‘Come with thy grace…and heavenly aid / to fill the hearts which Thou hast made…’
If you’re anywhere near a Catholic church on Pentecost, the chances are pretty good that you’re going to hear (or sing) these words. (Or at least, any Catholic churches where English is spoken.) They form the closing line to ‘Come, Holy Ghost’ – a hymn that has it origins in Gregorian chant, and that’s been a part of our worship tradition for generations.
I’ve found that its very familiarity can be a stumbling block for me, spiritually. I tend not to sing the song with much enthusiasm or intent. It’s just there, like wallpaper.
Or worse: It can become something of a contradiction – my half-hearted assent to the Spirit’s promise of transformation.
Still, these lyrics (though mind-numbingly familiar) may bear a bit more reflection on the day of Pentecost – especially the final eight words:
‘To fill the hearts which Thou hast made.’
How often do we stumble and fall…how often do we short-circuit the Spirit’s offer to shape our lives…simply because we have lost touch with this sense of createdness?
An incredibly important apostrophe has been misplaced in our lives. We go around thinking…
‘we are Gods’
‘we are God’s.’
Catherine de Heuck Doherty writes, ‘The Holy Spirit comes as Fire and Wind to cleanse the heart so there is no impediment for God to pass through.’
An excellent reflection for Pentecost, is it not?
Holy Spirit, Creator God,
Remind me this day that You made me…
I am Yours.
Where You are not, I have naught.
Heal my wounds, my strength renew.
On my dryness, pour Your dew.
Wash the stains of guilt away:
Bend my stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill.
On us let Your gifts descend;
Give us joys that never end.