Where are the Nestorians, and Eutychians, and Monothelites, with their interminable cavillings? Could anything be imagines more powerless and effete than the Greek Schism, slave either to Sultan or Czar? What is there left of Jansenism, that wore itself away in striving to keep in the Church in spite of the Church? As to Protestantism—the produce of the principle of negation—was it not broken up into sections from its very beginning, so as never to be able to form one society? and is it not now reduced to such straits that it can with difficulty retain dogmas which, at first, it looked upon as fundamental—such as the inspiration of the Scriptures, or the Divinity of Christ?

While all else is change and ruin, our mother the holy Catholic Church, the One Spouse of the Emmanuel, stands forth grand and beautiful in her Unity. But how are we to account for it? Is it that Catholics are of one nature, and Sectarians of another? Orthodox or heterodox, are we not all members of the same human race, subject to the same passions and errors? Whence do the children of the Catholic Church derive that stability which is not affected by time, nor influenced by the variety of national character, nor shaken by those revolutions that have changed dynasties and countries? Only one reasonable explanation can be given—there is a divine element in all this. The Holy Ghost, who is the soul of the Church, acts upon all the members; and as he himself is One, he produces Unity in the Body he animates. He cannot contradict himself: nothing, therefore, subsists by him which is not in union with him.

Tomorrow, we will speak of what the Holy Ghost does for the maintaining Faith, one and unvarying, in the whole body of the Church; let us today limit our considerations to this single point, namely, that the Holy Spirit is the source of external union by voluntary submission to one center of unity. Jesus had said: Thou art Peter, and upon this Rock I will build my Church: now, Peter was to die; the promise, therefore, could not refer to his person only, but to the whole line of his successors, even to the end of the world. How stupendous is not the action of the Holy Ghost, who thus produces a dynasty of spiritual Princes, which has reached its two hundred and fiftieth Pontiff, and is to continue to the last day! No violence is offered to man’s free will; the Holy Spirit permits him to attempt what opposition he lists; but the work of God must go forward. A Decius may succeed in causing a four years’ vacancy in the See of Rome; anti-popes may arise, supported by popular favor, or upheld by the policy of Emperors; a long schism may render it difficult to know the real Pontiff amidst the several who claim it: the Holy Spirit will allow the trial to have its course and, while it lasts, will keep up the faith of his Children; the day will come when he will declare the lawful Pastor of the Flock, and the whole Church will enthusiastically acknowledge him as such.

In order to understand the whole marvel of this supernatural influence, it is not enough to know the extrinsic results as told us by history; we must study it in its own divine reality. The Unity of the Church is not like that which a conqueror forces upon a people that has become tributary to him. The Members of the Church are united in oneness of faith and submission, because they love the yoke she imposes on their freedom and their reason. But who is it that thus brings human pride to obey? Who is it that makes joy and contentment be felt in a life-long practice of subordination? Who is it that brings man to put his security and happiness in the having no individual views of his own, and in the conforming his judgment to one supreme teaching—and this too in matters where the world chafes at control? It is the Holy Ghost, who works this manifold and permanent miracle, for he it is who gives soul and harmony to the vast aggregate of the Church, and sweetly infuses into all these millions a union of heart and mind which forms for our Lord Jesus Christ his “One” dearest Spouse.

During the days of his mortal life, Jesus prayed his Eternal Father to bless us with Unity: May they be one, as we also are. He prepares us for it, when he calls us to become his Members; but for the achieving this union, he sends his Spirit into the world—that Spirit who is the eternal link between the Father and the Son, and who deigns to accept a temporal Mission among men, in order to create on the earth a Union formed after the type of the Union which is in God himself.

We give thee thanks, O Blessed Spirit! who, by thy dwelling thus within the Church of Christ, inspirest us to love and practice Unity, and suffer every evil rather than break it. Strengthen it within us, and never permit us to deviate from it by even the slightest want of submission. Thou art the soul of the Church; oh! give us to be Members ever docile to thy inspirations, for we could not belong to Jesus who sent thee, unless we belong to the Church, his Spouse and our Mother, whom he redeemed with his Blood, and gave to thee to form and guide.

Next Saturday, the Ordination of Priests and sacred Ministers is to take place throughout the whole Church. The Sacrament of Orders is one of the principal workings of the Holy Ghost, who comes into the souls of those who are presented for Ordination, and impresses upon them, by the Bishop’s hands, the character of Priesthood or Deaconship. The Church prescribes a three days’ fast and abstinence; with the intention of obtaining from God’s mercy that the grace thus given may fructify in those who receive it, and bring a blessing upon the Faithful. This is the first of the three days.

At Rome, the Station is in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major. It was but right that on one of the days of this great Octave, the Faithful should meet together under the protection of the Mother of God, whose sharing in the mystery of Pentecost was both a glory and a blessing to the infant Church.

We will close this day with one of the finest of Adam of Saint Victor’s Sequences on the mystery of the Holy Ghost.


Lux jocunda, lux insignis,
Qua de throno missus ignis
In Christi discipulos
Corda replet, linguas ditat,
Ad concordes nos invitat
Linguæ cordis modulos. 

The glad and glorious Light—wherewith the heaven-sent Fire filled the hearts of Jesus’ Disciples and gave them to speak in diverse tongues—invites us now to sing our hymns with hearts in concord with the voice.

Christus misit quod promisit
Pignus Sponsæ, quam revisit
Die quinquagesima;
Post dulcorem melleum
Petra fudit oleum,
Petra jam firmissima. 

On the Fiftieth day, Christ revisited his Spouse, by sending her the pledge he had promised. After tasting the honeyed sweetness, the Rock (Peter), now the firmest of Rocks, pours forth the unction of his preaching.

In tabellis sexeis,
Non in linguis igneis,
Lex de monte populo;
Paucis cordis novitas
Et linguarum unitas,
Datur in Cœnaculo. 

The Law, of old, was given on the Mount to the people, but it was written on tablets of stone, and not on fiery tongues: but in the Cenacle, there was given to a chosen few newness of heart and knowledge of all tongues.

O quam felix, quam festiva
Dies, in ua primitiva
Fundatur Ecclesia!
Vivæ sunt primitiæ
Nascentis Ecclesiæ,
Tria primum millia. 

O happy, O festive Day, whereon was founded the primitive Church! Three thousand souls!—oh! how vigorous the first-fruits of the but just born Church!

Panes legis primitivi,
Sub una sunt adoptivi
Fide duo populi:
Se duobus interjecit
Sicque duos unum fecit
Lapis, caput anguli. 

The two Loaves commanded to be offered in the ancient Law pre-figured the two adopted people now made one; the Stone, the head of the corner, set himself between the two, and made both one.

Utres novi, non vetusti,
Sunt capaces novi musti:
Vasa parat vidua:
Liquorem dat Eliseus:
Nobis sacrum rorem Deus,
Si corda sint congrua.

New wine may not be put in bottles that are old, but in them that are new:—the Widow prepares her vessels, and Eliseus fills them with oil:—so, too, our God gives us his heavenly dew, if our hearts be ready.

Non hoc musto vel liquore,
Non hoc sumus digni rore,
Si discordes moribus.
In obscuris vel divisis,
Non potest hæc Paraclisis
Habitare cordibus.

If our lives be disorderly, we are not fit to receive the Wine, nor Oil, nor Dew. The Paraclete can never dwell in dark or divided hearts.

Consolator alme, veni:
Linguas rege, corda leni:
Nihil fellis ant veneni
Sub tua præsentia.
Nil jocundum, nil amœnum,
Nil salubre, nil serenum,
Nihil dulce, nihil plenum,
Nisi tua gratia. 

O dear Comforter, come! govern our tongues, soften our hearts: where thou art, must be no gall or poison. Nothing is joyous, nothing pleasant, nothing wholesome, nothing peaceful, nothing sweet, nothing full, save by thy grace.

Tu lumen es et unguentum,
Tu cœleste condimentum,
Aquæ ditans elementum
Virtute mysterii.
Nova facti creatura,
Te laudamus mente pura,
Gratiæ nunc, sed natura
Prius iræ filii. 

Thou art Light and Unction; thou the heavenly Savor that enrichest the element of water with mysterious power. We praise thee with hearts made pure,—we that have been made a New Creature,—we that once, by nature, were children of wrath, but now Children of Grace.

Tu qui dator es et donum,
Tu qui condis omne bonum,
Cor ad laudem redde pronum,
Nostræ linguæ formans sonum
In tua præconia.
Tu nos purga a peccatis,
Auctor ipse puritatis,
Et in Christo renovatis
Da perfect&aelg; novitatis
Plena nobis gaudia!

O thou, the Giver and the Gift. O thou the Creator of all that is good! make our hearts eager to praise thee, and teach our tongues to sound forth thy glory. Do thou, O Author of purity, purify us from sin! Renew us in Christ; and then, give us the full joy of perfect Newness! Amen.

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The Gift of Fortitude

The gift of Knowledge has taught us what we must do and what we must avoid in order that we may be such as Jesus, our divine Master, wishes us to be. We now need another gift of the Holy Ghost, from which to draw the energy necessary for our persevering in the way he has pointed out to us. Difficulties we are sure to have; and our need of support is proved enough by the miserable failures we are daily witnessing. This support the Holy Ghost grants us by the gift of Fortitude, which, if we but faithfully use it, will enable us to master every difficulty, yea, will make it easy for us to overcome the obstacles which would impede our onward march.

When difficulties and trials of life come upon him, man is tempted, sometimes to cowardice and discouragement, sometimes to an impetuosity, which arises either from his natural temperament or from pride. These are poor aids to the soul in her spiritual combat. The Holy Ghost, therefore, brings her a new element of strength—it is supernatural Fortitude, which is so peculiarly his gift, that when our Savior instituted the seven Sacraments, he would have one of them be for the special object of giving us the Holy Ghost as a principle of energy. It is evident that having to fight during our whole lives against the devil, the world, and ourselves, we need some better power of resistance than either pusillanimity or daring. We need some gift which will control both our fear and the confidence we are at times inclined to have in ourselves. Thus gifted by the Holy Ghost, man is sure of victory; for grace will supply the deficiencies and correct the impetuosities of nature.

There are two necessities which are ever making themselves felt in the Christian life;—the power of resistance, and the power of endurance. What could we do against the temptations of Satan if the Fortitude of the Holy Spirit did not clad us with heavenly armor and nerve us to the battle? And is not the World, too, a terrible enemy? Have we not reason to dread it when we see how it is every day making victims by the tyranny of its claims and its maxims? What, then, must be the assistance of the Holy Ghost, which is to make us invulnerable to the deadly shafts that are dealing destruction around us?

The passions of the human heart are another obstacle to our salvation and sanctification; they are the more to be feared, because they are within us. It is requisite that the Holy Ghost change our heart, and lead it to deny itself as often as the light of grace points out to us a way other than that which self-love would have us follow. What supernatural Fortitude we need in order to hate our life, as often as our Lord bids us make a sacrifice, or when we have to choose which of the two Masters we will serve. The Holy Spirit is daily working this marvel by means of the Gift of Fortitude: so that, we have but to correspond to the Gift, and not stifle it either by cowardice or indiscretion—and we are strong enough to resist even our domestic enemies. This blessed Gift of Fortitude teaches us to govern our passions and treat them as blind guides; it also teaches us never to follow their instincts, save when they are in harmony with the law of God.

There are times when the Holy Spirit requires from a Christian something beyond interior resistance to the enemies of his soul:—he must make an outward protestation against error and evil, as often as position or duty demands it. On such occasions, one must bear to become unpopular, and console one’s self with the words of the Apostle: If I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. But the Holy Ghost will be on his side; and finding him resolute in using his Gift of Fortitude, not only will he give him a final triumph, but he generally blesses that soul with a sweet and courageous peace, which is the result and recompense of a duty fulfilled.

Thus does the Holy Ghost apply the gift of Fortitude, when there is question of a Christian’s making resistance. But as we have already said, it imparts also the energy necessary for bearing up against the trials, which all must go through who would save their souls. There are certain fears, which damp our courage, and expose us to defeat. The gift of Fortitude dispels them and braces us with such a peaceful confidence that we ourselves are surprised at the change. Look at the Martyrs; not merely at such a one as St. Mauritius, the leader of the Theban Legion, who was accustomed to face danger on the battlefield, but at Felicitas, a mother of seven children, at Perpetua, a high-born lady with everything this world could give her, at Agnes, a girl of thirteen, and at thousands of others like them; and say, if the gift of Fortitude is not a prompter to heroism? Where is the fear of death—that death, the very thought of which is sometimes more than we can bear? And what are we to say of all those lives spent in self-abnegation and privation, with a view to make Jesus their only treasure and be the more closely united with him? What are we to say of those hundreds and thousands of our fellow creatures who shun the sight of a distracted and vain world, and make sacrifice their rule? whose peacefulness is proof against every trial, and whose acceptance of the cross is as untiring as the cross itself is in its visit? What trophies are these of the Spirit of Fortitude! and how magnificent is the devotedness he creates for every possible duty! Oh! truly, man, of himself, is of little worth; but how grand when under the influence of the Holy Ghost!

It is the same Divine Spirit who also gives the Christian courage to withstand the vile temptation of human respect, by raising him above those worldly considerations which would make him disloyal to duty. It is He that leads man to prefer, to every honor this world could bestow, the happiness of never violating the law of his God. It is the Spirit of Fortitude that makes him look upon the reverses of fortune as so many merciful designs of Providence; that consoles him when death bereaves him of those who are dear to him; that cheers him under bodily sufferings, which would be so hard to bear but from his taking them as visits from his heavenly Father. In a word, it is He, as we learn from the Lives of the Saints, that turns the very repugnances of nature into matter for heroic acts, wherein man seems to go beyond the limits of his frail mortality and emulate the impassible and glorified spirits of heaven.

O divine Spirit of Fortitude! take full possession of our souls, and keep us from the effeminacies of the age we live in. Never was there such lack of energy as now, never was the worldly spirit more rife, never was sensuality more unbridled, never were pride and independence more the fashion of the world. So forgotten and unheeded are the maxims of the Gospel, that when we witness the Fortitude of self-restraint and abnegation, we are as surprised as though we beheld a prodigy. O Holy Paraclete! preserve us from this anti-christian spirit, which is so easily imbibed! Suffer us to present to thee, in the form of prayer, the advice given by St. Paul to the Christians of Ephesus: Give us, we beseech thee, “the armor of God, that we may be able to resist in the evil day, and to stand in all things perfect. Gird our reins with truth; arm us with the breastplate of justice; let our feet be shod with the love and practice of the Gospel of peace; give us the shield of Faith, wherewith we may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one; cover us with the helmet of the hope of salvation; put into our hand the spiritual sword, which is the Word of God,” and by which we, as did our Jesus in the Desert, may defeat all our enemies! O Spirit of Fortitude! hear, we beseech thee, and grant our prayer!
Thursday in Whitsun Week
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Guéranger  (1841-1875)

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Veni, sancte Spiritus, reple tuorum corda fidelium, et tui amoris in eis ignem accende. 
Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of thy faithful, and enkindle within them the fire of thy love.

The divine Spirit has been sent to secure Unity to the Spouse of Christ; and we have seen how faithfully he fulfils his Mission, by giving to the Members of the Church to be one, as he himself is One. But the Spouse of a God who is, as he calls himself, the Truth, must be in the truth, and can have no fellowship with error. Jesus entrusted his teaching to her care, and has instructed her in the person of the Apostles. He said to them: All things whatsoever I have heard of my Father, I have made known to you. And yet, if left unaided, how can the Church preserve free from all change, during the long ages of her existence, that word which Jesus has not written?—that truth which he came from heaven to teach her? Experience proves that everything changes her below; that written documents are open to false interpretations, and that unwritten traditions are frequently so altered in the course of time as to defy recognition.

Here again we have a proof of our Lord’s watchful love. In order to realize the wish he had to see us one, as he and his Father are One, he sent us his Spirit; and in order to keep us in the Truth, he sent us this same Spirit who is called the Spirit of Truth. When the Spirit of Truth is come, said he, he will teach you all truth. And what is the Truth which this Spirit will teach us? He will teach you all things, and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you.

So that nothing of what the Divine Word spoke to men is to be lost. The beauty of his Spouse is to be based on truth, for “Beauty is the splendor of Truth.” Her fidelity to her Jesus shall be of the most perfect kind; for, if He be the Truth, how could she ever be out of the Truth? Jesus had said: I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with you for ever; and he shall be in you. It is by the Holy Ghost, then, that the Church is ever to possess the truth, and that nothing can rob her of it; for this Spirit, who is sent by the Father and the Son, will abide unceasingly with and in her.

The magnificent theory of St. Augustine comes most appropriately here. According to his teaching—which, after all, is but the explanation of the texts just cited—the Holy Ghost is the principle of the Church’s life; and He, being the Spirit of Truth, preserves and directs her in the truth, so that both her teaching and her practice cannot be other than expressions of the truth. He makes himself responsible for her words, just as our spirit is responsible for what our tongue utters. Hence it is that the Church, by her union with the Holy Ghost, is so identified with Truth that the Apostle did not hesitate to call her the pillar and ground of the Truth. The Christian, therefore, may well rest on the Church in all that regards Faith. He knows that the Church is never alone; that she is always with the Holy Spirit who lives within her; that her word is not her own, but the word of the Spirit, which is the word of Jesus.

Now, this word of Jesus is preserved in the Church by the Holy Ghost, and in two ways. He guards it as contained in the four Gospels, which the Evangelists wrote under his inspiration. It is by his watchful care that these holy writings have been kept free from all change during the past ages. The same is to be said of the other books of the New Testament, which were also written under the guidance of the same Spirit. Those of the Old Testament are equally the result of the inspiration of the Holy Ghost: and although they do not give us the words spoken by our Savior during his mortal life, yet do they speak of him, and foretell his coming, and contain, moreover, the primitive revelations made by God to mankind. The Books of Sacred Writ are replete with mysteries, the interpretation of which is communicated to the Church by the Holy Ghost.

The other channel of Jesus’ word is Tradition. It was impossible for everything to be written; and even before the Gospels were composed, the Church was in existence. Tradition, like the Written Word itself is from God; but unless the Spirit of Truth watch over and protect it, how can it remain pure and intact? He therefore fixes it in the memory of the Church, he preserves it from change; it is his mission; and thanks to the fidelity wherewith he fulfils his mission, the Church remains in possession of the whole treasure left her by her Spouse.

But it is not enough that the Church possess the word,—Written and Traditional;—she must also have the understanding of that word, in order that she may explain it to her children. Truth came down from heaven, that it might be communicated to men; for it is their light, and without it they would be in darkness, knowing not whither they are going. The Spirit of Truth could not, therefore, be satisfied if the word of Jesus were kept as a hidden treasure; no, he will have it thrown open to men, that they may thence draw life to their souls. Consequently, the Church will have to be infallible in her teaching; for how can she be deceived herself, or deceive others, seeing it is the Spirit of Truth who guides her in all things and speaks by her mouth? He is her soul; and we have already had St. Augustine telling us that when the tongue speaks, the soul is responsible.

The infallibility of our holy Mother the Church is the direct and immediate result of her having abiding within her the Spirit of Truth. It is the promise made to her by Jesus; it is the necessary consequence of the presence of the Holy Spirit. The man who does not acknowledge the Church to be infallible should, if he be consistent, admit that the Son of God has not been able to fulfill his promise, and that the Spirit of Truth is a Spirit of error. But he that reasons thus has strayed from the path of life; he thought he was but denying a prerogative to the Church, whereas in reality, he has refused to believe God himself. It is this that constitutes the sin of heresy. Want of due reflection may cover and hide the awful conclusion; but the conclusion is strictly implied in his principle. The heretic is at variance with the Holy Ghost, because he is at variance with the Church; he may become, once more, a living member, by humbly returning to the Spouse of Christ,—but at present, he is dead, for the Soul is not animating him. Let us again give ear to the great St. Augustine: “It sometimes happens,” says he, “that a member,—say a hand, or finger, or foot,—is cut from the human body; tell me, does the soul follow the member that is thus severed? As long as it was in the body, it lived; now that it is cut off, it is dead. In the same manner, a Christian is a Catholic so long as he lives in the Body (of the Church); cut off, he is a Heretic; the spirit follows not a member that is cut off.”

Glory, then, be to the Holy Spirit, who has conferred upon the Spouse the “splendor of truth!” With regard to ourselves,—could we, without incurring the greatest of dangers, put limits to the docility wherewith we receive teachings which come to us simultaneously from the Spirit and the Bride, who are so indissolubly united? Whether the Church intimates what we are to believe by showing us her own practice, or simply expressing her sentiments, or solemnly pronouncing a definition on the subject,—we must receive her word with submission of heart. Her practice is ever in harmony with the truth, and it is the Holy Ghost, her life-giving principle, that keeps it so; the utterance of her sentiments is but an aspiration of that same Spirit, who never leaves her; and as to the definitions she decrees, it is not she alone that decrees them, but the Holy Ghost who decrees them in and by her. If it be the visible Head of the Church who utters the definition, we know that Jesus prayed that Peter’s faith may never fail, that he obtained it from the Father, and that he gave to the Holy Ghost the mission of perpetuating this precious prerogative granted to Peter. If it be the Sovereign Pontiff and Bishops, assembled in Council, who proclaim what is the faith on any given subject, it is the Holy Ghost who speaks by this collective judgment, makes truth triumph, and puts error to flight. It is this Divine Spirit that has given the Spouse to crush all heresies beneath her feet; it is He that, in all ages, has raised up within her learned men who have confuted error whensoever or wheresoever it was broached.

So that our beloved Mother the Church is gifted with Infallibility; she is True, always and in all things; and she is indebted for this to Him who proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son. But there is another glory which she owes to him. The Spouse of the thrice holy God could not but be Holy. She is so; and it is from the Spirit of holiness that she receives her holiness. Truth and Holiness are inseparably united in God. Hence it was that our Savior, who willed us to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect and, creatures as we are, would have us take the infinite good as our model—prayed that we might be “sanctified in the Truth.”

Jesus, therefore, consigned his Spouse to the direction of the Spirit, that he might make her Holy. Holiness is so inherent to this Divine Spirit that it is his very name. Jesus himself calls him the “Holy Ghost;” so that it is on the authority of the Son of God that we call him by this beautiful name. The Father is Power; the Son is Truth; the Spirit is Holiness: and it is for this reason that the Spirit has, here below, the office of Sanctifier; although the Father and Son are Holy, just as Truth is in the Father and the Spirit, and Power is in the Spirit and the Son. The three Persons of the Blessed Trinity have each their special property, but they are all one in essence or nature. Now, the special property of the Holy Ghost is Love, and Love produces Holiness; for it unites the sovereign good with the soul that loves him, and this union is Holiness, which is the “splendor of goodness,” as Beauty is the “splendor of Truth.”

That she might be worthy, then, of the Emmanuel, her Spouse, the Church was to be Holy. He gave her Truth, and the Divine Paraclete has preserved it within her; the Spirit is to endow her with Holiness; and the Father, seeing her True and Holy, will adopt her as his Daughter:—this is her glorious destiny. Let us now see what proofs she gives of her being Holy. The first is her fidelity to her Spouse. History is one long testimony of this her fidelity. Every possible snare has been laid, every sort of violence used, to make her unfaithful: she has bravely withstood them all: she has sacrificed everything—her blood, her peace, the very countries where she reigned—rather than allow what Jesus had entrusted to her to be corrupted or changed. Count, if you can, her Martyrs, from the Apostles down to our own times, who have died for the faith. Call to mind the offers made to her by the potentates of the earth, soliciting her to hush up truth. Think of the threats and persecutions whereby the world sought to make her withdraw one or other dogma of her Creed. Who that knows aught of past or present history can forget the great battle she fought against the Emperors of Germany in defense of the Liberty wherewith her Jesus had made her free, and of which he is so jealous; or the noble love of justice she evinced when her refusal to sanction, by an unlawful dispensation, the adultery of a King was to be followed by the apostasy of England; or the high-minded love of principle she showed in the person of Pius the Ninth, when she braved the clamors of modern infidelity, yea, and the cowardly remonstrances of temporizing Catholics, rather than allow a Jewish boy (who had been baptized when in danger of death) to be exposed to the temptation of denying his faith and blaspheming the Savior who had made him his Child?

Such has been, and such ever will be, the conduct of the Church, because she is holy in her fidelity, and because the Divine Spirit inspires her with a love which overlooks everything when duty is at stake. She can show the code of her laws to her enemies and to her faithful children, and defy them to point out a single enactment that has not been made with a view to procure the glory of her Jesus and lead mankind to virtue. The observance of these her laws has given millions of Saints to God, whom she has produced through the influence of the Holy Ghost. The Church claims each one of those myriads of the elect as the fruit of her maternal care. Even those whom Providence has permitted to be born of heretical parents—if they have lived in the disposition of mind of entering the True Church as soon as they should find it, and have faithfully corresponded, by a virtuous life, to the grace given to them through the merits of the Redeemer—they too were children of the church.

She is the school of devotedness and heroism. Virtues, of which men knew not so much as the name before she was founded, are now being practiced in every country of the world. There are extraordinary actions of saintliness, which she rewards with the honor of canonization; there are the more humble and hidden virtues, which are to be published only on the day of Judgment. The precepts of Jesus are observed by all his disciples; they obey him as their dear Master. This Master has also his counsels, which all cannot follow, but which afford the Church a new scope for the development of her gift of holiness. Not only are there individual and generous souls who fervently practice these counsels; there are the Religious Orders, whose aim is perfection, and whose first law is the obligation, under vow, of observing the evangelical Counsels unitedly with that of the Precepts; and these Orders are produced in the Church by the action of the Spirit of Holiness.

After this, we cannot wonder at her having the gift of Miracles, which is the outward mark of Holiness. It is a supernatural gift, which our Lord told her she would always possess: now the Apostle assures us that the working of miracles comes directly from the Holy Ghost.

It may be objected that all the members of the Church are not holy: to this we reply that she offers to all the means of becoming so, but that their free-will may and frequently does reject such means. Free will has been granted to man that he might thereby merit; and it is a contradiction in terms to say that he who has free will is, at the same time, necessitated to choose good. Moreover, an immense number of those who are now in a state of sin, but who are members of the Church by faith and respectful submission to her lawful Pastors and particularly to the Sovereign Pontiff, will, sooner or later, be reconciled to God and die in holy dispositions. It is the mercy of the Holy Ghost that works this wonderful change, and he works it through the Church, who, imitating her divine Spouse, breaketh not the bruised reed, nor quencheth the smoking flax.

How could she be otherwise than Holy, who has received, in order to administer them to her children, the Seven Sacraments, of which we have spoken in one of the preceding weeks? What more holy than these divine rites, some of which give life to sinners, and others an increase of grace to the just? These Sacraments, which were instituted by Christ and given in heritage to his Church, all bear some relation with the Holy Ghost. In Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders, his operation is direct; in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, it is by his action that the Man-God lives and is immolated on our Altars; it is He that restores baptismal grace by Penance; He is the Spirit of Fortitude, who strengthens the dying by Extreme Unction; He is the sacred link which inseparably unites husband and wife together in the Sacrament of Matrimony. Our Jesus gave us these Seven Sacraments as a pledge of his love, when he left us to return to his Father; but the treasure remained sealed up until the descent of the Holy Ghost. It was for Him to prepare the Spouse, by sanctifying her, to receive these precious gifts into her royal hands, and to administer them faithfully to her children; it was for him, therefore, to put her in possession of them.

Lastly, the Church is Holy because of her ceaseless Prayer. He who is the spirit of grace and of prayer is ever producing, in the children of the Church, those varied acts of adoration, thanksgiving, petition, repentance, and love, which constitute the sublime concert of Prayer. To these he adds, for many of the Faithful, the gifts of Contemplation, whereby either the creature is raised up to his God, or God comes down to him with favors which seem only fit for such as are already in heaven. Who could enumerate the aspirations, we mean the effusions of love, which the Holy Spouse sends up to her Jesus in those millions of prayers which are day and night ascending from earth to heaven, and seem to unite the two in the embrace of closest intimacy? How could she be otherwise than Holy who, as the Apostle so forcibly expresses it, has her conversation in heaven?

But if the individual Prayer offered up by her children is thus admirable by its multiplicity and its ardor—how beautiful and grand must not be the united Prayer of the Church herself in her Liturgy, wherein the Holy Ghost acts with all the plenitude of his inspiration and puts upon her lips those thrilling and sublime words, which we have undertaken to explain in our “Liturgical Year?” We would ask those who have followed us thus far if the Liturgy is not the best of all prayers, and the guide and soul of their own individual prayer? Let them, therefore, love the Holy Mother who gives them to partake of her own abundance! Let them glorify the Spirit of grace and prayers for all that he so mercifully deigns to do both for her and them!

O Church of our God! thou art sanctified in truth! By thee we are taught the whole doctrine of our Jesus! By thee we are put in the path of that holiness which is thy very life. What would we have more, having Truth and Holiness? They who seek them out of thee, seek in vain. Happy we, that have nothing to seek, because we have thee for our Mother, who art ever lavishing upon us all thy grand gifts and lights! Oh! how beautiful art thou on this solemnity of Pentecost, which gave thee the riches thou givest to us! We gaze with delighted wonder at the magnificent prerogatives prepared for thee by thy Jesus and communicated to thee by the Holy Ghost. And now that we know thee better, we will love thee with warmer hearts!

The Station for the Thursday of Whitsuntide is in the Basilica of St. Laurence outside the walls. This venerable Church, where lie the relics of the intrepid Archdeacon of Rome, is one of the grandest trophies of the victory gained by the Holy Ghost over the Prince of this world. This annual assembly of the Faithful in so holy a place, and for all these long ages, is an eloquent testimony of the completeness of that victory which made Rome and her power subject to Christ.

The Armenian Church comes, for the fourth time, to aid us in our homage to the Holy Ghost. The richest fragrance of antiquity is in the stanzas we select for today.

(Canon quintæ diei.)

Hodie exsultant chori Apostolorum adventu Spiritus Dei, quos consolatus est loco Verbi incarnati, degens apud illos: gloriam offeramus illi agiologa voce. 
Today, the choir of Apostles rejoice at the coming of the Spirit of God: he consoles them, he lives with them, taking the place of the Incarnate Word. Let us offer him our holy songs of praise!

Hodie exiit aqua viva in Jerusalem, unde repleta sunt flumina Dei, et currentes inebriarunt terrarum orbem quadrifluvio fonte Eden; gloriam offeramus alli agiologa voce. 
Today, a Living Water sprang up in Jerusalem: it filled the rivers of God, which ran through the whole earth, inebriating it with the four-fold Fountain of Eden. Let us offer our holy songs of praise!

Hodie rore intelligibili de subibus Spiritus lætata sunt germina Ecclesiæ, pinguefacti sunt agri justitia, speciosa effecta est deserta pura virginitate; gloriam offeramur illi agiologa voce. Today, the young plants of the Church were gladdened with spiritual dew from the clouds of the Spirit; the fields were made rich in justice; the desert was made to bloom with purest virginity. Let us offer him our holy songs of praise!

We subjoin a Sequence from Germany; in which her illustrious Prophetess, the holy Abbess Hildegarde, gives expression to her love of the Divine Spirit, whose inspiration she almost uninterruptedly enjoyed and obeyed.


O ignis Spiritus Paraclite,
Vita vitæ omnis creaturæ. 

O sacred Fire! O Paraclete Spirit! thou art the Life of every creature’s life.

Sanctus es, vivificando formas. 

Thou art the Holy One, vivifying all beings!

Sanctus es ungendo
Pariculose fractos, 

Thou art the Holy One, healing with thine unction them that are dangerously bruised!

Sanctus es, tergendo
Fœtida vulnera. 

Thou art the Holy One, cleansing our festered wounds!

O spiraculum sanctitatis,
O ignis charitatis,
O dulcis gustus
In pectoribus, 

O Breath of Holiness! O Fire of Charity! O thou sweet Savor of the soul, and the heart’s Infusion of the pleasing odor of virtues!

O fons purissimus,
In quo consideratur,
Quod Deus alienos
Et perditos requirit. 

O purest Fount! wherein is reflected God’s mercy that adopts aliens for his Children, and goes in search of them that are lost.

O lorica vitæ,
Et spes compaginis
Membrorum omnium!
O cingulum honestatis,
Salva beatos! 

O Breast-plate of life, that givest all the members hope of compact strength! O Girdle of beautiful energy, save us thy happy people!

Custodi eos
Qui carcerati sunt
Ab inimico,
Et solve ligatos,
Quos divina vis
Salare vult. 

Be the Protector of them that have been imprisoned by the enemy! Loose the bonds of them, whom God’s power would save!

O iter fortissimum,
Quod penetravit omnia,
In altissimis,
Et in terrenis,
Et in omnibus abyssis,
Quum omnes componis
Et colligis. 

O Way, which nothing can resist! that penetratest heaven, and earth, and every deep abyss, bringing all to order and unity!

De te nubes fluunt,
Æther volat,
Lapides humorem habent,
Aquæ rivulos educunt
Et terra viriditatem sudat. 

’Tis by thee that clouds glide in the firmament, that air wings its flight, that rocks yield springs, that waters flow, and earth gives forth her verdure.

Tu etiam semper
Educis doctos,
Per inspirationem sapienti&aelig

’Tis thou that leadest men to knowledge, gladdening them with the inspiration of wisdom.

Unde laus tibi sit,
Qui es sonus laudis
Et gaudium vitæ,
Spes et honor fortissimus,
Dans præmia lucis.

Praise, then, be to thee, O thou praise-yielding Spirit, thou Joy of life, our Hope, our highest Honor, the giver of the reward of Light! Amen.

The Gift of Counsel

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We have seen how necessary for the sanctification of a Christian is the gift of Fortitude; but it is not sufficient; there is need of another gift, which completes it. This other gift is Counsel. Fortitude needs direction. The gift of Knowledge is not the guide of Fortitude, and for this reason,—that Knowledge teaches the soul her last end and gives her general rules for her conduct; but it does not bring her light sufficient for the special application of God’s law to particular cases, and for the practical doing our duty. In those varied circumstances in which we are to be placed, and in the decisions we must then form, we shall have to hearken to the voice of the Holy Ghost, and this voice speaks to us through the gift of Counsel. It will tell us if we are attentive to its speaking, what we must do and what we must not do, what we must say and what we must not say, what we may keep and what we must give up. The Holy Ghost acts upon our understanding by the gift of Counsel, as he acts upon our will by the gift of Fortitude.

This precious gift bears upon our whole life; for we are continually obliged to be deciding on one of two sides or questions. How grateful, then, should we not be to the Holy Ghost, who is ever ready to be our counselor, if we will but permit him! And if we follow his direction, what snares he will teach us to avoid! how many illusions he will dispel! how grand the truths he will show us! But in order that his inspirations may not be lost upon us, we must be on our guard against such miseries of our nature as the following: natural impulse, which is but too often the sole motive of our acts; rashness, which makes us follow whatever feeling happens to be uppermost in our mind; precipitation, which urges us to judge or act before we have seen both sides of the case; and lastly, indifference, which makes us decide at hap-hazard, out of a repugnance we have to take the trouble of examining what is the best course to pursue.

By the gift of Counsel, the Holy Ghost saves us from all these evils. He corrects the impetuosity, or, it may be, the apathy of our temperament. He keeps the soul alive to what is true and good and conducive to her real interests. He introduces into the soul that virtue which completes the seasons every other—we mean discretion, whereby the other virtues are harmonized and kept from extremes. Under the direction of the gift of Counsel, the Christian has nothing to fear; the Holy Ghost takes the whole responsibility. What matters it, therefore, if the world find fault, or criticize, or express surprise, or be scandalized? The world thinks itself wise; but it has not the gift of Counsel. Hence, it often happens that what is undertaken by its advice results in the very opposite to what was intended. Was it not of the world that God spoke, when he said: My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways my ways?

Let us, then, with all the ardor of our hearts, desire this divine gift, which will preserve us from the danger of being our own guides; but let us remember, it will only dwell in us on the condition of our allowing it to be master. If the Holy Ghost see that we are not led by worldly principles, and that we acknowledge our own weakness, he will be our Counsel; if he find that we are wise in our own eyes, he will withdraw his light and leave us to ourselves.

O Holy Spirit! we would not that thou shouldst ever abandon us. Sad experience has taught us how fraught with danger is all human prudence. Most cheerfully do we promise thee to mistrust our own ideas, which are so apt to blind and mislead us. Keep up within us the magnificent gift thou gavest us at Baptism: be thou our Counsel, yea, unreservedly and forever! Show me, O Lord, thy ways, and teach me thy paths. Direct me in thy truth, and teach me; for thou art the God who canst save me; therefore have I waited on thee, all the day long. We know that we are to be judged for all our works and intentions; but we know too that we have nothing to fear so long as we are faithful to thy guidance. Therefore will we attentively hear what the Lord God will speak in us; we will listen to thee, O Holy Spirit of Counsel, whether thou speakest to us directly thyself, or whether thou sendest us to those whom thou shalt appoint as our guides. Blessed, then, be Jesus, who has sent us such a Counselor! and blessed be thou, O Holy Spirit! who deignest to give us thine aid, in spite of all our past resistance!
Friday in Whitsun Week
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Guéranger  (1841-1875)

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Veni, sancte Spiritus, reple tuorum corda fidelium, et tui amoris in eis ignem accende. 
Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of thy faithful, and enkindle within them the fire of thy love.

So far, we have considered the action of the Holy Ghost in the Church; we must now study its workings in the soul of the Christian. Here, also, we shall find fresh motives for admiration and gratitude towards this Divine Paraclete, who so graciously condescends to minister to us in all our necessities, and lead us to the glorious end for which we were created.

As with the Holy Ghost, who was sent that he might abide with us for ever, exercises his power in upholding and guiding the Church, that thus she may be the faithful Spouse of Jesus; so, likewise, does he work in each one of us, that he may make us worthy members of our divine Head. This is his mission—to unite us so closely with Jesus that we may be made one Body with him. His office is to create us in the supernatural order, to give and maintain within us the life of grace, by applying to us the merits acquired for us by Jesus, our Mediator and our Savior.

Let us begin by considering how sublime is this Mission given by the Father and the Son to the Holy Ghost. In the Godhead, the Holy Ghost is produced, and does not produce. The Father begets the Son; the Father and the Son produce the Holy Ghost. This difference is founded on the Divine Nature itself, which is not and cannot be put in Three Persons. Hence, as the Holy Fathers teach, the Holy Ghost has received a fecundity outside, having none within, the Godhead. Thus, when the Humanity of the Son of God was to be produced in Mary’s womb, it was the Holy Ghost that achieves the mystery. Again, when the Christian is to be created in the creature corrupted by original sin, it is the same Holy Spirit who produces the new being. St. Augustine thus forcibly expresses himself: “The same Grace that produced Christ when he first became Man, produces the Christian when he first becomes a believer; the same Spirit of whom Christ was conceived, is the principle of the new birth of the Christian.”

We have dwelt, at some length, on the action of the Holy Ghost in the formation and government of the Church, because the chief work of this Divine Spirit is to produce, here upon the earth, the Spouse of the Son of God, and because it is through her that all blessings come to us. She is the depository of a portion of the Paraclete’s graces, inasmuch as he is ever ready to serve her for our salvation and sanctification’s sake. It is for us, also, that he made her Catholic, and visible to the world; and this, to the end that we might the more easily find her. It is for us that he maintains her in Truth and Holiness, that so we might drink our fill at these two sources of life-giving water. Coming, now, to consider what he does in the souls of men, the first marvel that demands our attention is his creative power. Is it not a veritable Creation, when he raises a soul from the abyss of original sin, or from the still deeper fall of actual guilt, and instantly makes her an adopted Child of God, and a Member of the Son of God? The Father and Son look with complacency upon this work of the Spirit, who is their own mutual Love. They sent him into the world that he might work, yea, work with sovereign authority; and wheresoever he reigns, there do they also reign.

This chosen, this elect soul, has been eternally present to the mind of the Blessed Trinity. The time fixed by the divine decree being come, the Holy Ghost descends and takes possession of this object of his love. Swifter than ever eagle to his prey, the Dove of infinite mercy flies to his destines habitation. If no hindrance be offered to his action by the creature’s free-will, there happens in her what St. Paul describes as happening in the Church herself: the things that were not become superior to the things that were, and where sin abounded, grace is made to dwell in rich superabundance.

We have already seen how our Emmanuel gave to Water the power of purifying the soul; but we also remember how, when he went down into the Jordan stream, the Dove rested upon him; hereby showing that he, the Spirit of God, took possession of the element of regeneration. The Font of Baptism is his domain. “The Water of Baptism,” says the great St. Leo, “is like the Virginal womb (that conceived Jesus)—it gives to man a spiritual Regeneration; for the same Holy Spirit that gave fecundity to the Virgin, gives fecundity to the Font, to the end that sin, of which there could be question in the sacred conception (of the Son of God in Mary’s womb), may be washed away by the mystic Font.”

What tongue could describe the fond delight wherewith the Holy Spirit looks upon the new creature that rises from the Font, or the impetuosity of love wherewith he enters into such a soul? He is “the Gift of the Most High,” sent that he may dwell within us. He takes up his abode in the new-born soul, be it that of an infant but one day old, or that of an adult advanced in years. He is well-pleased with the dwelling he has, from all eternity, longed to possess; he fills it with his glowing and his light; and being, by nature, one with the other Divine Persons, he brings thither with him the presence of the Father and Son, and all Three abide in that happy soul!

But the Holy Ghost has here his own special action—his mission of Sanctification: and in order that we may understand the full effect of his presence in the Christian, we must know that it is not confined to the Soul. The Body, too, is part of Man, and had its share in Regeneration. The Apostle tells us that the Soul is the dwelling of the Holy Ghost; but he also assures us that our Bodies are the Temple of the same Divine Spirit, and bids us make them serve justice, unto sanctification. He graces them with a germ of immortality, which will rest upon them even in the tomb, and give them to rise again, at the last day, spiritualized, and bearing on them the seal of the Divine Paraclete, who deigned to be their Guest during the term of their mortality.

After having thus made the Christian to be his dwelling-place, the Holy Ghost bestows upon him what may fit him for his high destiny. Think, for a moment, of the beauty of the Theological Virtues! Faith puts us into the certified and real possession of the divine truths which our mind cannot, in this present life, understand; Hope gives us both the divine assistance we stand in need of, and the eternal happiness we look forward to; Charity unites us to God by the strongest and sweetest of ties. Now it is the indwelling of the Holy Ghost within him that the Christian is indebted for these three virtues—these three means whereby regenerated man is made capable of attaining the end of his creation. The Holy Spirit marked his first entrance into the soul by this triple gift, which surpasses all the creature’s merits, past, present, or future.

Over and above the three Theological Virtues, he bestows on the soul four other virtues, which are the hinges whereon the rest of the moral virtues turn, and hence their name of Cardinal; they are, Justice, Fortitude, Prudence and Temperance. Though in themselves natural qualities, the Holy Ghost transforms them by making them serve the supernatural end of the Christian. Finally, as a finish to the beauty of his abode, he infuses his Seven Gifts, which are to impart movement and life to the Seven Virtues.

But though the Virtues and Gifts relate to God, yet do they need that element which is the essential means of union with him:—an element which is indispensable,—for which nothing can serve as substitute,—the soul of the soul,—the life-giving principle without which man can neither see nor possess God:—Sanctifying Grace. The Holy Ghost exultingly plants it in the soul; it becomes part of herself, and makes her an object of delight to the Blessed Trinity. So close is the union between this Grace and the presence of the Holy Spirit that when it is lost by mortal sin, he, that same instant, ceases to dwell in the soul.

He watches most carefully over his inheritance. He is ceaselessly working the interests of his much-loved dwelling. The Virtues he has infused into her are not to remain inert; they must elicit virtuous acts and, by the merit they thus produce, must increase, strengthen, and develop the fundamental element of Sanctifying Grace, which unites the Christian to his God. The Holy Ghost is, therefore, ever exciting the soul to action, either interior or exterior, by means of those divine influences, which Theologians call Actual Graces. He thus enables the soul to raise herself higher and higher in virtue, add to her riches, strengthen her strength, and, in a word, become an instrument of glory to her Maker, who created her that she might serve him, labor for him, and yield him fruit.

To this end, the Spirit, after giving himself to her, and dwelling within her with devoted love, urges her to Prayer, whereby she may procure every blessing—light, strength and success in what she undertakes. But how are we to know what to pray for? The Apostle solves the difficulty by telling us the truth, of which he himself had such experience. He says: The spirit himself asketh for us with unspeakable groanings. Yes, the Holy Ghost makes our wants his own. God as he is, he unites his own speakings with the voice of our prayer and, with his dove-like moaning, cries, in our hearts, to the Father. He thus, by his presence and his workings, makes us feel that we are children of God. Could there be intimacy greater than this? And who, after this, can be surprised at our Jesus’ saying that we have but to ask, and we shall receive? Is it not his own Spirit that asks within us?

So that he is the author of our Prayer, when we pray: he is also the great cooperator with us in the good actions we do. So intimate is his union with the soul, that he leaves her no liberty of her own save what is necessary for her to have merit; but it is He that does the rest: that is, he inspires her, he supports her, he directs her. All she has to do is to cooperate in what he does in and by her. It is by this mark—that is, by the united action of the Holy Ghost and the soul—that our heavenly Father knows who are his. Hence that saying of the Apostle: Whosoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. O Glorious union! which brings the Christian to life everlasting, and makes Jesus triumph in him,—that Jesus whose likeness is imprinted by the Holy Ghost in the creature, that the creature may become worthy to be united with his divine Head!

Alas! this union may be severed, as long as we are on earth. Our free will is not confirmed in good until we reach heaven; and meanwhile, it may, and frequently does, lead to a rupture between the Spirit that sanctifies, and the creature that is sanctified. The unhappy love of independence and the passions (which we cannot master, save when we are docile to the Divine Spirit), excite the unguarded heart to the desire of what is unworthy of her. Satan is jealous of the reign of the Holy Ghost, and seeks to make us disloyal by holding out to us the lying promise of happiness and good, other than those we can find in God. The world, too, which is a spirit of evil, sets itself up as a rival of the Holy Spirit of God. Wily, audacious, and active, it excels in the art of seduction, and its victims are countless, although our Savior has put us on our guard against it by telling us that he excluded it from any share in his prayers; and the Apostle tells us that we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is of God.

And yet, how many there are who bring about in themselves a cruel separation of their soul from the Holy Ghost! The separation is generally preceded by a certain coolness of the creature for his divine Benefactor. A want of respect, a slight disobedience, are the preliminaries of the rupture. This occasions in the Holy Spirit a displeasure which proves the tender love he bears to a faithful soul. The Apostle describes the nature of this displeasure where he says: Grieve not the Holy Spirit, who put his seal upon you on the day of your redemption. There is a deep meaning in these few words and, among other truths, they reveal to us the effects of venial sins:—the Holy Ghost is grieved, he finds but little pleasure in that soul; there is danger of a separation; and though, as St. Augustine tells us, “he does not leave us unless we leave him,” and though, consequently, such a soul still possesses sanctifying grace, yet actual grace becomes less frequent and less powerful.

But when mortal sin—that act of the creature’s boldest malice and worst ingratitude—enters the soul, it breaks the sacred compact which closely united the Christian and the Holy Ghost. He, the spirit of love, is driven from the dwelling he had chosen for himself and had enriched with so many graces. A greater outrage cannot be offered to God by man; for as the Apostle so strongly expresses it, he hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath esteemed the Blood of the testament unclean, by which he was sanctified, and hath offered an affront to the Spirit of grace.

And yet, this miserable state of the sinner may excite the compassion of the Holy Ghost, who has been sent that he might ever be our Guest. Could anything be imagined more sad than the wretchedness of a Christian who, by having cast out the Divine Spirit, has lost the soul of his soul, forfeited the treasure of sanctifying grace, and robbed himself of all past merits? But, O mystery of mercy, worthy of eternal praise!—the Holy Ghost longs to return to the dwelling whence sin has driven him. Yes, such is the fullness of the Mission given by the Father and the Son to the Holy Ghost: he is Love, and in his love, he abandons not the poor ungrateful worm, but would restore him to his former dignity, and make him, once more, a partaker of the divine nature.

This Divine Spirit of Love labors to regain possession of his dwelling. He begins by exciting within the soul a fear of divine justice; he makes her feel the shame and anguish of spiritual death. He thus detaches her from evil, by what the holy Council of Trent calls “impulses of the Holy Ghost, not indeed as yet dwelling within the soul, but moving her.” Dissatisfied and unhappy, the soul sighs after a reconciliation; she breaks the chains of her slavery; the Sacrament of Penance then comes, bringing life-giving love, and her justification is completed. Who could describe the triumphant joy wherewith the Divine Spirit re-enters his dear abode? The Father and the Son return to the dwelling that for days, or perhaps for years, has been defiled with sin. The soul is restored to life. Sanctifying grace returns to her, just as it was on the day of her Baptism. As we have already said, she had lost, by mortal sin, that fund of merit which had developed the power of grace; it is now restored to her fully and entirely, for the power of the Holy Spirit is equal to the vehemence of his love.

This admirable raising from death to life is going on every day, yea every hour. It is part of the Mission given to the Holy Ghost. He does the work he came for—the sanctification of man. The Son of God came down from heaven, and gave himself to us. He found us slaves to Satan: he ransomed us at the price of his Blood, gave us everything that could lead us to himself and his heavenly Father, and, when he returned to heaven, there to prepare a place for us, he sent us his own Spirit to be our second Comforter, until he himself should return to us. We have seen how strenuously this Divine Aid undertakes his work. Let us fervently celebrate the love wherewith he treats us, and the wisdom and power wherewith he accomplishes his glorious Mission. May he be blessed and glorified! May he be known throughout the whole world, for it is through him that all blessings are imparted unto men! He is the soul of the Church; may she render him the homage of her praise! And may he be tenderly loved by those countless millions of hearts wherein he desires to dwell that he may give them eternal salvation and happiness!

This is the second of the three days’ Fast prescribed for this week. Tomorrow is the day for the Ordination of Priests and other sacred Ministers. It behooves us to redouble our efforts to obtain from God that the abundance of his grace may be in keeping with the sacred and ever-abiding Character which the Divine Spirit is to imprint on these aspirants to Holy Orders.

At Rome, today’s Station is in the Church of the Twelve Apostles, where repose the Bodies of St. Philip and St. James the Less. This allusion to the favored ones of the Cenacle is most appropriate, for they were the first guests of the Holy Ghost.

The Armenian Church again lends us its beautiful Hymn, in praise of the coming of the Paraclete.

(Canon sextæ diei.)

Immortalem efficiens calix effuse de cœlis, Sancte Spiritus, quem biberunt in cœnaculo chori sanctorum Apostolorum; benedictus es, Sancte Spiritus, tu vere.
O Holy Spirit! immortalising Chalice poured forth from heaven, of which drank the chior of holy Apostles in the Cenacle! Truly blessed art thou, O Holy Spirit!

Large diffusus es in nobis, ignis vivus; nam potati Apostoli, potarunt etiam terrarum orbem; benedictus es, Sancte Spiritus, tu vere.
O living Fire! widely hast thou been spread among us; for the Apostles, having drunk thee in, gave also the whole earth to drink of thee. Truly blessed art thou, O Holy Spirit!

Hodie magnopere exsultant Ecclesiæ gentilium, oblectati gaudio ex te, vivifice calix: benedictus es Sancte Spiritus, tu vere.
Today, the Churches of the Gentiles are in exceeding great joy, being delighted with gladness at partaking of thee, O life-giving Chalice! Truly blessed art thou, O Holy Spirit!

Qui a Paterna veritate procedens fons luminis, radios vibrante lumine oblectans replevisti Apostolos: precibus horum miserere.
Thou the Fountain of Light, proceeding from the Father’s truth, didst delight the Apostles, filling them with ray-darting light. Through their prayers, have mercy on us!

Qui essentiam tuam igneis mire ostendisti, eo ipso intelligibili divino lumine delectans, implevisti Apostolos; precibus horum miserere.
Showing thine essence by a miraculous Fire, thou delightedst the Apostles, by filling them with that same spiritual and divine Light. Through their prayers, have mercy on us!

Qui mundum ambientes tenebras initio in lucem permutasti, hodie mirabili atque divino lumine tuo delectans implevisti Apostolos; precibus horum miserere.
At the beginning of the world, thou changedst into light the darkness that involved the earth; today, thou delightedst the Apostles, by filling them with thy wonderful and divine light. Through their prayers, have mercy on us!

Qui ignem vibrantibus, ac alas pandentibus insides, hodie in chorum humanorum ineffabili amore effusus es de cœlis; benedictus es, Sancte Spiritus Deus.
Thou that sittest on the fiery and winged Cherubim, didst this day, with ineffable love, descend from heaven upon a choir of men. Blessed art thou, O Holy Spirit, our God!

Qui ab igneis linguis trisagio agiologaris, hodie in labia humanorum igniflue effusus es de cœlis: benedictus es, Sancte Spiritus Deus.
Thou that art hymned, by tongues of fire, as the thrice Holy, descendest this day as a stream of fire from heaven, and restest on the lips of men. Blessed art thou, O Holy Spirit, our God!

Qui ab igniformibus in fulgentissimis flammis semper videris, hodie terris ignigustus calix effusus es de cœlis; benedictus es, Sancte Spiritus Deus. Thou that art eternally seen, in thy most effulgent fires, by the Seraphim, art this day poured forth on earth from heaven,—the Chalice whose drink is fire. Blessed art thou, O Holy Spirit, our God!

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The following is taken from the Mozarabic Missal. It is an address made to the Faithful by the Bishop, during the Mass of Whit Sunday. 
He exhorts them to receive with devotion the Divine Spirit, who is about to visit them.


Quanta possumus, fratres charissimi, fide intentione, virtute, gaudio, exsultatione, præconio, devotione, obsequio, puritate, promissa nobis per Filium Dei, Sancti Spiritus munera hodie transmissa prædicemus. Reseretur nostrorum compago viscerum. Purgentur corda credentium, et pateant omnes sensus, atque recessus animorum. Quia nequaquam imensi laudem atque adventum, pectora angusta narrare sufficiunt. Ille etenim consors Patris, et Filii, unius ejusdemque substantiæ tertius in persona, sed unus in gloria. Quem cœlorum regna non capiunt, quia non eum circumscribunt neque claudunt, hodie ad angustum cordis nostri descendit hospitium. Et quis nostrum, fratres dilectissimi, tali se dignum hospite recognoscit? Quis condigna advenienti exhibeat alimenta? Quum et Angelorum et Archangelorum, et omnium Virtutum cœlestium ipse est vita. Et ideo quia nos impares tali habitatore cognoscimus, ut in nobis locum habitaculi sibimet præparet supplicemus. Amen.

Let us, dearly beloved Brethren, celebrate the gifts of the Holy Ghost, which were promised unto us by the Son of God, and were this day sent; let us celebrate them with all possible faith, intention, virtue, joy, gladness, praise, devotion, homage, and purity. Let us open our hearts, and purify them; let our mind and soul be dilated; for surely, narrow hearts are not able to speak the praise and coming of the Immense. He is co-equal with the Father and Son, of one and the same nature with them; he is the Third in Person, but One in glory. He, whom the heavens cannot contain,—for they neither confine nor limit him,—is coming down this day to the narrowed dwelling of our heart. Who among us, dearly beloved Brethren, would dare to think himself worthy of such a Guest? Who would think himself able to provide an entertainment worthy of Him, who is the Life of the very Angels, and Archangels, and all the heavenly Powers? Since, therefore, we acknowledge that we ourselves cannot provide him a suitable dwelling, let us beseech him to prepare one himself within us. Amen.

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The Gift of Understanding

The sixth Gift of the Holy Ghost raises the soul to a still higher state. The first five Gifts all tend to action. The Fear of God keeps man in his right place, for it humbles him; Godliness opens his heart to holy affections; Knowledge enables him to discern the path of salvation from that of perdition; Fortitude arms him for the battle; Counsel directs him in his thoughts and works:—thus gifted, he can act, and pursue his journey with the sure hope of coming at length to his heavenly home. But the Holy Ghost has other favors in store for him. He would give him a foretaste, here below, of the happiness that awaits him in the next life: it will give him confidence, it will encourage him, it will reward his efforts. Contemplation,—yes, this is the blissful region thrown open to him, and the Holy Ghost leads him thither by the gift of Understanding.

There will be a feeling of surprise and hesitation arising in the minds of many at hearing this word, Contemplation. They have been taught to look on Contemplation as an element of the spiritual life which is rarely to be hoped for, and almost impossible for persons who are in the ordinary walks of life. We must begin, then, by telling them that such an idea is a great and dangerous error, and one that checks the progress of the soul. No: Contemplation is a state to which, more or less, the soul of every Christian is called. It does not consist in those extraordinary effects which the Holy Ghost occasionally produces in some privileged souls, and by which he would convince the world fo the reality of the supernatural life. It is simply a relation of close intimacy existing between God and a soul that is faithful to him in Action. For such a soul, unless she herself put an obstacle, God reserves two favors: the first is the gift of Understanding, which consists in a supernatural light granted to the mind of man.

This light does not remove the sacred obscurity of Faith; but it enlightens the eye of the soul, strengthens her perception, and widens her view of divine things. It dispels clouds, which were occasioned by the previous weakness and ignorance of the soul. The exquisite beauty of the mysteries is now revealed to her, and the truths which hitherto seemed unconnected, now delight her by the sweetness of their harmony. It is not the face-to-face vision which heaven gives, but it is something incomparably brighter than the feeble glimmer of former days, when all was mist and doubt. The eye of her spirit discovers analogies and reasons, which do something more than please—they bring conviction. The heart opens under the influence of these bright beams, for they feed faith, cherish hope, and give ardor to love. Everything seems new to her. Looking at the past, and comparing it with the present, she wonders within herself how it is that Truth, which is ever the same, has a charm and power over her now which it once had not?

The reading or hearing of the Gospel produces an impression far deeper than formerly: she finds a relish in the words of Jesus which, in times past, she never experienced. She can understand so much better the object of the institution of the Sacraments. The holy Liturgy, with its magnificent ceremonies and sublime formulas, is to her an anticipation of heaven. She loves to read the Lives of the Saints; she can do so, and never feel a temptation to carp at their sentiments or conduct: she prefers their Writings to all others, and she finds in these communications with the friends of God a special increase of her spiritual good. No matter what may be the duties of her station in life, she has, in this glorious Gift, a light which guides her in each of them. The virtues required from her, however varied they may be, are so regulated that one is never done to the detriment of another; she knows the harmony that exists between them all, and she never breaks it. She is as far from scrupulosity as from tepidity, and when she commits a fault, she loses no time in repairing it. Sometimes, the Holy Ghost favors her with an interior speaking which gives her additional light for some special emergency.

The world and its maxims are mere vanities in her estimation; and when necessity obliges her to conform to what is not sinful in either, she does so without setting her heart upon it. Mere natural grandeur or beauty seems unworthy of notice to her whose eye has been opened by the Holy Spirit to the divine and eternal. To her, this outward world, which the carnal minded man loves to his own destruction, has but one fair side:—it is that the visible creation, with the impress of God’s beauty upon it, can be turned to its Maker’s glory. She gives him thanks when she uses it; she elevates it to the supernatural order by praising, as did the Royal Prophet, Him who shadowed the likeness of his own beauty on this world of created things, which men so often abuse to their perdition but which were intended as so many steps to lead us to our God.

The gift of Understanding teaches the Christian a just appreciation of the state of life in which God has placed him. It shows him the wisdom and mercy of those designs of Providence which have, at times, disconcerted his own plans, and led him in a direction the very opposite to his wishes. He sees that had he been left to arrange things according to his own views he would have gone astray; whereas now God has put him in the right place, though the workings of his Fatherly wisdom were at first hidden from him. Yes, he is so happy now! he enjoys such peace of soul! he knows not how sufficiently to thank his God for having brought him where he is without consulting his poor fancies! If such a Christian as this be called upon to give counsel&dmash;if either duty or charity require him to guide others—he may safely be trusted; the gift of Understanding teaches him to see the right thing for others as well as for himself. Not that he ever intrudes his counsel upon others, or makes himself adviser general to all around him; but if his advice be asked, he gives it, and the advice seems a reflex of the inward light that burns within him.

Such is the gift of Understanding. It is the true light of the soul, and it is weaker or stronger according to the measure of her correspondence with the other Gifts. Its safeguards are humility, restraint over the desires of the heart, and interior recollection. Dissipation of mind would dim its brightness, or even wholly put out the light. But where duty imposes occupation—not only busy and frequent, but even distracting—let the Christian discharge them with a pure intention, and his soul will not lose her recollection. Let him be single-hearted, let him be little in his own eyes, and that which God hides from the proud and reveals to the humble, will be manifested to him and abide with him.

If is evident from all this that the gift of Understanding is of immense importance to the salvation and sanctification of the soul. It behooves us, therefore, to beg it of the Holy Ghost with all the earnestness of supplication; for we must not forget that it is obtained rather by the longings of our love than by any efforts of the intellect. True—it is the intellect that receives the light; but it is the heart—the will—inflamed with love, that wins the radiant Gift. Hence that saying of Isaias: Unless ye Believe, ye shall not Understand! (Isaias vii.9, according to the Septuagint, as quoted by several of the Greek and Latin Fathers.) Let us, then, address ourselves to the Holy Spirit in these words of the Psalmist: Open thou our eyes, and we will consider the wondrous things of thy law! Give us understanding and we shall live! Let us beseech him in these words of the Apostle, wherein he is praying for his Ephesians: let us make his prayer our own: “Give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation, whereby we may have the knowledge of our God! Enlighten the eyes of our heart, that we may know what is the hope of our calling, and what the riches of the glorious inheritance prepared for the Saints!”
Saturday in Whitsun Week
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Guéranger  (1841-1875)

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Veni, sancte Spiritus, reple tuorum corda fidelium, et tui amoris in eis ignem accende. 
Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of thy faithful, and enkindle within them the fire of thy love.

We have been contemplating, with grateful hearts, the inexpressible devotedness, the divine untiredness, wherewith the Holy Ghost fulfills his mission in the souls of men; we have something still to add to our considerations, in order to have anything like a true idea of the wonders wrought by the Divine Guest when the heart raises no obstacles. And first of all, we deem it necessary to say a word to those Christians who—after hearing what we have said regarding the prodigies of power and love of the Divine spirit, and the sublime mystery of his presence among us—might be tempted to fear lest all this may, in some degree, tend to make us forget our dearest Jesus, who being in the form of God, and equal to God, emptied himself, being made in the likeness of man, and in habit found as man.

The superficial knowledge of their religion is the cause of so many Christians having very vague notions about the Holy Ghost and his special workings in the Church and the souls of men. You will find these same individuals well instructed upon the mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption; you will find them really devout in their honoring the Son of God: but judging from their conduct, you would say that they have put off their knowing and honoring the Holy Ghost until they get to heaven.

We would, therefore, tell them that the Mission of this Divine Spirit, far from being likely to make us forget what we owe to our Savior, is the grandest gift bestowed upon us by this our Redeemer. Who is it that produces and keeps up within us the loving and meritorious remembrance of our Jesus’ mysteries? It is the Holy Ghost, who only dwells in our hearts for the purpose of forming Christ, the new man, within us, to the end that we may be united with him for ever as his Members. Consequently, the love we bear to our Jesus is inseparable from that we bear to the Holy Ghost; and the love we have for this Divine Spirit closely unites us with the Son of God, from whom he (the Spirit) proceeds and is given to us. When we meditate on the sufferings of Jesus, we are excited to feelings of affectionate compassion, and it ought to be so; but how comes it that we never think, or if we think, that we never grieve over the resistances, the slights, the disloyalties, which the Holy Ghost is every day receiving from ourselves and others? It is indeed most true that we are Children of our heavenly Father: but why should we forget the immense debt we owe to the other two Divine Persons, who have come down from heaven to serve us, and at the risk of our not being grateful to them for it!

After this short but almost necessary digression, we will continue our reflections upon the workings of the Holy Ghost in the soul of man. As we were just saying, his aim is to form Christ within us by the imitation of this our Redeemer’s sentiments and actions. Who better than this Divine Spirit knows the Jesus, whose humanity he formed in Mary’s womb? the Jesus, in whom he dwelt so unreservedly? whom he aided and directed in all things, and that with a fullness of grace becoming the dignity of the human nature, which was personally united with the Divinity? We repeat,—his object is to reproduce, in our humble persons, a faithful copy of Jesus, as far as our fallen nature will permit so grand a work to be realized.

The Holy Spirit produces the most noble results in this his work, which is one truly worthy of a God. We have already seen how he wins from sin and Satan the creatures purchased by Christ; now let us consider him achieving his victories in what the Apostle so magnificently calls the consummation of the Saints. He takes them as he finds them, that is, fallen children of Adam; he first applies to them the ordinary means of sanctification, though he intends to carry them to extraordinary virtue. The courage wherewith he carries on his work is truly divine. He has to deal with nature, fallen indeed and tainted with a poison which is mortal, but a nature which retains some resemblance to its Creator; it is a ruin, but still it is an image. The Spirit then has to destroy what there is of corruption and defilement; at the same time, he has to purify and foster what has not been irremediably affected by the poison. The case requires an infinite care. He knows where and when to cut or burn, and what is very wonderful, he makes the invalid himself help him to apply the saving remedies. Just as he does not save the sinner without the sinner’s sharing in the work, so neither does he sanctify the Saint without the Saint’s cooperation. But he inspirits and encourages him by countless touches of grace, so that while corrupt nature keeps gradually losing ground in the soul, the healthy parts are being transformed into Christ, and finally the whole man is under the perfect mastery of grace.

The virtues are neither inactive nor half-formed in such a Christian as this; and each day, they grow more and more vigorous. The Holy Spirit suffers none of them to lag behind, for he is unceasingly showing his disciple the great original whom he is to copy, namely Jesus, in whom are all the virtues and all perfectly. There are times when he makes the soul feel her own weakness, in order that she may humble herself; he permits her to feel certain repugnances and temptations;—but these are precisely the seasons wherein he evinces the most watchful solicitude. The soul must act, and she must suffer; the Holy Ghost loves her with extreme tenderness, and will never permit her to be tried above her strength. Oh! what a wonderful work is—this to enable a poor fallen creature to be a Saint! Of course, there will be moments of discouragement, there may be defects now and then; but the work goes on in spite of all, for the Divine Spirit keeps up within the soul an unchanging love, which is ever burning out the dross, while its own bright flame is every day gaining new intensity and beauty.

The human element at last disappears;—it is Christ who lives in this new man, and this man lives in Christ. His life is one of prayer, for it is in prayer that he finds union with his Jesus; the more he prays, the closer is the bond. The Holy Ghost is continually opening out new charms of truth to him, in order to encourage him to seek his sovereign good in prayer. He has made it the mystic ladder; it rests on earth, but its summit reaches to high heaven. Who could tell the favors bestowed by God on a soul that has broken every tie of self-love and interest that, with oneness of purpose and energy, she may see and enjoy her Lord and lose herself eternally in his infinite beauty! The whole Blessed Trinity is devoted to such a soul: the Father embraces her in his paternal affection, the Son has no reserves of his love towards her, the Holy Ghost is ever working within her, enlightening and consoling her.

The citizens of heaven, with their wonted interest in all that concerns us mortals—so that they keep a feast of joy at the conversion of one poor sinner—are enraptured at the lovely sight of a Saint; they yearn over him with an indescribable love; they sing a loud hymn of praise to the Holy Ghost who has produced such a master piece of perfection out of such materials as fallen nature yields. At times, the Blessed Mother evinces her joy by appearing to this her new-born child; the Angels show themselves to this Brother upon whom they look as worthy to be throned among them; the Saints treat him with an intimacy which tells him that they expect him to be soon their companion in the home of everlasting glory. Is it to be wondered at, that this dear child of the Holy Ghost should be sometimes allowed to stay the laws of nature and work miracles in favor of his suffering or necessitous fellow mortals? Does he not love them with an affection which springs from the love which he has for God, and which is not shackled by the egotism of a heart divided between the world and the Creator?

Nor must we forget to speak of the grandest feature in the soul thus perfected by the Holy Ghost. Men of the world may scoff, and frivolous spirits may feel skeptical, at what we are going to say; it is not the less true and thank God it is not so rare as some among us pretend. It evinces the power of the merits won for us by our Redeemer; it testifies the greatness of his love for mankind it manifests the divine energy of the Holy Ghost in the souls that put no obstacles to his working within them. The soul, then, that we have been describing, is called to an Espousal with Jesus, not only in heaven, but now and on this earth of exile. Jesus loves, as only a God can, the Spouse he has redeemed with his Blood; and this Spouse is not only his beloved Church; it is this soul of whom we are speaking who was once mere nothingness, whose present existence is not known by the world—and yet her beauty is such that her Creator deigns to say that he, the King, greatly desireth it. He, together with the Holy Ghost, has wrought this Beauty within her, and he wishes her to be all his. Then is achieved, by the Holy Spirit, and in favor of an individual soul, the same mystery that we have seen accomplished in the Church herself: he prepares her, he establishes her in unity, he fixes her in truth, he perfects her in sanctity. This done, the Spirit and the Bride say: Come!

It would take a volume to describe the workings of the Holy Ghost in the Saints, and we are obliged to be satisfied with this hurried and imperfect sketch. The little we have said was a necessity, in order that we might give a general idea of the Mission of the Holy Ghost upon earth, such as we are taught it is by the words of Sacred Scripture, and by the principles of dogmatic and mystical Theology. What we have said today will, moreover, assist our readers in their study and appreciation of the Saints. In the course of the Liturgical Year, during which the names and actions of the Saints have been so frequently proclaimed and celebrated by the Church herself, it was important to find an occasion for honoring the Sanctifying Spirit: and surely, Pentecost was the most fitting season for our saying what we have.

This is the last day of Paschal Time; it is the last of the Pentecost Octave; we must not allow it to pass without our offering to the Queen of Saints the homage that is so justly her due, and without presenting our adoration and praise to the Holy Ghost for all the glorious things he has achieved in her. After the sacred Humanity of our Redeemer, which received from this Holy Spirit every gift that could make it worthy, as far as a creature can be, of the Divine Nature to which the Incarnation united it—Mary’s soul and whole being were adorned with grace above all other creatures together. It could not but be so, as must be evident to us if we reflect for a moment upon the meaning of a “Mother of God.” Mary in her single self forms a world apart in the order of grace; she alone was, for a short time, the Church of Jesus. The Holy Spirit was at first sent for her alone, and he filled her with Grace from the instant of her Immaculate Conception. That Grace developed itself in her, by the continuous action of the Holy Ghost until at length she became worthy, as far as a creature could be, of conceiving and giving birth to the very Son of God, who became thus the Son of Mary. During these days of Pentecost, we have seen the new gifts wherewith the Divine Spirit prepared her for her new office. Is it possible for us her Children to think of all these things and not be ardent in our admiration of her? or not be overflowing with gratitude for the august Paraclete, who has deigned to show such munificence to this our own matchless Mother?

At the same time we cannot help being overpowered with delight at the thought of the perfection, wherewith this favorite of the Holy Spirit corresponded with the graces she received from him. Not one was lost, not one was fruitless, as is sometimes the case with even the holiest souls. At her very commencement she was as the rising morn; from that time, her sanctity gradually mounted to the mid-day of its perfection, and that mid-day was to have no setting. Even before the Archangel announced to her that she was to conceive the Son of God in her chaste womb, she had already conceived him in her soul, as the Holy Fathers teach us. The Eternal Word loved her as his Spouse, even before he conferred upon her the honor of being his Mother. If Jesus could say of a soul that had needed regeneration: “They that seek me will find me in the heart of Gertrude,”—what must have been the harmony of soul existing between him and his Blessed Mother? how close must have been their union? Trials of the severest kind awaited her in this world; she bore them all with heroic fortitude; and when the hour came for her to unite her own sacrifice with that made by her Son, she was ready. After Jesus’ Ascension, the Holy Ghost descended upon her; he opened out to her a new career, which would require her being an exile for many long years from the heaven where her Son was reigning:—she did not hesitate to accept the bitter chalice thus offered to her; she proved herself to be indeed the Handmaid of the Lord, desirous above all other things to do his will in every tittle.

So that the triumph of the Holy Ghost in Mary’s person was of the most perfect kind: how grand soever might be his gifts, she worthily corresponded with them all. The sublime office of Mother of God, to which she was called, entitled her to graces in keeping with such a dignity; she received them and turned them to the richest account. In return for her fidelity, as also in consideration of her incomparable dignity, the Holy Ghost allotted to Mary the place she well merited in the great work he had come to do, namely, “the Consummation of the Saints and the formation of the Church, the Body of Christ.” Her divine Son is the Head of the immense Body of the Faithful; he gives it unity; but she herself represents the Neck, whereby life and motion are communicated from the Head to the rest of the Body. Jesus is the chief agent; but he acts upon each member through Mary. Her union with the Incarnate Word is immediate on account of her being to him what no other creature could be; but with regard to us, the graces and favors, the light and consolation, which we receive from our Divine Head, come to us through Mary.

Hence the influence of this Blessed Mother upon the Church in general, and upon each individual in particular. She unites us to her Son, and he unites us to the Divinity. The Father gave us his Son; the Son chose a Mother from among his creatures; and the Holy Ghost, by giving fruitfulness to this Virgin Mother, perfected the union of Creatures with their Creator. The end God proposed in creation was to effect this union; and now that the Son is glorified and the Holy Ghost is come, we understand the whole divine plan. More favored than those who lived before the descent of the Divine Spirit, we have, not only in promise but in reality, a Brother who is crowned with the diadem of the divinity; a Paraclete who is to abide with us forever, to enlighten our path and strengthen us; a Mother whose intercession is all powerful; a Church, a second Mother, by and from whom we receive all these blessings.

The Station at Rome is in St. Peter’s. It was in this noble Basilica that the Neophytes of Pentecost appeared in their white robes for the last time, and were presented to the Pontiff as the last lambs of the Pasch, which closes today.

This Saturday is now kept as the day for Ordinations. The three days’ fasting and prayer prescribed by holy Church have rendered heaven propitious; we may confidently hope that the Holy Ghost, who is about to seal the new Priests and Sacred Ministers with the Sacramental Character, will vouchsafe to act with all the plenitude of his goodness as well as with all the might of his power; for, upon this day, there is question not only of an immense privilege granted to those who are Ordained, but likewise of the salvation of the flocks who are hereafter to be entrusted to their care.

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We will praise the Divine Spirit with these concluding stanzas of the Hymn used by the Armenian Liturgy during the Feast of Pentecost.

(Canon septimæ diei.)

Qui in pennis agilibus immaterialium volantium ac ignem vibrantium Seraphim supersedens, in providentia curam geris creaturarum; Spiritus tu Sancte, benedictus es a creaturis tuis.
Thou that sittest on the swift wings of the fire-darting Seraphim,—thou takest all creatures under the care of thy providence. O Holy Spirit, thou art blessed by thy creatures!

Qui præclarissima ac miroplena voce cum Patre et Filio semper glorificaris, ac benigne respicis ad creaturas; Spiritus tu Sancte, benedictus es a creaturis tuis.
Thou that, in grandest sweetest hymns, art ever glorified together with the Father and the Son,—thou lookest with mercy on thy creatures. O Holy Spirit, thou art blessed by thy creatures!

Hodie divina Providentia in cœnaculo personans ventoso sonore, atque Apostolos inebrians distributus es in creaturis; Spiritus tu Sancte, benedictus es a creaturis tuis.
Today, with divine provision, thou descendedst with sound of a mighty wind into the Cenacle, and, by inebriating the Apostles with thy grace, thou wast given to creatures. O Holy Spirit, thou art blessed by thy creatures!

With the following fine Sequence of Adam of Saint Victor, we close the homage of Liturgical praise to the Spirit of the Father and the Son.


Veni, summe Consolator,
Spes salutis, vitæ dator,
Adsit tua gratia!
Dulcis ardor, ros divine
Bonitatis germine
Eadem substantia.

Come, O best of Comforters, Hope of our salvation, Giver of Life! aid us with thy grace. O sweet Fire, O Divine Dew! thou art, with Father and Son, the Germ of Infinite Goodness.

Ab utroque derivatus,
Et a neutro separatus,
Ad utrumque colligatus
Sempiterno fœdere;
Ros et vapor utriusque,
Donet Pater Filiusque
Quod effluas ad nos usque
Largifluo munere.

Thou proceedest from both; from neither ever separate, but united to both with an everlasting link. O thou their Dew and Spirit! may the Father and Son grant thee to flow, in copious gift, even unto us.

Rorem audis et vaporem,
Crede simul et odorem
Quo Deus discernitur.
Rorem istum quem emittit
Qui plus gustat, magis sitit,
Nec ardor reprimitur.

Christian! he is the Dew and Spirit: believe, too, that he is the Fragrance that tells thee he is God. The more we drink of this heaven-sent Dew, the more we thirst to drink, and pant the more to have.

Plebs ut sacra renascatur,
Pper hunc unda consecratur,
Cui super ferebatur
In rerum exordium;
Fons, origo pietatis,
Fons emundans a peccatis,
Fons de fonte deitatis,
Fons sacrator fontium!

That we may be regenerated as Children of God,He gives water its mystic power, He that moved over the waters when this world began. He is the Fount of holiness, the Fount that cleanses us from sin, the Fount that springs from the Fountain Godhead, the Fount that consecrates the Font.

Ignis vive, vivax unda,
Munda sinus et fecunda,
Subministra gratiam;
Charitatis tactos igne,
Nosmet tibi fac benigne
Sanctitatis hostiam.

O living Fire, O life-giving Stream! cleanse and fructify our hearts, and give them grace. Inflame us with the fire of Charity, and then, in mercy, make us a holy offering to thyself.

Patris, Nati pium Flamen,
Vitiorum medicamen,
Fessis esto sublevamen,
Mæstis consolatio.
Castus amor et honestus,
Æstus ardens, sed modestus,
Quos urit ardor incestus
Tua sanet unctio.

Dear Spirit of the Father and the Son! thou Remedy of Sin! be to the wearied Help, and to the sorrowing Consolation! O chaste and beautiful Love! O burning, yet purest Love! may thine Unction heal the wound of seething lust.

Vox non sono designata,
Vox subtilis, vox privata,
Vox beatis inspirata,
O vox dulcis, o vox grata,
Sona nostris mentibus!
Lux depellens falsitatem,
Lux inducens veritatem,
Vitam atque sanitatem
Et æternam claritatem
Nobis confer omnibus.

O soundless Voice! Voice mysterious and still! Voice whispered in the faithful ear! O Voice most sweet and dear!—speak to these our souls! O lie-dispelling Light! O truth-bearing Light! grant to each and all of us thy servants life, and heal, and brightness everlasting! Amen.

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The Gift of Wisdom

The second favor destined by the Holy Ghost for the soul that is faithful to him in action is the gift of Wisdom, which is superior to that of Understanding. The two are, however, connected together, inasmuch as the object shown by the gift of Understanding is held and relished by the gift of Wisdom. When the Psalmist invites us to draw nigh to God, he bids us relish our sovereign good: Taste, says he, and see that the Lord is sweet! Holy Church prays for us, on the Day of Pentecost, that we may relish what is right and just—recta sapere—because the union of the soul with God is rather an experience or tasting, than a sight, for such sight would be incompatible with our present state. The light given by the gift of Understanding is not intuitive; it gladdens the soul, and gives her an instinctive tendency to the truth—but its own final perfection depends upon its union with Wisdom. which is, as it were, its end.

Understanding, therefore, is light; Wisdom is union. Now, union with the sovereign good is attained by the will, that is, by love, which is in the will. Thus, in the angelic hierarchy, the Cherubim with their sublime intellect are below the Seraphim, who are inflamed with love. It is quite true that the Cherubim have ardent love, and the Seraphim profound intelligence; but they differ from each other by their predominating quality; and that choir is the higher of the two which approaches the nearer to the Divinity by its love and relish of the sovereign good.

The seventh gift is called by the beautiful name of Wisdom which is taken from its uniting the soul, by love, to the Eternal Wisdom. This Eternal Wisdom, who mercifully puts himself within our reach even in this vale of tears, is the Divine Word, whom the Apostle calls the brightness of the Father’s glory and the figure of his substance. It is he who sent us the Holy Ghost, that he might sanctify us and lead us to himself; so that the sublimest of the workings of this Holy Spirit is his procuring our union with Him who, being God, became Flesh and, for our sakes, made himself obedient unto death, even to the death of the Cross. By the mysteries wrought in his Humanity, Jesus enabled us to enter within the veil of his Divinity; by faith, enlightened by supernatural Understanding, we see the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father; and just as he made himself a partaker of our lowly human nature—so does he give himself the uncreated Wisdom, to be loved and relished by that created Wisdom, which the Holy Ghost forms within us, and is the noblest of his Gifts.

Happy, then, they who possess this precious Wisdom, which makes the soul relish God and the things that are of God! The sensual man, says the Apostle, perceiveth not the things that are of the Spirit of God; and in order that he may enjoy this Gift, he must become spiritual, and docile to the teachings of the Holy Spirit; and then there would happen to him what has happened to thousands of others, namely, that after being a slave to a carnal life, he would recover his Christian freedom and dignity. The man who is less depraved than the former, but still imbued with the spirit of this world, is also incapable of receiving or even comprehending the gifts of Understanding and Wisdom. He is ever ridiculing those whom he cannot help knowing possess these gifts; he never leaves them in peace, but is ever carping at their conduct, setting himself in opposition to them and, at times, seeks to satiate his jealousy by bitter persecution. Jesus assures us that the World cannot receive the Spirit of Truth, because it seeth him not, nor knoweth him. They, therefore, who would possess the supreme good must first divorce themselves from the spirit of the world, which is the personal enemy of the Spirit of God. If they break asunder the chain that now fetters them, they may hope to be gifted with Wisdom.

The special result of this Gift is great vigor in the soul, and energy in all her powers. Her whole life is, so to speak, seasoned with it; the effect may be likened to that produced in the body by wholesome diet. There is no disagreement between such a soul and her God; and hence, her union with him is almost inevitable. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, says the Apostle, there is liberty. Everything is easy to the soul that is under the influence of the Spirit of Wisdom. Things that are hard to nature are sweet to such a soul; and suffering does not appal her, as once it did. To say that God is near to her is saying too little;—she is united with him. And yet, she must keep herself in an attitude of profound humility, for pride may reach her even in that exalted state, and oh! how terrible would be her fall!

Let us, with all the earnestness of our hearts, beseech the Holy Ghost to give us this Wisdom, which will lead us to our Jesus, the Infinite Wisdom. One who was wise under the Old Law aspired to this Gift, when he wrote these words, of which we Christians alone can appreciate the full meaning: I wished, and Understanding was given to me; and I called upon God and the Spirit of Wisdom came upon me. So that we are to ask for this gift, and with great fervor. In the New Covenant, we have the Apostle St. James thus urging us to pray for it: If any of you want Wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men abundantly, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him; but let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. O Holy Spirit! we presume to follow this injunction of the Apostle, and say to thee: 0 thou who proceedest from Power and Wisdom! give us Wisdom! He that is Wisdom has sent thee unto us, that thou mayst unite us to him. Take us from ourselves, and unite us to Him who united himself to our weak nature. O sacred source of Unity! be thou the link uniting us for ever to Jesus; then will the Father adopt us as his heirs, and joint-heirs with Christ!

The series of the Mysteries is now completed, and the Moveable Cycle of the Liturgy has come to its close. We first passed, during Advent, the four weeks which represented the four thousand years spent by mankind in entreaties to the Eternal Father that he would send his Son. Our Emmanuel at length came down; we shared in the joys of his Birth, in the dolors of his Passion, in the glory of his Resurrection, in the triumph of his Ascension. Lastly, we have witnessed the descent of the Holy Ghost upon us, and we know that he is to abide with us to the last. Holy Church has assisted us throughout the whole of this sublime drama, which contains the work of our salvation. Her heavenly canticles, her magnificent ceremonies, have instructed us day by day, enabling us to follow and understand each Feast and Season. Blessed be this Mother for the care wherewith she has placed all these great Mysteries before us, thus giving us light and love! Blessed be the sacred Liturgy, which has brought us so much consolation and encouragement. We have now to pass through the Immoveable portion of the Cycle: we shall find sublime spiritual episodes, worthy of all our attention. Let us, then, prepare to resume our journey: let us take fresh courage in the thought that the Holy Ghost will direct our steps and, by the sacred Liturgy of which he is the inspirer, will continue to throw open to us treasures of precept and example.
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A reminder ...