Novena to the Holy Spirit


The word Novena is the feminine form of the Medieval Latin word, "novenus", "ninth", which is the ordinal number from novem, nine.  In the Catholic Church, a novena is a devotion consisting of prayer said on nine successive days, asking to obtain special graces.  These may consist of small prayer books, recitation of the Rosary, or small prayers through the day.

The practice of saying novenas is derived from Scripture.  After Jesus' Ascension into heaven, he told his disciples to pray together in the upper room and devote themselves to constant prayer (Acts 1:14).  The Apostles, Blessed Virgin Mary, and other followers of Jesus prayed together for nine consecutive days, concluding in the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.

Novena to the Holy Spirit

The Novena to the Holy Spirit is the oldest of all novenas since it was first made at the direction of Our Lord Himself, when He sent His apostles back to Jerusalem to await the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.  In other words, the Twelve Apostles spent nine days praying to prepare for receiving the power of the Holy Spirit.  You can do the same thing to prepare for your Confirmation.  You might also have others pray the Novena to the Holy Spirit on your behalf and to renew their own life as a disciple and witness of Jesus Christ and His Family, the Church.

The Novena to the Holy Spirit begins with The Act of Consecration and The Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit which are recited daily along with the prayers for the day.

Act of Consecration To The Holy Spirit
Recite daily during the nine days of the novena

On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses, I offer myself, soul and body to You, Holy Spirit.  I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love.  You are the Strength and Light of my soul.  In You I live and move and have my being.  I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against You.  Mercifully guard my every thought, word, deed and hope.  Grant that I may always watch for Your light, listen to Your voice, and follow Your gracious inspirations.  I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You, by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness.  Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus, looking at His Five Wounds, trusting in His Precious Blood, adoring His Side and stricken Heart, I implore You, Adorable Spirit, Helper of my infirmity, to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You.  Give me grace O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere, "Speak Lord for Your servant is listening." Amen.

Prayer for the Seven Gifts of The Holy Spirit
Recite daily during the nine days of the novena

O Lord Jesus Christ Who, before ascending into heaven did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish Your work in the souls of Your disciples and witnesses, please grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of Your grace and Your love.  Grant me the gift of Wisdom that I may know as God knows, striving to have the mind and heart of Jesus Christ, desiring most the gifts that are for eternal life and despising those things that will lead me away, the gift of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Your divine truth, the gift of Knowledge that I may know You, know myself and know the value of all creation in light of their relationship with God so to grow in perfect holiness as the saints, the gift of Counsel that I may always know the right decisions to make in my life, to choose the good and to avoid evil, ever choosing the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven, the gift of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with You and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that prevent me from being a faithful disciple and constant witness, the gift of Piety that will heal my heart and open my heart tenderly towards God and others, so that service of You is sweet, and the gift of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease You.  Mark me, dear Lord with the sign of Your true disciples and animate me in all things with Your Spirit.  Amen.

First Day - The Holy Spirit

Only one thing is important -- eternal salvation.  Only one thing, therefore, is to be feared--sin.  Sin is the result of ignorance, weakness, and indifference.  The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Light, of Strength, and of Love.  With His sevenfold gift He enlightens the mind, strengthens the will, and inflames the heart with love of God.  To ensure our salvation we ought to invoke the Divine Spirit daily, for "The Spirit helps our infirmity.  We know not what we should pray for as we ought.  But the Spirit Himself asks for us."

Prayer Almighty and eternal God, Who has promised to regenerate us by water and the Holy Spirit, and has given us forgiveness of all sins, we ask You to send forth from heaven upon us your sevenfold gift, the gifts of Wisdom and Understanding, the gifts of Counsel and Fortitude, the gifts of Knowledge and Piety, and fill us with the gift of Holy Fear.  Amen.

(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be - 7 Times, Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts)

Second Day - The Gift of Wisdom

Embodying all the other gifts, as charity embraces all the other virtues, Wisdom is the most perfect of the gifts.  Of wisdom it is written "all good things came to me with her, and innumerable riches through her hands."  It is the gift of Wisdom that strengthens our faith, fortifies hope, perfects charity, and promotes the practice of virtue in the highest degree.  Wisdom enlightens the mind to discern and relish things divine, in the appreciation of which earthly joys lose their savor, while the Cross of Christ yields a divine sweetness according to the words of the Savior:  "Take up your cross and follow me, for my yoke is sweet and my burden light".

Prayer: 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 all the passing joys and satisfactions of earth.  Help me to attain them and possess them for ever.  Amen.

(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be - 7 Times, Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts)

Third Day - The Gift of Understanding

Understanding, as a gift of the Holy Spirit, helps us to grasp the meaning of the truths of our holy religion.  By faith we know them, but by Understanding we learn to appreciate and relish them.  It enables us to penetrate the inner meaning of revealed truths and through them to be quickened to newness of life.   Our faith ceases to be sterile and inactive, but inspires a mode of life that bears eloquent testimony to the faith that is in us; we begin to "walk worthy of God in all things pleasing, and increasing in the knowledge of God."

Prayer 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, Holy Spirit and the Father and the Son.  Amen.

(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be - 7 Times, Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts)

Fourth Day - The Gift of Counsel

The gift of Counsel endows the soul with supernatural prudence, enabling it to judge promptly and rightly what must done, especially in difficult circumstances.   Counsel applies the principles furnished by Knowledge and Understanding to the innumerable concrete cases that confront us in the course of our daily duty as parents, teachers, public servants, and Christian citizens.  Counsel is supernatural common sense, a priceless treasure in the quest of salvation.  "Above all these things, pray to the Most High, that He may direct Your way in truth."

PrayerCome, 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.

(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be - 7 Times, Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts)

Fifth Day - The Gift Of Fortitude

By the gift of Fortitude the soul is strengthened against natural fear, and supported to the end in the performance of duty.  Fortitude imparts to the will an impulse and energy which move it to under take without hesitancy the most arduous tasks, to face dangers, to trample under foot human respect, and to endure without complaint the slow martyrdom of even lifelong tribulation.  "He that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved."

PrayerCome, O 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.

(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be - 7 Times, Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts)

Sixth Day - The Gift of Knowledge

The gift of Knowledge enables the soul to evaluate created things at their true worth--in their relation to God.  Knowledge unmasks the pretense of creatures, reveals their emptiness, and points out their only true purpose as instruments in the service of God.  It shows us the loving care of God even in adversity, and directs us to glorify Him in every circumstance of life.  Guided by its light, we put first things first, and prize the friendship of God beyond all else.  "Knowledge is a fountain of life to him that possesses it."

Prayer:  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.

(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be - 7 Times, Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts)

Seventh Day - The Gift of Piety

The gift of Piety begets in our hearts a filial affection for God as our most loving Father.  It inspires us to love and respect for His sake persons and things consecrated to Him, as well as those who are vested with His authority, His Blessed Mother and the Saints, the Church and its visible Head, our parents and superiors, our country and its rulers.  He who is filled with the gift of Piety finds the practice of his religion, not a burdensome duty, but a delightful service.  Where there is love, there is no labor.

Prayer:  Come, O Blessed Spirit of Piety, possess my heart.  Enkindle therein such a love for God that I may find satisfaction only in His service, and for His sake lovingly submit to all legitimate authority.  Amen.

(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be - 7 Times, Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts)

Eighth Day - The Gift of Fear

The gift of Fear fills us with a sovereign respect for God, and makes us dread nothing so much as to offend Him by sin.  It is a fear that arises, not from the thought of hell, but from sentiments of reverence and filial submission to our heavenly Father.  It is the fear that is the beginning of wisdom, detaching us from worldly pleasures that could in any way separate us from God.  "They that fear the Lord will prepare their hearts, and in His sight will sanctify their souls."

PrayerCome, 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 ever Blessed Trinity, God world without end.  Amen.

(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be - 7 Times, Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts)

Ninth Day - The Fruits of the Holy Spirit

The gifts of the Holy Spirit perfect the supernatural virtues by enabling us to practice them with greater docility to divine inspiration.  As we grow in the knowledge and love of God under the direction of the Holy Spirit, our service becomes more sincere and generous, the practice of virtue more perfect.  Such acts of virtue leave the heart filled with joy and consolation and are known as Fruits of the Holy Spirit.  These Fruits in turn render the practice of virtue more attractive and become a powerful incentive for still greater efforts in the service of God.

Prayer:  Come, O Divine Spirit, fill my heart with Your heavenly fruits, Your charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, faith, mildness, and temperance, 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.

(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be - 7 Times, Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts)

St. Patrick's Church at Moody Air Force Base