Saturday, June 11, 2022

Saturday in Whitsun Week



From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

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 fulfils 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.[1]

The superficial knowledge of their religion is the reason why so many Christians have 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 honouring the Son of God; but, judging from their conduct, you would say that they have put off knowing and honouring 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 Saviour, 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 dwells in our hearts for the sole 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 of, or, if we think of, 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 receiving nought but ingratitude!

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 Jesus, whose Humanity He formed in Mary’s womb? Jesus, in whom He dwelt so unreservedly? Whom He aided and directed in all things, 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.[2] 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 out 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 co-operation. 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 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 in all perfection. 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 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, whilst 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.[3] 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 favours bestowed by God on a soul that has broken every tie of self-love and interest, in order 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 us, which makes them keep a feast of joy at the conversion of one poor sinner,[4] 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 masterpiece 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 sometimes be allowed to stay the laws of nature, and work miracles in favour 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 its 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 sceptical, 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 bride He has redeemed with His Blood; and this bride is not only the 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 whose beauty is such that her Creator deigns to say that He, the King, greatly desireth it.[5] 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, in favour 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’![6]

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 to-day 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 honouring the sanctifying Spirit: and surely, Pentecost was the most fitting season for doing so.

This is the last day of Paschal Time; it is the last of the Pentecost octave; we must not allow it to pass without offering to the Queen of saints the homage which 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 favourite 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;[7] from that time, her sanctity gradually mounted to the midday of its perfection, and that midday 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 bride, even before He conferred upon her the honour 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.[8] 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 favours, 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 has come, we understand the whole divine plan. More favoured 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 for ever, 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 to-day.

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.

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. 

Qui praeclarissima ac mi- roplena voce cum Patre et Filio semper glorificaris, ac benigne respicis ad creaturas; Spiritus tu sancte, benedictus es a creaturis tuis. 

Hodie divina Providentia in cœnaculo personans ventoso sonore, atque apostolos inebrians distributus es in creaturis; Spiritus tu sancte, benedictus es a creaturis tuis. 
Thou that sittest on the swift wings of the fire-darting Seraphim, takest all creatures under the care of thy providence. O holy Spirit, thou art blessed by thy creatures! 

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! 

To-day, 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!



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

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

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

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

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

Patris, Nati pium Flamen,
Vitiorum medicamen,
Fessis esto sublevamen,
Mœstis consolatio.

Castus amor et honestus,
Æstus ardens, sed modestus,
Quos urit ardor incestus
Tua sanet unctio. 

Vox non sono designata,
Vox subtilis, vox privata,
Vox beatis inspirata,
O vox dulcis,
O vox grata,
Sona nostris mentibus!

Lux dispellens falsitatem,
Lux inducens veritatem,
Vitam atque sanitatem
Et æternam claritatem
Nobis confer omnibus.

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

O soundless voice!
Voice mysterious and still!
Voice whispered in the faithful ear!
O voice most sweet
and dear!
speak to our souls!

O lie-dispelling light!
O truth-bearing light!
grant to each and all of us
thy servants life, and health,
and brightness everlasting.


[1] Philipp. ii. 6, 7.
[2] Eph. iv. 12.
[3] Gal. ii. 20.
[4] St. Luke, xv. 7.
[5] Ps. xliv. 12.
[6] Apoc. xxii. 17.
[7] Cant. vi. 9.
[8] Eph. iv. 12.


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