When the princes of Rome assemble to elect a new Pope, when bishops are consecrated, when priests are ordained, when churches are dedicated, when kings are crowned with the blessing of Mother Church -- at all such solemn occasions, there is the chanting of this “most famous of hymns.” Attributed to Rabanus Maurus in the ninth century, “Veni Creator Spiritus” implores the Holy Spirit to dwell among those who raise their voices in its melody and phrase.
Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire,
Ignite them with celestial fire;
Spirit of God, you have the art
Your gifts, the sev'nfold to impart.
Your blest outpouring from above
Is comfort, life, and fire of love.
Illumine with perpetual light
The dullness of our blinded sight.
Anoint and cheer our much-soiled face
With the abundance of your grace.
Keep far our foes; give peace at home;
Where you guide us, no ill can come.
Teach us to know the Father, Son,
And you, of both, to be but one
That, as the ceaseless ages throng,
Your praise may be our endless song. Amen.
It is an especially appropriate hymn for the Feast of Pentecost, that which occurs fifty days after the Resurrection, and that which we celebrate today.
(Featured lyrics from a translation by John Cosin, 1594-1672. Chanted by the Benedictine Monks of the Abbey of Saint Maurice and Saint Maur, Clevaux.)