There are very few prayers to God as the Holy Spirit. This prayer was developed from the Pentecost liturgy. The first two lines are the verses sung with the Alleluia before the Gospel on Pentecost. The third and fourth lines are a quote from the Latin translation of Psalm 104, verse 30. It was part of a chant written for Pentecost. The rest of the prayer, which follows “Let us pray” (when it is prayed publicly), is adapted from the former opening prayer of the feast. The feast of Pentecost now has a new opening prayer. The former prayer is the opening prayer for a Mass of the Holy Spirit such as might be celebrated at the opening of a school year.
This prayer is a good example of how a popular prayer to the Holy Spirit came to be composed by the faithful, using verses they heard sung and prayed at the Pentecost liturgy.
In art the Holy Spirit is often depicted as a dove. This is probably because in the New Testament we first meet the Holy Spirit at the baptism of Jesus. Some of the passages that depict the Holy Spirit as a dove include the following:
. . . and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove [and] coming upon him. (Matthew 3:16)
. . . and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him. (Mark 1:10)
. . . and the holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. (Luke 3:22)
The Holy Spirit reminds us; he reminds us of all that Jesus said. He is the living memory of the Church, and when he reminds us, he helps us understand the words of the Lord.
This remembrance in the Spirit and by virtue of the Spirit . . . is an essential aspect of Christ’s presence within us and within his Church. The Spirit of truth and charity reminds us of all that Christ said and helps us enter ever more fully into the meaning of his words. We all have this experience: one moment, in any situation, there is an idea and then another connects with a passage from Scripture. . . . It is the Spirit who leads us to take this path: the path of the living memory of the Church. And he asks us for a response: the more generous our response, the more Jesus’ words become life within us, becoming attitudes, choices, actions, testimony. In essence the Spirit reminds us of the commandment of love and calls us to live it.
A Christian without memory is not a true Christian but only halfway there: a man or woman, a prisoner of the moment, who doesn’t know how to treasure his or her history, doesn’t know how to read it and live it as salvation history. With the help of the Holy Spirit, however, we are able to interpret interior inspirations and life events in light of Jesus’ words. And thus within us grows the knowledge of memory, knowledge of the heart, which is a gift of the Spirit. May the Holy Spirit rekindle the Christian memory within all of us! And there, that day with the apostles, was Our Lady of Memory, who from the beginning meditated on all those things in her heart. Mary, our Mother, was there. May she help us on this path of memory.
—Excerpted from Walking with Jesus: A Way Forward for the Church by Pope Francis