Skip to main content

Novena to the Holy Spirit


Adapted from the Novenas found on and  

End each day with the following prayer for all seven gifts:
O Lord Jesus Christ who, before ascending into heaven, promised to send the Holy Spirit to finish your work in the souls of your apostles and disciples, be pleased to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that he may perfect in my soul the work of your grace and love.  Grant me the spirit of wisdom, that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal; the spirit of understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of your divine truth; the spirit of counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven; the spirit of fortitude that I may bear my cross with you and that I may overcome all obstacles that oppose my salvation; the spirit of knowledge that I may know God and know myself in him; the spirit of piety that I may find the service of God sweet and pleasurable; the spirit of fear of the Lord that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to offend him.  Animate me in all things with your spirit.  Amen.

Day 1: Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit 

Holy Spirit, Lord of Light,
from the clear celestial height,
thy pure beaming radiance give. 

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your divine love.  Send forth your spirit and they shall be created, and you shall renew the face of the earth.  O God, who has taught the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant that by the gift of the same Spirit we may always be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolation.  Through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Day 2: Prayer for the Gift of Holy Fear 

Come thou father of the poor,
come with treasures which endure,
come thou light of all that live. 

Come, O blessed Spirit of Holy Fear, penetrate my inmost heart, that I may set you, my Lord and God, before my face forever; help me to shun all things that can offend you, and make me worthy to appear before the pure eyes of your Divine Majesty in heaven, where you live and reign in the unity of the Blessed Trinity, God, world without end.  Amen.

Day 3: Prayer for the Gift of Piety 

Thou of all consolers best,
visiting the troubled breast,
dost refreshing peace bestow. 

Come, O blessed Spirit of Piety, possess my heart.  Implant in my soul filial love toward God my heavenly Father, and brotherly love for all, so that I may delight in the service of God and my neighbor.  Amen.

Day 4: Prayer for the Gift of Fortitude 

Thou in toil art comfort sweet,
pleasant coolness in the heat,
solace in the midst of woe. 

Come of blessed Spirit of Fortitude, uphold my soul in time of trouble and adversity, sustain my efforts after holiness, strengthen my weakness, give me courage against all the assaults of my enemies, that I may never be overcome and separated from you, my God and greatest Good.  Amen.

Day 5: Prayer for the Gift of Knowledge 

Light immortal, light divine,
visit thou these hearts of thine,
and our inmost being fill. 

Come, O blessed Spirit of Knowledge, and grant that I may perceive the will of the Father; show me the nothingness of earthly things, that I may realize their vanity and use them only for your glory and my own salvation, looking ever beyond them to you and your eternal rewards.  Amen.

Day 6: Prayer for the Gift of Understanding 

If thou take thy grace away,
nothing pure in man will stay;
all his good is turned to ill. 

Come, O Spirit of Understanding, and enlighten our minds that we may know and believe all the mysteries of salvation; and may merit at last to see the eternal light in your light; and in the light of glory to have a clear vision of you, the Father, and the Son.  Amen.

Day 7: Prayer for the Gift of Counsel 

Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
on our dryness pour thy dew;
wash the stains of guilt away. 

Come, O Spirit of Counsel, help and guide me in all my ways, that I may always do your holy will.  Incline my heart to that which is good; turn it away from all that is evil and direct me by the straight path of your commandments to that goal of eternal life for which I long.  Amen.

Day 8: Prayer for the Gift of Wisdom 

Bend the stubborn heart and will,
melt the frozen, warm the chill,
guide the steps that go astray. 

Come, O Spirit of Wisdom, and reveal to my soul the mysteries of heavenly things, their exceeding greatness, power, and beauty.  Teach me to love them above and beyond the passing joys and satisfactions of earth.  Help me to attain them and possess them forever.  Amen.

Day 9: Prayer for the Fruits of the Holy Spirit 

Thou on those who evermore,
thee confess and thee adore,
in thy sevenfold gift descend. 

Give them comfort when they die,
give them life with thee on high,
give them joys which never end. 

Come, O Divine Spirit, fill my heart with your heavenly gifts: your charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, that I may never weary in the service of God, but by continued faithful submission to your inspiration may merit to be united eternally with you in the love of the Father and the Son.  Amen.

Who is the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit is the love of the Father and Son, the love that is the unity of the Father and the Son.  St. John tells us that “God is love” (1 Jn 4:16), but the Holy Spirit is love in a unique way as the third Person of the Trinity.  When we love, the image of our beloved is imprinted on our hearts.  We always carry this image with us, and it moves our will to love the other.  In a similar way, the Holy Spirit is this imprint of love of the Father and the Son.  When the Holy Spirit dwells within us, he imprints God on our hearts as our beloved, drawing us to love God with God’s own love—charity.

When we ask, “why did Jesus come?” or “why did the Father and the Son send the Holy Spirit?” we can come up with many answers.  During Advent, we heard that Christ came to rescue us from the power of sin, death, and the evil one and to restore us to life.  We can say that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Life, is sent to continue this mission.  But God does not want to simply rescue us; he desires more for us.  Together, the missions of the Son and the Spirit can be summed up as: they came so that we can be friends with God, sons and daughters of the Father.

God is infinitely greater than we are.  Speaking through the prophet Isaiah, God tells us, “…as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Is 55:9).  In his great love for us God desires an intimate friendship with us.  The Son and the Spirit came to bring about some possibility for us to participate in divine life so that we can be friends with him (2 Pt 1:4).  Jesus “emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness” (Phil 2:7).  God the Son, to bring us closer to God, took on our very humanity.  The Holy Spirit likewise descends and dwells in us to raise us up to God by infusing us with God’s own love, with charity.

If you look at the world around us today, the need for God’s love to dwell within us is practically being shouted from every corner of the world.  Only God’s gift of charity can overcome our fallen tendency to pursue what appears to be good but in fact harms us and separates us from God.

That God desires to be friends with us and restore us to his family as sons and daughters should shock us and bring us immense joy!  The mission of the Holy Spirit is to guide believers into this intimate friendship with the Father, just as Jesus always pointed to the Father in his time on Earth.  Jesus calls us friends in the Gospel (Jn 15: 15). Just as human friends share the same thoughts and are united by the same interests, the Holy Spirit makes us friends with God by leading us to truth and unity.  Truth, by allowing us to know the very thoughts of God, and unity, by uniting us to him in a bond of love.

The Mission of Truth

The Spirit leads us to truth. We live in a culture that says there is no truth—but then is fractured by the consequences of that lie.  When everything is relative and we choose what is true for ourselves, chaos ensues. The suffering, hatred, and division in our world and country is a direct result of thinking that we determine what is true, what is right, and what is wrong. If truth does not exist, then it will be impossible to get everyone to agree on one thing because we will all choose our own desires, our own will, which will lead to conflict.  We will fail to pray and mean the words in the Our Father, “thy will be done.”

Truth, though, exists and we don’t get to decide what is true. God has made all things that exist; truth exists outside of us, and we will only find our personal fulfillment and societal peace when we choose to seek the truth. Jesus promises that we are not alone in this endeavor.  He tells his disciples that he will send them the Spirit and that the Spirit will guide them into all truth (Jn 16:13).

The truth taught by the Holy Spirit includes all of reality that God has made, but it is more than that.  Jesus tells us that he himself is “the way, the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:16).  The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, guides us to Jesus by reminding us of all that Jesus told us (Jn 14:26).

One of the greatest truths that we often forget is that God loves us as a Father (Jn 15:9).  We can experience this love profoundly, only to forget it a short while later because we get distracted and stressed by work or family difficulties.  The Spirit desires to constantly remind us of this truth, this truth that is so radical it changes how we see the world and ourselves, for we see all creation and every human being through the eyes and heart of the Father.

If we truly desire to be disciples, we must constantly ask the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth and to help us remember what Jesus taught his apostles.  Because of the cloud of confusion created by the relativism of the world, we need the guidance of the Holy Spirit more than ever.  The more we seek and live according to the truth of Jesus Christ, guided by the Spirit of Truth, the more we will be able to discern what in our culture is from God and what is the work of the Evil One.

The Mission of Unity

The Spirit also leads us to the unity that Christ prayed for at the Last Supper, “that all might be one, as you Father are in me and I am in you” (Jn 17:21).  In his letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul speaks about the work of unity that was accomplished by Christ and is made present in our lives by the work of the Holy Spirit: while it is Christ who “broke down the dividing wall of enmity through his flesh” (Eph. 2:14) it is the Spirit who builds us “together into a dwelling place of God” (Eph. 2:22).

This mission of unity flows from the Holy Spirit’s place in the Trinity.  The Spirit is the bond of love of the Father and the Son.  Just as we are moved towards those we love—our spouses, children, family members—by the bond of love, so too does the Holy Spirit unite all disciples in love to one another and to God.

We see this unifying action in a profound way at Pentecost.  In the upper room, the Spirit descends upon the apostles in tongues of fire.  Inspired by the Spirit, these Galilean fishermen immediately went out to preach the message of reconciliation in Jerusalem.  The city was filled with visitors from all over the known world at the time, but all the people could understand their words.  As soon as the apostles received the Holy Spirit, the division of language that began at the Tower of Babel was healed.  “So it was that men of every language joined in singing one song of praise to God, and scattered tribes, restored to unity by the Spirit, were offered to the Father as the firstfruits of all the nations” (St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies Bk. 3, 17.2).  Around 3,000 believers, originally divided by language, were united with each other and with God that day (Acts 2:41).

Although we do not often see the Spirit working today in such a marvelous way, he still gives the gift of tongues to draw others to the Father.  Once, while St. Dominic was travelling between the new communities he established, he came upon a group of German travelers.  St. Dominic was Spanish and did not know German; the travelers did not know Spanish.  For three days, however, St. Dominic received the gift of tongues so that he could share the Gospel message with his companions on the way.  The Spirit still works to unify us and draw us to the Father.

Division based on language is real, but the Holy Spirit works in our day to heal the even deeper divide which is created by our sins.  In his first appearance to the apostles after his resurrection, Jesus “breathed on them and said ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.  Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them and whose sins you retain are retained’ (Jn 20:22-23).  The Holy Spirit works in our lives allowing us to forgive, both in Confession and in our hearts.

There are some in our culture today who think forgiveness is weakness or capitulating to evil; that it means accommodating people and views they disagree with.  Others refuse to forgive those who deeply hurt them.  I want to be very clear: a lack of forgiveness is not the way of the Gospel or a disciple of Jesus. It is a rejection of the Holy Spirit, who is sent “among us for the forgiveness of sins” as we hear in the words of absolution in Confession.  Forgiveness heals and unites us, and it is a work that the Holy Spirit desires to do more of today.  He wishes to repair wounds within the Church and outside of it as part of his mission of unity.

As we prepare for this Pentecost, let us ask the Holy Spirit to work through us so that we can be agents of forgiveness, healing, truth and unity in our world.