New Year, New Me - courtesy of God!
The Veni, Creator Spiritus is one of the traditional Latin chants of the Catholic church. It is believed to have been penned sometime in the 9th-century and is sung at Pentecost and other ecclesiastical occasions which involve a solemn invocation of the Holy Spirit - such as during an ordination of a priest, or the election of Popes for instance. Not only is it a liturgical chant of the Latin-rite Church, but it has also been translated into numerous languages and has even inspired some poets to pen poetic translations. Perhaps the most famous poetic translation in the English language is that written by the English Poet Laureate John Dryden, who himself was a convert to Catholicism:
Creator Spirit, by whose aid
The world's foundations first were laid,
Come, visit ev'ry pious mind;
Come, pour thy joys on human kind;
From sin, and sorrow set us free;
And make thy temples worthy Thee.
O, Source of uncreated Light,
The Father's promis'd Paraclete!
Thrice Holy Fount, thrice Holy Fire,
Our hearts with heav'nly love inspire;
Come, and thy Sacred Unction bring
To sanctify us, while we sing!
Plenteous of grace, descend from high,
Rich in thy sev'n-fold energy!
Thou strength of his Almighty Hand,
Whose pow'r does heav'n and earth command:
Proceeding Spirit, our Defence,
Who do'st the gift of tongues dispence,
And crown'st thy gift with eloquence!
Refine and purge our earthly parts;
But, oh, inflame and fire our hearts!
Our frailties help, our vice control;
Submit the senses to the soul;
And when rebellious they are grown,
Then, lay thy hand, and hold 'em down.
Chase from our minds th' Infernal Foe;
And peace, the fruit of love, bestow;
And, lest our feet should step astray,
Protect, and guide us in the way.
Make us Eternal Truths receive,
And practise, all that we believe:
Give us thy self, that we may see
The Father and the Son, by thee.
Immortal honour, endless fame,
Attend th' Almighty Father's name:
The Saviour Son be glorified,
Who for lost Man's redemption died:
And equal adoration be,
Eternal Paraclete, to thee.
It is worth mentioning that the pious recital of this prayer merits a partial indulgence, and the indulgence is plenary when it is recited on January 1st. That is all well and good, but what significance does it all have? To that we point to the genius of holy Mother Church. As it was mentioned previously, it is sung when a solemn invocation to the Holy Spirit is made at ecclesiastical occasions. These often are the beginning of momentous undertakings – and it is very fitting to ask from God at these times His help – especially to the third Person of the Holy Trinity, who continues to guide the members of the Mystical Body of Christ, as they earnestly seek to Christianise the natural order of the world, created good by God the Father. Thus, the ‘Veni Creator Spiritus’ reminds us that we are always in need of the help of God, like little toddlers needing a guiding hand as they take their first steps. Who better to ask for help from than the omnipotent, omnibenevolent, omnipresent triune God? Just as His Spirit hovers over the primordial waters of creation then - the Holy Spirit yearns to hover over us, seeking to bring us towards God by granting us His sevenfold gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of God. And what better time for these gifts to help us than now, when a new year has begun! For G.K. Chesterton did write: The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective. Therefore, when making your new year’s resolutions, go ask the Holy Spirit to help you keep to them and not break them! Even if you do slip up, fear not and start again! For if God is with us who can be against us? Before you know it, you would’ve done better than what you initially expected to do!