Novena to the Holy Spirit, by St. Edith Stein

Day 1: “The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.”

Let everyone who listens answer, “Come.”

Then let all who are thirsty come;

all who want it may have the water of life and have it free.

Revelation 22:17

 

Seven Beams from a Pentecost Novena

Pentecost 1942

 

  1. Who are You, sweet light that fills me

And illumines the darkness of my heart?

You guide me like a mother’s hand,

And if you let me go, I could not take

Another step.

You are the space

That surrounds and contains my being.

Without You it would sink into the abyss

Of nothingness from which You raised it into being.

You, closer to me than I to myself,

More inward than my innermost being—

And yet unreachable, untouchable,

And bursting the confines of any name:

Holy Spirit—

Eternal love!

 

  1. Are You not the sweet manna

Which flows from the heart of the Son

Into mine,

Food for angels and for the blessed?

He who from death to life arose,

Has awakened me, too, to new life,

From the sleep of death,

New life he gives me day by day.

Some day his abundance will completely flow through me,

Life of Your life—yes, You, Yourself:

Holy Spirit—

Eternal life!

 

III. Are you the ray

That flashes from the Eternal Judge’s throne

To pierce into the night of my soul,

Which never knew itself?

Merciful, yet unrelenting, it penetrates the hidden crevices.

The soul takes fright at sight of her own self,

Makes room for holy awe,

For the beginning of that wisdom

Descending from on high,

And anchoring us securely in the heights,—

For Your workings, which create us anew:

Holy Spirit—

All-penetrating ray!

 

  1. Are You the wealth of spirit and of power

By which the Lamb loosens the seals

From God’s eternal decree?

Driven by You the messengers of judgment

Ride through the world

And with sharp sword divide

The reign of light from the reign of night.

Then the Heavens are renewed, and new the earth,

And through Your breath

Everything finds its rightful place:

Holy Spirit—

Conquering power!

 

  1. Are You the master who builds the eternal dome

Rising from earth and through to very Heaven?

The columns, enlivened by You, rise high

And stand firm, immovable.

Marked with the eternal name of God,

They reach high up into the light,

Bearing the cupola, which crowns the holy dome,

Your work encompassing the universe,

Holy Spirit—

God’s shaping hand.

 

  1. Are You the one who made the mirror bright,

Which stands beside the throne of the Almighty

Just like a sea of crystal

Wherein the Godhead views Himself with love?

You bend o’er the most marvelous of Your creations

And beaming shines Your splendor back to you.

The pure beauty of all beings

United in the lovely form of

The virgin, Your flawless bride:

Holy Spirit—

Creator of the World.

 

VII.  Are You the sweet song of love, and of holy awe,

Resounding ever round God’s throne triune,

Which unifies the pure tone of all beings,

Within itself?

The harmony which fits the limbs to the head,

So that each blissfully finds the secret meaning

Of His being,

And exudes it with gladness freely dissolved

In Your streams:

Holy Spirit—

Eternal jubilation!

 

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