Friday, June 3, 2011

Easy Pentecost Novena

How best to make the Pentecost Novena?

I.  It was Our Lady and the Apostles (plus the holy women and Our Lord's near relations) who made the first Novena: they and the rest of the believers (whom we trust joined with them in petition), to the number of about 120 persons, were the whole Church of God on earth in those days, and it was their united supplication that won from the Father through the risen and ascended Christ – as He commanded them to ask – the uncreated Gift of the Holy Ghost.

Therefore, believing in the One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church and the communion of saints, no less than in Father, Son and Holy Ghost, it seems most reasonable to ask Our Lady and the Apostles, being the pillars and foundations of the Church, to once again join us in prayer for the descent of the Spirit, the Sanctifier, the Lord and Vivifier, that He may hallow and bless us, infusing us with grace whereby we may be supernaturalized and made perfect men.

One should thus invoke the Blessed Virgin and the Apostles, that they may pray with and for us:

Sancta Maria, Mater Jesu, ora pro nobis.
Sancte Petre, ora pro nobis.
Sancte Joannes, ora pro nobis.
Sancte Jacobe, ora pro nobis.
Sancte Andrea, ora pro nobis.
Sancte Philippe, ora pro nobis.
Sancte Thoma, ora pro nobis.
Sancte Bartholomæe, ora pro nobis.
Sancte Matthæe, ora pro nobis.
Sancte Jacobe, ora pro nobis.
Sancte Simon, ora pro nobis.
Sancte Juda, ora pro nobis.
Omnes sancti Apostoli, orate pro nobis.
Omnes sancti Discipuli Domini, orate pro nobis.


II. Since Our Lady is Queen of the Apostles and Queen of All Saints, and is of all creatures the closest to her Divine Son, it is only most rightful to especially call upon her loving maternal intercession.  

To this end, the Regina cæli, as sung by the Dominicans, having the Ascensiontide variant Jam ascendit, sicut dixit, is perfectly suitable, if it have subjoined the usual versicle, suitably adapted, with the Collect for Friday after the Octave of the Ascension from the 1738 Paris Missal (with per Dei Genitricem Mariam supplied):

Regina cæli, lætare, alleluja:
Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluja,
Jam ascendit, sicut dixit, alleluja.
Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluja.

V/. Gaude et lætare Virgo Maria, alleluja.
R/. Quia ascendit Dominus vere, alleluja.

Deus, qui nos Resurrectionis et Ascensionis Dominicæ solemnia celebrare fecisti: da famulis tuis, ut (per Dei Genitricem Mariam) et advenientis Spiritus sancti gratiam purificatis mentibus suscipere mereamur. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. R/. Amen.

(This Collect is especially good, and in itself sums up all we wish for: "O God, Who hast made us to celebrate the solemnities of the Lord's Resurrection and Ascension, grant unto Thy servants, that, by Mary the Mother of God, we likewise may deserve to receive the grace of the Holy Ghost with purified minds. Through the same Christ our Lord.  Amen.")


III. It ought go without saying that fundamentally and primarily we should adore and beseech God the Holy Ghost Himself, with the well-known Veni Sancte Spiritus, its versicle Emitte and the Pentecost Collect Deus qui corda fidelium (as it were thus anticipating the feast); and append the Magnificat antiphon of Ascension Day:

O Rex gloriæ, Domine virtutum, qui triumphator hodie super omnes cælos ascendisti: ne derelinquas nos orphanos, sed mitte promissum Patris in nos, Spiritum veritatis, alleluja.

As the versicle and the Collect address God the Father, while the O Rex gloriæ addresses God the Son, thus all Three Persons of the Adorable Trinity are properly worshipped, and the Gift of the Holy Ghost rightly besought.


I think that these three elements – asking those first pray-ers to pray with and for us, praying in especial to Our Lady, and calling upon the Holy Spirit direct – are eminently suitable and easy ways to make a good Pentecost Novena.  And as I noted above, even alone the Collect from the Missale Parisiense would do as a super-succinct Novena prayer.

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