The Sequence recognizes that sometimes we are inflexible and defiant, like a stubborn child.
The Sequence sung or recited at Mass on Pentecost makes a perfect prayer for particular moments.
When we pause with each of the powers attributed to the Holy Spirit in the prayer, we are invited to go deeper in our understanding of how the Spirit works and what happens when we live in his grace.
The Sequence, known as the Veni Sancte Spiritus, has been prayed by generations of Catholics for many centuries. It is one of only four medieval Sequences preserved in the 1570 Missal. It is usually thought that Pope Innocent III or Cardinal Stephan Langton was its author in the 13th century.
By using just a few of the lines from the prayer, we can go deeper into the particular graces that the Holy Spirit gives us.
For example, if we feel God asking us something — perhaps to be more generous in our tithe, to forgive a long-standing grudge, to stop being snippy with our spouse — and we are struggling to acquiesce to God’s will, the Holy Spirit’s strength is what we need.
The sequence invites us to pray:
Bend that which is inflexible, fire that which is chilled, correct what goes astray.
You can make this a prayer with your own words, expressing petitions such as:
Holy Spirit of fortitude and fear of the Lord, you see how my heart is cold and my will is defiant. Enkindle in me a stronger love for God, my Father; deeply convince me that He only asks what is for my good and His glory. You are the strength I need to do His will. I choose to “use” your power as my own, since you have been given me as Gift. I choose to allow your strength and your love to flow through me, that I might have the strength to do the Father’s will. Pick me up when I resist and place me firmly on the path to my happiness and eternal joy.
The original Latin and a literal translation:
dulcis hospes animae,
In labore requies,
in aestu temperies,
in fletu solatium.
sweet guest of the soul,
In labor, rest,
in heat, temperance,
in tears, solace.