Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Memorize Scripture AND Prayers - and do battle against the enemy of your soul

I love "Holy Spirit" prayers. If you have one that isn't listed here, I encourage you to post it in a comment box.

The first Holy Spirit prayer I encountered was at a United Methodist "Walk to Emmaus" retreat:

Come, Holy Spirit,
fill the hearts of the faithful,
and kindle in us the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit,
and they shall be created,
and You shall renew the face of the earth.

The second Holy Spirit prayer I committed to memory was one I learned from a deacon at my parish. I assist him with the Confirmation class, and he requires the students to memorize this one. I realized that it would be foolish to expect the students to learn it if I was unwilling to learn it myself. So, I memorized this one:

Send your Holy Spirit upon us
to be our helper and guide.
Give us the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of right judgment and courage,
the Spirit of knowledge and reverence.
Fill us with wonder and awe in your Presence.

And now for the one I am currently committing to memory. It is St. Augustine's Prayer to the Holy Spirit:

Breathe into me, Holy Spirit,
that my thoughts may all be holy.
Move in me, Holy Spirit,
that my work, too, may be holy.
Attract my heart, Holy Spirit,
that I may love only what is holy.
Strengthen me, Holy Spirit,
that I may defend all that is holy.
Protect me, Holy Spirit,
that I may always be holy..... Amen.

I used to think it was inappropriate to memorize and recite prayers. Certainly, it stifled the unpredictable, spontaneous, serendipitous movement of the Holy Spirit in one's life. Right? Didn't it box God (and the human soul) into a pre-fab rote prayer and render the whole thing pointless?

Oh, my friend! I couldn't have been more wrong.

If it is good to commit Sacred Scripture to memory (and it certainly is - and I've firmly believed that since my days as an Evangelical Protestant), then it is helpful to have an arsenal of prayers as we battle the enemy of our souls.

I still memorize passages of Sacred Scripture. In fact, I do it more than I ever did as an Evangelical. Maybe the Liturgy has sparked that desire within me. The Liturgy is the ultimate venue for hiding "Thy Word in my heart...that I might not sin against You." If you love memorizing the Word and hiding it in your heart, you gotta love the Liturgy!

So, we Catholics commit prayers and Scripture to heart - and the practice is invaluable in this battle for the salvation of one's own soul. St. Augustine got it right. It is all about becoming holy. Protect me, Holy Spirit, that I may...be holy!



  1. My spiritual director has a Holy Spirit prayer we say before every spiritual direction meeting that I've since committed to memory...thought I would share it:

    Come, Holy Spirit, Send us a ray of your light from heaven. Come, Father of the poor. Come, Giver of all gifts. Come, Light of all hearts.

    Perfect Consoler, sweet Guest of our souls, most sweet Help, in our tiredness, give us rest;
    in the heat, give us shade; in our tears, give us solace.

    O Most Blessed Light, invade the hearts of all the faithful. Without Your strength, nothing is good in us, nothing is without fault.

    Wash what is dirty, bathe what is arid, heal what is hurting. Make soft what is rigid, warm what is cold, straighten what is crooked.

    Give to all who trust in You, Your holy gifts. Give virtue and all good. Give a holy death, give eternal joy. Amen.

    Also, I happened to see a picture of the "Ask me why I'm Catholic shirt"...we started using those at KU my first year working at St. Lawrence, and I noticed the photo tag said it was a KU shirt. I was just curious as to if we might have a mutual contact or something. :)

  2. Jasmine, that's great! Thanks for posting this. Almost two years ago, my sister-in-law mentioned that she had seen the Ask Me shirt on a runner in St. Louis. She thought I would know where it came from. I did a little research and traced it to KU. I liked the shirt so much, my husband ordered one for me... though I have never been a KU student or visited the St. Lawrence Center. The other day, a person on Twitter asked me where I got it (I'm wearing it in my Twitter picture). I can't seem to find it on the website. I guess it is discontinued. Too bad. Really awesome shirt.

    Thanks again for your Holy Spirit prayer!


    Come, Holy Spirit,
    fill my heart with Your holy gifts.

    Let my weakness be penetrated with Your strength this very day
    that I may fulfill all the duties of my state conscientiously,
    that I may do what is right and just.

    Let my charity be such as to offend no one,
    and hurt no one's feelings;
    so generous as to pardon sincerely any wrong done to me.

    Assist me, O Holy Spirit,
    in all my trials of life,
    enlighten me in my ignorance,
    advise me in my doubts,
    strengthen me in my weakness,
    help me in all my needs,
    protect me in temptations
    and console me in afflictions.

    Graciously hear me, O Holy Spirit,
    and pour Your light into my heart,
    my soul, and my mind.

    Assist me to live a holy life
    and to grow in goodness and grace.


  4. Beautiful Holy Spirit Prayer, John! Thanks!

  5. This is one of my favorites. It was given as a bookmark, we read it at the begining of each bible study.

    Come, Holy Spirit
    Replace the tension within us
    with holy relaxation.
    Replace the turbulence within us
    with a sacred calm.
    Replace the anxiety within us
    with the sweetness of grace.
    Replace the darkness within us
    with a gentle light.
    Replace the coldness within us
    with a loving warmth.
    Replace the night within us
    with your light.
    Replace the winter within us
    with your spring.
    Straighten our crookedness.
    Fill our emptiness.
    Dull the edge of our pride.
    Sharpen the edge of our humility.
    Light the fires of our love.
    Quench the flames of our lust.
    Let us see ourselves as you see us
    That we may see you
    as you have promised
    And be fortunate
    according to your word.
    Blessed are the pure of heart,
    For they shall see God.