16 October 2008

O Holy Spirit

This year in bible study we are saying the Holy Spirit prayer in our small groups before we begin our discussions. I don't know this prayer. I learned all the standards as a child, mostly the prayers that are good enough to get you through the Mass or say a rosary, but I had never heard of THE Holy Spirit Prayer. I assumed that there had to be one, but I had never said it and I certainly wasn't familiar with it.

It wasn't until I took a J-term class at St. Thomas (Sin and Sinners in Dante's Purgatory) from Father Welzbacher that I learned the Memorare. Nothing like standing up at the beginning of class and saying this prayer out loud in front of 25 other students to imprint it on you rather quickly. There are some other prayers I didn't learn until fairly recently, but the Holy Spirit prayer wasn't even on my radar. Even though I was a little ashamed to not know the prayer, I was so curious about it that asked my group leader, who is a bit older, if this Holy Spirit prayer was something her generation used to say with any regularity. She said that in Catholic High School they used to recite this prayer every morning.

Even with my great big Catholic family, this prayer was not handed down to my generation. I couldn't even find the same prayer with a Google search. There are many Holy Spirit prayers, but I couldn't find the same one.

When I attended a Ruthenian Byzantine Catholic Parish, they sang a prayer, as most of the Mass is sung, to the Holy Spirit. Carju Nebeshyj is the name in Slavic, and translated into English in my liturgy book it is called "O Holy Spirit," but an internet search gives the title as O Heavenly King. I don't know Slavic at all, but they are two different songs. The song I know was sung at the Preparation of the Gifts. To hear it sung in Slavic, this almost haunting tune is very moving. I've been trying to find a recording of it for years as it is easily one of my favorites.

Sing (recite) this before Communion and see if it doesn't put you in the right frame of mind.

O Holy Spirit
Mighty Defender
To all who love You
Comfort You give.
Everywhere present
Fountain of Virtues
Without Your kindness
No one could live.

O Holy Spirit
Treasury of Blessings
Come, as was promised
Live-giving Flame
Come, dwell within us
Quicken our cool hearts
Strengthen our purpose
To praise Your Name.


Mairin :o) said...

That is lovely. I have never heard it either and I went to Catholic schools. Thanks for sharing it.

swissmiss said...

This is the Byzantine prayer...I have to get a copy of the one we are learning in bible study and will post it then. Amazing to hear this sung, but then the entire Byzantine Mass is beautiful :)

Adrienne said...

"My" generation knows lots and lots of prayers. This generation can barely squeak out a Hail Mary.

Problem? Glad you asked. When we become older it will be the memorized prayers that will bring us comfort. I saw it over and over again in the nursing homes.