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Catholic Prayer: The Golden Sequence


After the Gradual of the Mass the ancient sequence Veni Sancte Spiritus (Come, Holy Spirit) is recited or sung on each day of Pentecost week. This hymn appeared first in liturgical books around the year 1200. It has been variously ascribed to Pope Innocent III (1216), to King Robert of France (1031), and even to Saint Gregory the Great (604). Most probably, however, its author was Cardinal Stephen Langton (1128), Archbishop of Canterbury. The poem has been known from medieval times as the "Golden Sequence" because of its richness in thought and expression. Each one of the short stanzas is a sentence in itself, thus facilitating meditation.


Come, holy Ghost, and bring from above
The splendor of thy light.

Come, father of the poor, come, giver of graces,
Come, light of our hearts.

Best of consolers, sweet guest of the soul,
And comfort of the weary.

Thou rest in labor, relief in burning toil,
Consoling us in sorrow.

O blessed light, fill the innermost hearts
Of those who trust in thee.

Without thy indwelling there is nothing in man,24
And nothing free of sin.

Cleanse what is sordid, give water in dryness,
And heal the bleeding wounds.

Bend what is proud, make warm what is cold,
Bring back the wayward soul.

Give to the faithful who trustingly beg thee
Thy seven holy gifts.

Grant virtue's reward, salvation in death,
And everlasting joy. Amen. Alleluia.


24. The original poem had Sine tuo numine nihil est in lumine. The last word was later changed into homine, thus spoiling the rhyme and weakening the powerful meaning of the original.

Prayer Source: Holyday Book, The by Francis X. Weiser, S.J., Harcourt, Brace and Company, Inc., New York, 1956
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