Veni, Sancte Spiritus (Come, Holy Spirit)
by Pope John Paul II
1. Credo in Spiritum Sanctum, Dominum et Vivificantem:
I Believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the Giver of Life.
With the Words of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, the Church Proclaims
Her Faith in the Paraclete; a
Faith that is Born of the Apostolic Experience of
Pentecost. The Passage from the Acts of the Apostles, which Today's Liturgy has Offered for our Meditation, recalls
in fact the Marvels Worked on the Day of Pentecost,
when with Great Astonishment the Apostles saw Jesus' Words come
True. As was mentioned in the Passage from Saint John's Gospel, Proclaimed a few moments ago, on the Eve of
His Passion He had
assured them: "I will Pray the Father and He will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever"
(John 14:16). This "Counselor, the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name, He will
teach you all things, and bring to your Remembrance all that I have said to you" (John 14:26).
And the Holy Spirit, coming down upon them with Extraordinary
Power, Enabled them to Proclaim the Teaching of Christ Jesus to the Whole World.
Their Courage was so great, their Determination so sure, that they were Prepared to do Anything, even to Give-up their Life. The
Gift of the Spirit had Released their Deepest Energies, concentrating them on the Mission
Entrusted to them by the Redeemer. And it will be the
Counselor, the Parakletos, Who
will Guide them in Preaching the Gospel to all. The
Spirit will Teach them the Whole Truth, Drawing
It from the Wealth of Christ's Word, so that, in turn, they may
Communicate It to People in Jerusalem and the Rest of the World.
You are a Providential Expression of the Spirit's Action
2. How can we not Give Thanks to God for the Wonders the
Spirit has never ceased to accomplish in these Two (2) Millenniums of
Christian Life? Indeed, the Event of Grace
at Pentecost has continued to bear Its
Marvelous Fruits, everywhere instilling Apostolic Zeal, a Desire for Contemplation, the
Commitment to Live and Serve God and our Brothers and Sisters with Complete Dedication.
Today too, the Spirit Sustains Great and Small Acts of Forgiveness and Prophecy in the
Church and Gives Life to ever new Charisms
and Gifts, which Attest-to His Ceaseless
Action in Human Hearts.
An Eloquent Proof of this is Today's Solemn Liturgy attended by a Vast Number of those
belonging to Movements and New Communities, who in these days have held their World Congress in Rome. Yesterday, in this same Saint
Peter's Square, we enjoyed an Unforgettable, Festive Gathering with Songs, Prayers and Testimonies. We experienced the Atmosphere of
Pentecost which Made Visible in a way the
Spirit's Inexhaustible Fruitfulness in the
Church. The Movements and New Communities, Providential Expressions of the New Springtime Brought-forth by the
Spirit with the Second Vatican Council, announce the Power of
God's Love which in Overcoming Divisions and Barriers of every kind, Renews the Face of the
Earth to Build the Civilization of Love.
3. Saint Paul writes in the Letter to the Romans, Proclaimed a few moments ago: "All who are led by the
Spirit of God are Sons of God" (Romans 8:14).
These Words suggest a further way of Understanding the Wonderful Action of the Spirit in
our Life as Believers. They Open the Way for us to reach the Human Heart: the
Holy Spirit, Whom the
Church calls upon to give "Light to the Senses", visits Man Inwardly and
Directly Touches the Depths of His Being.
The Apostle continues: "But you are not in the Flesh, you are in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God really
dwells in you .... For all who are led by the Spirit of God are Sons of God" (cf. Romans 8:9, 14).
Contemplating then the Mysterious Action of the
Paraclete, he adds with Deep Feeling: "For you did not Receive the Spirit of Slavery ... but
you have Received the Spirit of Sonship. When we cry 'Abba, Father!', it is the Spirit Himself Bearing Witness with our Spirit that we
are Children of God" (Romans 8:15-16). Here we are at the Centre of the
Mystery! It is in the Meeting between the Holy Spirit and the Human
Spirit that we find the very Heart of what the Apostles Experienced at
Pentecost. This Extraordinary Experience is present in the Church
Born of that Event and accompanies Her down the
Under the Holy Spirit's Action, Man Fully Discovers that His
Spiritual Nature is not Veiled by Corporeity but, on the contrary,
it is His Spirit which gives True Meaning to His Body.
Indeed, by Living according-to the Spirit, He Fully Manifests the
Gift of His Adoption as a Son of God.
It is in this Context that we find the Fundamental Question of the Relationship between Life
and Death, which Paul touches-on when he says: "If you Live according
to the Flesh you will Die, but if by the Spirit, you put to Death the Deeds of the Body, you will Live" (Romans
8:13). It is exactly so: Docility to the Spirit gives Man Continuous-Opportunities for Life.
Docility to the Spirit
Spiritual Writers compare these Two (2) Ways of being led by the
Holy Spirit to Progress made by Rowing-a-boat, and by being carried-forward by
means of a Sail. The Rowing (in which we retain Mastery and Direction of the boat) is much more
Laborious and Slower; but with Sails (given a
favorable wind) the Progress is with much Less Effort and Greater Speed. The Parallel here is clear. When aided, only
by the Infused Virtues, we retain the Direction of our Actions, but much
more Effort is required, and we are subject to much
Inconstancy because of our many Human Weaknesses. The
Gifts of the Holy Spirit are compared to the Sails that Catch the
Divine Inspirations, and carry us along as the Holy Spirit
leads us Where and When He Wills, we Consenting-to
His Action (Docility).
Adults in the Faith and Courageous Witnesses
4. Dear Brothers and Sisters, it is a Great Joy for me to greet all of you who have wished to join me in Thanking the
Lord for the Gift of the Spirit. This Totally Missionary Celebration
Extends our Gaze to the Whole World, with a Particular Thought for the many Missionary Priests, Religious and Laypeople who spend their
Lives spreading the Truth of the Gospel,
often in the most Difficult Conditions.
I greet those of you here present: the Cardinals, my Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood, the numerous members of the
various Institutes of Consecrated Life and Apostolic Life, the Young People, the Sick and
especially all who have come from so far away for this Solemn Occasion.
I would especially like to mention the Movements and the New Communities, which had their meeting yesterday and which I see present
today in Large Numbers. Not so large as yesterday, but still large. I extend a Special Greeting to the Young People who are about to
Receive the Sacraments of Confirmation and
of the Holy Spirit
Fear of the Lord
Infused Virtues and Gifts of the Holy Spirit reside within the Essence of Man's
Natural Soul, giving its Facilities/Powers of Intellect and Will the Capacity for Supernatural Acts.
What Exciting Prospects the Apostle's Words offer to each of you, Dear Friends! Through the Actions and Words of the
Sacrament of Confirmation, you will be given
the Holy Spirit, Who will Complete your
Conformity to Christ, already Begun in Baptism,
to make you Adults in the Faith and Authentic and Courageous Witnesses to the
Risen One. With Confirmation, the
Paraclete opens before you a Path of Continual Rediscovery of the
Grace of Adoption as Children of God, which will make you
Joyful Seekers of the Truth.
The Eucharist, the Food of Immortal Life,
which in a Few Moments you will taste for the First Time, will make you ready to Love and
Serve your Brothers and Sisters, capable of Offering Opportunities for Life and Hope, Free from the Domination of the
Flesh and of Fear. By letting yourselves be Guided by
Jesus, you will be able to Experience Concretely the Marvelous Action of His
Spirit, which the Apostle Paul speaks of in the Eighth Chapter of his Letter to the Romans.
This text, whose Message is Particularly Timely in this Year Dedicated to the Holy Spirit,
will be read today with Greater Attention, as a Tribute to what Christ's Spirit accomplishes
in each of us.
5. Veni, Sancte Spiritus!
The Magnificent Sequence, which contains a Rich Theology of the Holy Spirit, would also
be Worthy of Meditation, stanza by stanza. Here we will Reflect only on the First Word:
Veni, Come! It recalls the Waiting of the Apostles after
Christ's Ascension into Heaven.
In the Acts of the Apostles, Luke presents them to us Gathered in the Upper Room in Prayer
with the Mother of Jesus
(cf. Acts 1:14). What better words than these could Express their Prayer:
"Veni, Sancte Spiritus" - the Invocation, that is, of the One
Who Moved over the Face of the Waters at the Beginning of the World
(cf , Genesis 1:2), Whom Jesus had Promised them as the
Church continues to Pray: 'Come, Holy Spirit'
The Hearts of Mary and the Apostles at those
moments were Longing-for His Coming, Alternating between Ardent
Faith and the Confession of Human Inadequacy. The Church's Piety
has Interpreted and Passed-on this Sentiment in the Hymn "Veni, Sancte Spiritus". The Apostles know
that the Work Christ has Entrusted to them is Arduous, but Decisive for the History of
Humanity's Salvation. Will they be able to Complete it? The
Lord Reassures their Hearts. At every step of the Mission that will lead
them to Proclaim and Witness to the Gospel to the furthest Corners of the Globe, they will
be able to Count-on the Spirit Promised by Christ.
The Apostles, recalling Christ's Promise on the Days between the
Ascension and Pentecost, will focus their every Thought and Sentiment
on that Veni - Come!
6. Veni, Sancte Spiritus! Thus beginning Her
Invocation to the Holy Spirit, the Church
makes Her Own, the Substance of the Apostles' Prayer
as they Gathered with Mary in the Upper Room; indeed,
She extends it in History and makes it Ever-Timely.
Veni, Sancte Spiritus! Thus She says over-and-over
in every Corner of the Earth, Her Fervor unchanged, Firmly Aware that
She must Remain in the Upper Room, always awaiting the Spirit.
At the same time, She knows that She must
Leave the Upper Room and Travel the World's Roads, with the ever New Task of Bearing Witness to the
Mystery of the Spirit.
Veni, Sancte Spiritus! So we Pray with
Mary, Sanctuary of the Holy Spirit, a most Precious Dwelling-Place
of Christ among us, so that she may Help us
to be Living Temples of the Spirit and Tireless Witnesses of the
Veni, Sancte Spiritus!
Veni, Sancte Spiritus!
Veni, Sancte Spiritus!