Music, the Holy Spirit and Pentecost

Veni Creator Spiritus by Vox Nostra (see below for the Latin and translation)

The Book of Acts tells us that Parthians, Medes and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Jude and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene, as well as travelers from Rome, both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs - all these were able to understand the apostles speaking of the mighty acts of God. (Acts 2:1-11)

The Opening Collect of the Vigil Mass for Pentecost prays the Spirit to come rest in our hearts and disperse the divisions of word and tongue, that with one voice and one song we might praise God's name in joy and thanksgiving.

At the top of the sidebar there's a widget with 17 musical settings of prayers calling on the Holy Spirit to come upon us. Some will be familiar and others less so. (Have you taken some time to listen to some of them?) And then there's the video above from Vox Nostra.

This video gives us the ancient and familiar Veni, Creator Spiritus (text and translation below) in a version that may not suit the taste of some while others will certainly appreciate and be at home with its musical language. Of course, the Holy Spirit is not restricted to particular musical forms in reaching and touching God's people. Certainly the Holy Spirit falls afresh on us all, even those whose music is may be very different - no?

The music that reaches my heart is much different than what Vox Nostra offers above but if Pentecost teaches us anything, it's that the Spirit comes in every language, upon all peoples and with a desire to brings us together as one. Some will argue that this means we all need to sing the same song, in the same language, but I doubt the Spirit is so limited. Pentecost teaches us is that we need to listen for the Spirit's song in many voices, sounds, harmonizations and tempi - that, indeed, there is no sound through which the Spirit does not speak, the Spirit who prays in us with inexpressible groanings, sounds understood by the one who searches hearts... (Romans 8:26-27)

Veni, Creator Spiritus
Veni, creator Spiritus
mentes tuorum visita,
imple superna gratia,
quae tu creasti pectora.

Qui diceris Paraclitus,
altissimi donum Dei,
fons vivus, ignis, caritas
et spiritalis unctio.

Tu septiformis munere,
digitus paternae dexterae
tu rite promissum Patris
sermone ditans guttura.

Accende lumen sensibus,
infunde amorem cordibus,
infirma nostri corporis,
virtute firmans perpeti.

Hostem repellas longius
pacemque dones protinus;
ductore sic te praevio
vitemus omne noxium.

Deo Patri sit gloria,
et Filio qui a mortuis
Surrexit, ac Paraclito,
in saeculorum saecula.

Come, Holy Spirit
Come, Holy Spirit, Creator, come,
From your bright heavnly throne,
Come take possession of our souls,
And make them all your own.

You who are called the Paraclete,
Best gift of God above,
The living spring, the living fire,
Sweet unction and true love.

You who are sevnfold in your grace,
Finger of God’s right hand
His promise teaching little ones
To speak an understand.

O guide our minds with your bless’d light,
With love our hearts inflame;
And with your strength, which ne’er decays
Confirm our mortal frame.

Far from us drive our deadly foe;
True peace unto us bring;
And through all perils lead us safe
Beneath your sacred wing.

All glory to the Father be,
With his coequal Son;
The same to you, great Paraclete,
While endless ages run.

Subscribe to A Concord Pastor Comments


  1. Oh my - this is outstanding.

    The music and images are so jarring. Which is what I am thinking Pentecost must have been like and frankly should still be. Jarring and yet assuring.

    I wrote a comment on a blog where I noted that Kata holos means according to the whole. Catholic and catholic, according to the whole and universal.

    Which the unsettling but yet compelling music of Vox Noxtra and the message of Pentecost remind us of.

    This post is brilliant - thank you!

  2. Thank you for introducing me to Vox Nostra. I found it quite compelling, and spirited - well suited to the actions of the Holy Spirit.

  3. Their pronunciation of Latin reminded me of my two years in Mrs. Hill's high school Latin classes. I pronounced Latin as I had learned it from going to mass, i.e., church Latin. Mrs. Hill's pronunciation of veni, vidi, vici was weni, widi, wiki and Caesar was Kaiser. Drove me crazy! Because I was her best Latin student, she let me pronounce it the way I wanted to!



Please THINK before you write
and PRAY before you think!