The Holy Spirit–Artist of souls

Pauline Books & Media has come out with a lovely series, Classic Wisdom Collection, which offers introductions, backgrounds, and excerpts from Catholic writers (many of whom are saints), including Therese of Lisieux, John of the Cross, Catherine of Siena, and Thomas a Kempis. Each small book is an insightful, solid introduction to the book or writer it represents. I think my favorite so far is Inner Peace, by Jean Pierre de Caussade.

But I found this lovely quote in Secrets of the Spirit, by Luis Martinez, who wrote the spiritual classic, The Sanctifier. Preparing for Pentecost and in the middle of several creative projects, I decided to read up on the Spirit. And even though it’s well past Pentecost, I thought I’d share it, as prayer to the Spirit is becoming a more significant part of my prayer.

“How wonderful is the work of the artist! By efforts both ardent and gentle he can infuse hard and shapeles materials with the light of his soul… That is the way one may conceive the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, Artist of souls. Is not sanctity the supreme art?… That which the human artist dreams of without every being able to attain, the divine Artist accomplishes because he is perfect and infinite. His action is not exterior nor intermittent, but intimate and constant. He enters into the depths of our souls, penetrates the innermost recesses, and takes up his permanent dwelling there to produce later on his magnificent work….”

I believe that the Holy Spirit’s work takes place not just inside us, but through us, so that we in a small way take part in “renewing the face of the earth.” It is interesting to compare the characteristics of the artistic life with the qualities of the Spirit listed above:

  • intimacy
  • constancy
  • permanence
  • dwelling
  • gradually (or in time)

So many times we tend to look for inspiration outside of us; how many times is the Spirit really inspiring us from within?

Some of my favorite prayers to the Holy Spirit are hymns–a few from Italian which our sisters have translated into English, and then of course, there is the lovely “Spirit of God” by Marty Haugen (on his album Shepherd Me, O God).

Here is one of my favorite prayers to the Holy Spirit, from Prayers of the Pauline Family, which our Founder, Bl. James Alberione, gave to us. 

Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Photo by Sr. M. Emmanuel Alves, fsp

Divine Holy Spirit,

eternal Love of the Father and of the Son,

I adore you, I thank you, I love you,

and I ask you pardon for all the times

I have grieved you in myself

and in my neighbor.

Descend with many graces during

the holy ordination of bishops and priests,

during the consecration of men and women religious

during the reception of Confirmation by all the faithful;

be light, sanctity and zeal.

To you, Spirit of Truth,

I consecrate my mind, imagination and memory;

enlighten me.

May I know Jesus Christ our Master

and understand his Gospel and the teaching of holy Church.

Increase in me the gifts of wisdom,

knowledge, understanding and counsel.

To you, sanctifying Spirit,

I consecrate my will. Guide me in your will,

sustain me in the observance of the commandments

in the fulfillment of my duties.

Grant me the gifts of fortitude and holy fear of God.

To you, life-giving Spirit,

I consecrate my heart.

Guard and increase the divine life in me.

Grant me the gift of piety. Amen


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