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How to pray to the Holy Spirit: Pope’s explanation

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 11/10/21

Pope Francis says that one word is key to invoking the Spirit: "Come"

Pope Francis wrapped up his teaching on St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians on November 10, pausing to give a lesson on how to pray to the Holy Spirit. St. Paul’s constant exhortation is to experience the freedom of “walking according to the Spirit.”

“We must trust that the Spirit always comes to assist us in our weakness and grants us the support we need,” the Pope said.

He encouraged: “Let us, therefore, learn to invoke the Holy Spirit more often!”

But then, the Pope acknowledged that we might question how to pray to the Holy Spirit:

So, Father, how is the Holy Spirit invoked? I know how to pray to the Father with the Our Father. I know how to pray to Mary with the Hail Mary. I know how to pray to Jesus with the Prayer to His Holy Wounds. But to the Spirit… What is the prayer to the Holy Spirit?

The Pope answered by emphasizing one word: Come.

The prayer to the Holy Spirit is spontaneous: it needs to come from your heart. In difficult moments, you need to ask: “Holy Spirit, come.” The key word is this: come. Come. But you need to say it yourself in your own words.

Come, because I find myself in difficulty. Come, because I am in the dark. Come, because I don’t know what to do. Come, because I am about to fall. Come. Come. This is the Holy Spirit’s word – how to call upon the Spirit.  

Let us learn to invoke the Holy Spirit often. We can do this with simple words at various moments during the day.

Like Mary and the Apostles

The Holy Father suggested that another aid to our prayer could be the Church’s prayer from the Feast of Pentecost, which he suggested carrying with us, tucked in the Gospel. He has repeatedly exhorted the faithful to carry the Gospels in a pocket or purse, to be able to take a few seconds with Scripture, as we wait in line or in other moments.

He recited part of the Church’s Pentecost prayer:

“Come, come Holy Spirit, / And from your celestial home / Shed a ray of light divine! / Come, come, Father of the poor! / Come, Source of all our store! / Come, within our bosoms shine! / You, of comforters the best; / You the soul’s most welcome Guest; / Sweet refreshment… Come…”

“And so it continues, it is a very beautiful prayer,” but the “gist of the prayer is ‘Come,’ as the Madonna and the Apostles prayed during the days when Christ ascended into Heaven. They were alone in the Upper Room begging: Come, that the Spirit would come.”

“It would be good for us to pray it often,” the Pope said. “Come, Holy Spirit.”

And with the presence of the Spirit, we will protect our freedom. We are free, free Christians, not attached to the past in the bad sense of the word, not chained to practices. Christian freedom is what makes us grow. This prayer will help us walk in the Spirit, in freedom and in joy because when the Holy Spirit comes, joy, true joy comes.

Holy SpiritPope Francis
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