Catholic CornucopiadCheney

Veni, Sancte Spiritus

Holy Spirit, come and shine

The Hymns of the Breviary and Missal

  1. Veni, Sancte Spiritus,
    Et emitte cœlitus
    Lucis tuæ radium.
    Veni pater pauperum,
    Veni dator munerum,
    Veni lumen cordium.
  2. Consolator optime,
    Dulcis hospes animæ,
    Dulce refrigerium.
    In labore requies,
    In æstu temperies,
    In fletu solatium.
  3. O lux beatissima,
    Reple cordis intima
    Tuorum fidelium.
    Sine two numine,
    Nihil est in homine,
    Nihil est innoxium.
  4. Lava quod est sordidum,
    Riga quod est aridum,
    Sana quod est saucium,
    Flecte quod est rigidum,
    Fove quod est frigidum
    Rege quod est devium.
  5. Da tuis fidelibus,
    In te confidentibus,
    Sacrum septenarium.
    Da virtutis meritum,
    Da salutis exitum,
    Da perenne gaudium.
  1. Holy Spirit, come and shine
    On our souls with beams divine,
    Issuing from Thy radiance bright.
    Come, O Father of the poor,
    Ever bounteous of Thy store,
    Come, our heart’s unfailing light.
  2. Come, Consoler, kindest, best,
    Come, our bosom’s dearest guest,
    Sweet refreshment, sweet repose.
    Rest in labor, coolness sweet,
    Tempering the burning heat,
    Truest comfort of our woes.
  3. O divinest light, impart
    Unto every faithful heart
    Plenteous streams from love’s bright flood.
    But for Thy blest Deity,
    Nothing pure in man could be;
    Nothing harmless, nothing good.
  4. Wash away each sinful stain;
    Gently shed Thy gracious rain
    On the dry and fruitless soul.
    Heal each wound and bend each will,
    Warm our hearts benumbed and chill,
    All our wayward steps control.
  5. Unto all Thy faithful just,
    Who in Thee confide and trust,
    Deign the sevenfold gift to send.
    Grant us virtue’s blest increase,
    Grant a death of hope and peace,
    Grant the joys that never end.
Author: Probably by Pope Innocent III (1161-1216). Meter: Trochaic dimeter catalectic. Translation by Father Aylward, O.P. There are about forty translations; of these Father Caswell’s is the most widely used. There are six translations in the Annus Sanctus. Liturgical Use: Sequence for Whitsunday and throughout the octave. In medieval times the Veni Sancte Spiritus was known as “The Golden Sequence.” In the opinion of critics it is justly regarded as one of the greatest masterpieces of sacred Latin poetry. Trench considers it the loveliest of all the hymns in the whole circle of sacred Latin poetry, and adds that it could only have been composed by one who had been acquainted with many sorrows, and also with many consolations (Sacred Latin Poetry, p. 195). “The Sequence for Whitsunday,” says Dr. Gihr, “can have come but from a heart wholly inflamed with the fire of the Holy Ghost. It is an incomparable hymn, breathing of the sweetness of Paradise, and regaling us with heaven’s sweetest fragrance. Only the soul buried in deep recollection can suspect and taste the wealth of deep thought and affections this Pentacost hymn contains, and that, too, in a form remarkable as much for beauty as for brevity” (The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, p. 464). There is an article on the Veni Sancte Spiritus, in the Cath. Encycl.

In studying this hymn the richness of the rhyme is deserving of special note. In each of the six-line stanzas, lines 1 and 2, 3 and 6, 4 and 5 rhyme; and every third line throughout the hymn ends in ium.

The introductory and thrice repeated Veni in the first stanza is expressive of the intense longing of a world-buffeted, sin-harried soul for the advent of the “best consoler.” The similar repetition of the verb Da in the closing stanza is equally expressive of earnestness and of loving confidence in the “giver of gifts.”

  1. “Come Holy Spirit, and send forth from heaven the ray of Thy light. Come, Father of the poor; come, giver of gifts; come, light of hearts.” Pater pauperum, i.e., the poor in spirit (Matt. 5, 3) who may either be destitute of the goods of this world, or detached from them, “as having nothing, and possessing all things” (II Cor. 6, 10). Dator munerum: The Holy Spirit is the dispenser of the countless gifts or graces which Christ merited for us.
  2. “Thou best consoler, sweet guest of the soul, sweet coolness: in labor, rest; in heat, refreshment; in tears, solace.” Consolator, the Latin rendering of the Greek Paraclitus, consoler, comforter.
  3. “O most blessed Light, fill Thou the inmost recesses of the hearts of Thy faithful! Without Thy divine assistance there is nothing in man, nothing harmless.”
  4. “Cleanse what is base, bedew what is parched, heal what is wounded; bend what is rigid, warm what is chilled, guide what is astray.” Lava, wash—by Baptism and Penance; riga, bedew with Thy grace; sana, heal what is wounded by sin; flecte, bend what is fixed—the stubborn will; fove, warm what is cold—our hearts; rege, guide sinners.
  5. “Give to Thy faithful confiding in Thee Thy sevenfold gifts. Give them the reward of virtue; give them the death of safety (a happy death); give them eternal joy.” Sacrum septenarium, the sacred sevenfold gifts, viz., wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and the feat of the Lord (cf. Is. 11, 2-3).