John Paul II knew the importance of prayer: he was known to pray for many hours each day, interceding for both the Church and world and growing ever closer in his relationship to God. He believed prayer was his first duty as the pope to “obtain help from God and to be able to make things better.”
“Prayer joined to sacrifice constitutes the most powerful force in human history. In prayer, you become one with the source of our true light – Jesus Himself.”
Even as a child, the young future pontiff was no stranger to prayer. In 1931, he was eleven years old and struggling with his math class. His father Karol Wojtyła Sr. wanted to aid him in his studies and introduced Karol Wojtyła Jr. to the hymn Veni Creator Spiritus. He turned this prayer into a habit, saying it every day from that point on.
“From the time I was little, I learned to pray to the Holy Spirit. When I was 11, I was feeling sad because I was having a lot of trouble with math. My dad showed me in a little book the hymn Veni Creator Spiritus, and he told me, ‘Pray this and you’ll see that He’ll help you to understand.’ I’ve been praying this hymn every day for more than 40 years, and I’ve seen how much the Divine Spirit helps us.”
Veni Creator Spiritus, or “Come Creator Spirit,” is a hymn written in the 9th century by a French Benedictine monk named Rabanus Maurus. It is an invocation of the Holy Spirit, sung in Gregorian Chant in the original Latin during the Feast of Pentecost, the consecration of a new pope, bishop, or priest, and many other solemn Church occasions.
Read below and pray the Veni Creator Spiritus, as Pope Saint John Paul II did every day.
Come, Holy Spirit, Creator blest,
and in our souls take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heavenly aid
to fill the hearts which Thou hast made.
O comforter, to Thee we cry,
O heavenly gift of God Most High,
O fount of life and fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.
Thou in Thy sevenfold gifts are known;
Thou, finger of God’s hand we own;
Thou, promise of the Father, Thou
Who dost the tongue with power imbue.
Kindle our sense from above,
and make our hearts o’erflow with love;
with patience firm and virtue high
the weakness of our flesh supply.
Far from us drive the foe we dread,
and grant us Thy peace instead;
so shall we not, with Thee for guide,
turn from the path of life aside.
Oh, may Thy grace on us bestow
the Father and the Son to know;
and Thee, through endless times confessed,
of both the eternal Spirit blest.
Now to the Father and the Son,
Who rose from death, be glory given,
with Thou, O Holy Comforter,
henceforth by all in earth and heaven. Amen.