Veni, Sancte Spiritus

Veni, Sancte Spiritus, known as the Golden Sequence, is the sequence for the Mass for Pentecost. It is commonly regarded as one of the greatest masterpieces of sacred Latin poetry ever written. The hymn has been attributed to three different authors, King Robert II the Pious of France (970-1031), Pope Innocent III (1161-1216), and Stephen Langton (d 1228), Archbishop of Canterbury, of which the last is most likely the author.

Veni, Sancte Spiritus,

et emitte caelitus

lucis tuae radium.

Holy Spirit, Lord of light,

From the clear celestial height

Thy pure beaming radiance give.

Veni, pater pauperum,

veni, dator munerum,

veni, lumen cordium.

Come, thou Father of the poor,

Come with treasures which endure;

Come, thou light of all that live!

Consolator optime,

dulcis hospes animae,

dulce refigerium.

Thou, of all consolers best,

Thou, the soul's delightful guest,

Dost refreshing peace bestow.

In labore requies,

in aestu temperies,

in fletu solacium.

Thou in toil art comfort sweet,

Pleasant coolness in the heat;

Solace in the midst of woe.

O lux beatissima,

reple cordis intimatuorum fidelium.

Light immortal, light divine,

Visit thou these hearts of thine,

And our inmost being fill.

Sine tuo numine,

nihil est in homine,

nihil est innoxium.

If thou take thy grace away,

Nothing pure in man will stay;

All his good is turned to ill.

Lava quod est sordidum,

riga quod est aridum,

sana quod est saucium.

Heal our wounds, our strength renew;

On our dryness pour thy dew,

Wash the stains of guilt away.

Flecte quod est rigidum,

fove quod est frigidum,

rege quod est devium.

Bend the stubborn heart and will,

Melt the frozen, warm the chill,

Guide the steps that go astray.

Da tuis fidelibus,

in te confidentibus,

sacrum septenarium.

Thou, on us who evermore

Thee confess and thee adore,

With thy sevenfold gifts descend.

Da virtutis meritum,

da salutis exitum,

da perenne gaudium.

Amen. Alleluia.

Give us comfort when we die,

Give us life with thee on high,

Give us joys that never end.

Amen. Alleluia.

A wonderful version of the Gregorian chant followed by the polyphonic adaptation by Palestrina is found on this recording: Palestrina, "Missa Dum Complerentur / Veni Sancte Spiritus" with the Westminster Cathedral Choir (Hyperion)

Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is the author of Rekindling the Christic Imagination.

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