One of the things I really love about the Episcopal Church is the liturgical seasons we follow. Right now we are in a Season that celebrates Sundays after Pentecost. This part of the year is also known as “Ordinary Time” by our brothers and sisters in the Roman Catholic Church, but I really like that notion of Sundays after Pentecost. Recall that it was Pentecost and the gift of the Holy Spirit that gave birth to the Church – read the book of Acts for that wonderful story of transformation from fear and hiding to bold proclamation, from people turning away from the good news to entire households accepting baptism, from the sense that faith in Christ was restricted to one people to the truth that all are welcome in the Christian fold. It’s a great read and very inspiring!
Since the 12th Century, a beautiful prayer has been addressed to that Holy Spirit. It’s known as the Veni Sancte Spiritus prayer – or Come, Holy Spirit. For a beautiful hymn by the same name, check out our 1982 Hymnal, number 226.
Here’s a translation of the Veni Sancte Spiritus that Gina shared with me:
Come Holy Spirit, and shine forth from heaven the rays of your light.
Come, lover of the poor,
Come, giver of gifts,
Come, light of hearts.
Sweet guest of the soul-
You are our rest in labor-
Our coolness in the heat, our comfort in weeping.
O most blessed light, fill the hearts of your faithful ones.
Cleanse what is soiled,
Water what is parched,
Heal what is wounded,
Bend what is stiff,
Warm what is cold,
Lead home what has gone astray.
Give to your faithful ones who trust in you your seven-fold gifts.
Give them a reward of a day lived well.
Give them heaven when their days are over.
Give them a joy that never ends. Amen.
How about you? Where do you need to invite the Holy Spirit into your life? Which relationship, which area of struggle, which wound, or heartache, or desolate place is calling out for God’s comfort and strength? How about your joys – the things that make you laugh, shout, smile and care… see there, too, the Holy Spirit. Our living, our loving, our efforts, our failures, the times we dust ourselves off, stand up, and continue the journey… all Holy Spirit moments, to be sure. Maybe all our lives should be counted as Days after Pentecost –or better yet, days of Pentecost.