Friday, July 4, 2014

Commentary on the "Veni Creator Spiritus"

Veni Creator Spiritus,
Mentes tuorum visita,
Imple superna gratia,
Quæ tu creasti pectora

Qui diceris Paraclitus,
Altissimi donum Dei,
Fons vivus, ignis, caritas,
Et spiritalis unctio.

Tu septiformis munere,
Digitus Paternæ dexteræ,
Tu rite promissum Patris,
Sermone ditans guttura.

Accende lumen sensibus,
Infunde amorem cordibus
Infirma nostri corporis
Virtute firmans perpeti.

Hostem repellas longius,
Pacemque dones protinus;
Ductore sic te prævio,
Vitemus omne noxium.

Per te sciamus da Patrem,
Noscamus atque Fillium,
Teque utriusque Spiritum
Credamus omni tempore.

Deo Patri sit gloria,
Et Fillo, qui a mortuis
Surrexit, ac Paraclito,
In sæculorum sæcula.

English translation:

Creator-Spirit, all-Divine,
Come, visit every soul of Thine,
And fill with Thy celestial flame
The hearts which Thou Thyself didst frame.

O gift of God, Thine is the sweet
Consoling name of Paraclete—
And spring of life and fire and love
And unction flowing from above.

The mystic sevenfold gifts are Thine,
Finger of God’s right hand divine;
The Father’s promise sent to teach
The tongue a rich and heavenly speech.

Kindle with fire brought from above
Each sense, and fill our hearts with love;
And grant our flesh, so weak and frail,
The strength of Thine which cannot fail.

Drive far away our deadly foe,
And grant us Thy true peace to know;
So we, led by Thy guidance still,
May safely pass through every ill.

To us, through Thee, the grace be shown
To know the Father and the Son:
And Spirit of Them both, may we
Forever rest our faith in Thee.

To Sire and Son be praises meet,
And to the Holy Paraclete;
And may Christ send us from above
That Holy Spirit’s gift of love.


Translation by Father Aylward, O.P. There are about sixty translations; eight of which are in the Annus Sanctus

Liturgical Use: Hymn for Vespers and Terce on Whitsunday and throughout the octave. Terce (the 3rd hour, 9am) was the hour on which the Holy Ghost descended upon the Apostles (Acts 2, 15). The hymn is used on many other solemn occasions in liturgical and extra-liturgical functions as an invocation to the Holy Spirit. With the exception of the Te Deum, there is probably no other hymn so extensively used in the Church as the Veni Creator Spiritus. [...]
1. "Come, Creator Spirit, visit the souls of Thy children, and fill with heavenly grace the hearts which Thou hast made." 
Creator: The three Divine Persons concur equally in their external operation; thus the Father created, the Son created, and the Holy Ghost created.
2. "Thou who art called the Paraclete, the gift of God most high, the living fountain, fire, love, and spiritual unction."
Paraclitus: the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit; a Greek word signifying—the consoler, comforter. In the Scriptures the word occurs only in St. John 14, 16; 14, 26; 15, 26; 16, 7. 

Donum: The Holy Spirit is called the ''gift of God most high." To receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2, 38) is equivalent to receiving the Holy Ghost with His gifts. 

Fons vivus: Sed aqua, quam ego dabo ei, fiet in eo fons aquse salientis in vitam seternam [Translation: But the water that I will give him, shall become in him a fountain of water, springing up into life everlasting.] (John 4, 14).

Ignis: Earthly fire illuminates, enkindles, consumes, and purifies from dross; so too, in its nature, is the fire of the Holy Spirit—enlightening, love-enkindling, sin-destroying, and purifying. This fire manifests itself in works of charity, and especially in preaching with zeal and fervor the word of God. 

Caritas: Deus caritas est, et qui manet in caritate, in Deo manet, et Deus in eo [Translation: But the water that I will give him, shall become in him a fountain of water, springing up into life everlasting.] (I John 4, 16). 

Spiritalis [or] Spiritualis: The grace of God is called unction or anointing because the effects produced by it in the spiritual order are analogous to those produced by ointment in the natural order. It cools, refreshes, exhilarates, strengthens, heals, enriches, etc. 
3. "Thou art sevenfold in Thy gifts, the finger of the Father's right hand; Thou art the express promise of the Father, endowing tongues with speech." 
Septiformis: The seven gifts of the Holy Ghost are enumerated by the Prophet Isaias: Et requiescet super eum spiritus Domini; spiritus sapientias et intellectus, spiritus consilii et fortitudinis, spiritus scientias et pietatis, et replebit eum spiritus timoris Domini [Translation: And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: the spirit of wisdom, and of understanding, the spirit of counsel, and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge, and of godliness. And he shall be filled with the spirit of the fear of the Lord.] (Is. 11, 2-3).

Digitus Dei: The Holy Spirit is called the "finger of God" as may be seen from the following parallel passages: Si in digito Dei eicio daemonia [Translation: But if I by the finger of God cast out devils...] (Luke 11, 20). Si autem ego in Spiritu Dei eicio daemones [Translation: But if I by the Spirit of God cast out devils...] (Matt. 12, 28). 

Rite: explicit, distinctly stated. 

Promissum, i = promissio. Et ego mitto promissum Patris mei in vos [Translation: And I send the promise of my Father upon you...] (Luke 24, 49). Sed expectarent promissionem Patris [Translation: ...but should wait for the promise of the Father...] (Acts 1, 4). 

Sermone: A reference to the gift of tongues (Acts 2, 4). 
4. "Enkindle Thy light within our minds, infuse Thy love into our hearts ; strengthen the weakness of our flesh by Thy never-failing power." 
5. "Drive far away our enemy, and forthwith grant us peace; so that while Thou leadest the way as our guide, we may avoid everything harmful." 
6. "Grant that through Thee we may know the Father; through Thee, the Son; and may we ever believe in Thee, the Spirit of Them both."

Source: Fr. Matthew Britt, OSB, The Hymns of the Breviary and Missal (New York, NY: Benzinger Brothers, 1922), 162–164.


If there are few perfect souls, this is because there are few that follow the direction of the Holy Ghost. His seven gifts often have little effect in many souls because they are, as it were, fettered by contrary habits and affections. More or less deliberate and frequent venial sins exclude the graces necessary to produce the acts of the gifts. But we cannot doubt their existence, because Scripture, tradition, and the liturgy speak of them, and, if the obstacles were removed, we should ordinarily see the gradual realization of what the Church makes us implore in the Veni Creator [....]

This prayer, which should be said by the faithful soul with an ever increasing fervor of will, reminds us that the life of grace is eternal life begun; and it ends by asking for the normal fruit of this "grace of the virtues and of the gifts," the infused contemplation of the Blessed Trinity dwelling in us:
To us, through Thee, the grace be shown
To know the Father and the Son:
And Spirit of Them both, may we
Forever hold firm trust in Thee.`
[...] We must trust in the Holy Ghost who dwells in us and who increases His work in us in proportion to our growing fidelity to the first commandment: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind" in order to become "adorers in spirit and in truth." Our Lord said: "I will not now call you servants... but I have called you friends." We should believe in the wholly divine strength of the grace received in baptism, of the Holy Ghost who was given to us. We do not see this strength any more than we see the life hidden in an acorn from which a vigorous oak grows. If the oak is encircled by a band of iron, the bark will soon grow over it. Who can measure the supernatural energy contained in the grace of the virtues and the gifts, which is none other than eternal life begun? Who can set a limit to the work of sanctification which the Holy Ghost has begun in us, and prevent souls from reaching even the inner sanctuary where the Blessed Trinity dwells? "Wherefore I wished, and understanding was given me: and I called upon God, and the spirit of wisdom came upon me" (Wis. 7:7). "I confess to Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to little ones" (Mt. 11:25).


Source: Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, OP, Christian Contemplation and Perfection, trans. by M. Timothea Doyle (Rockford, IL: TAN Books, 2003), 406–408.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments ad hominem or deemed offensive by the moderator will be subject to immediate deletion.