The Fruit of the Spirit: A Pentecost Novena

I am often surprised at what good memories our World Library customers have. Recently, an e-mail was forwarded to me through Customer Care from someone looking for a Pentecost novena—based on the fruit of the Spirit passage from Galatians—that had appeared in AIM:Liturgy Resources magazine (of which I’ve been the editor for a quarter-century now) a few years back. She had used it at that time with a confirmation class as a pre-sacramental novena, not one that began the day after Ascension, but nine days before their Confirmation liturgy. Her particular way of using the novena struck me as Creator Spiritus inspired.

The novena was to be prayed together by the confirmands with their parents or sponsors, combined with some brief reflection time and/or faith sharing. The prayers are intentionally brief, so the participants can also offer them several times throughout the course of the day.

It is important to note that St. Paul speaks of one fruit of the Spirit, not many different fruits. This fruit has different sections, or segments, like a citrus fruit, similar to the way that the novena itself is truly one large prayer. We pray to be holistic, integrated disciples through the power of the Spirit.

So, here’s that novena, without particular calendrical days, to pray for the fruit of the Spirit as outlined in Galatians 5:22–23, whenever you feel the need for the Spirit’s presence in your life.

Day 1: Love

Prayer: Holy Spirit, shape my outlook through love and in charity. Help me always assume the best, not the worst, in every person I meet. Guide my every word and deed in love. Amen.

Day 2: Joy

Prayer: Holy Spirit, teach me to find inspiration, not boredom, in my daily life. Open my eyes to the wonder of every moment and make my soul an overflowing well of joy that energizes everyone. Amen.

Day 3: Peace

Prayer: Holy Spirit, help me to remember that you, not I, are in charge of my life. Grant me the wisdom to step back from my frantic pace; refresh me with the cool breeze of your peace. Amen.

Day 4: Patience

Prayer: Holy Spirit, grant me the grace to bear the inescapable irritations of daily life without anger. Guard me against overreaction and give me the strength to choose patience. Amen.

Day 5: Kindness

Prayer: Holy Spirit, broaden the space in my heart to recognize the suffering of others this day. May I see Christ in them and react with kindness and compassion. Amen.

Day 6: Generosity

Prayer: Holy Spirit, fill me with gratitude for the all the good things in my life, that I may in turn be willing to give freely of myself to others in time of need. Amen.

Day 7: Faithfulness

Prayer: Holy Spirit, may I faithfully fulfill the tasks which I am called to do. Deliver me from the urge to gossip, belittle, or betray others. Help me treasure all my relationships. Amen.

Day 8: Gentleness

Prayer: Holy Spirit, help me to meet the challenges of each day, not with brute force, but with gentleness. May I seek a godly resolution to every conflict. Amen.

Day 9 (the eve of Pentecost): Self-control

Prayer: Holy Spirit, teach me the value of discipline, so I may always follow the direction that will bring me closer to you this day and always. Amen.

Pentecost Day:

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, let your divine presence bear fruit in me this day and always. Amen.

Pentecost novena copyright © 2017, World Library Publications. Reprinted with permission.

Permission is granted to make copies of the Pentecost novena text. Copies must include the copyright acknowledgment.

2 comments

  1. I have trouble with the petition on Day 9, “Holy Spirit, teach me the value of discipline, so that learning to control my feelings and desires will bring me closer to you this day and always. Amen.”

    “Discipline” as a substantive and “control” as a verb may lead to misunderstand the role of feelings and desires in our lives. Both words are far from the spirit of verse eight of the Veni Sancte Spiritus:

    8 Bend the stubborn heart and will;
    Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
    Guide the steps that go astray.

    Saint Thomas tells us (Summa Theologiæ, 2a2æ, 83, 1 and 2) that desire is the cause of petitionary prayer, since a petition is an expression of desire. As C. S. Lewis says, our feelings are the last part of us to be converted. But our feelings and desires are energies that need to be understood and paid attention to.

    Perhaps the verb we are looking for is “steer,” as in “take hold of the reins” (and use the spurs and whip when necessary).

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