O Holy Spirit, Soul of my soul, I adore you. Enlighten me, guide me, strengthen me, console me. Tell me what I ought to do, and command me to do it. I promise to submit myself to all that You ask of me, and to accept all that You permit to happen to me. Only let me know Your will. Amen.
The Holy Spirit, Solace in the Midst of Woe
Note: Meditations for Days 1 through 8 are based on the book Come Creator Spirit, by Rev. A. Biskupek, SVD, now out of print.
For centuries the children of the Church have prayed to the Spouse of the Holy Spirit in the Salve Regina: “To thee do we cry poor banished children of Eve. To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears....” Indeed, this earth is a valley of tears ever since our first parents were expelled from paradise. To support the sorrows of this life, we need the Holy Spirit to be solace for our souls.
If any evil in this world is deserving of tears, it is sin. While all sin offends God, wounds the human person and grieves the Holy Spirit, mortal sin is spiritual suicide. It brings the loss of God, and the danger that the soul could lose eternally Him for whom we were created. Without God, nothing has value; even the merits of good works of one in mortal sin, are of no avail. Unless atoned and forgiven, mortal sin brings eternal death of damnation. Tears of repentance, inspired, permeated, and sweetened by the Holy Spirit are a most precious grace, and therefore as we intercede for sinners, we pray that hardened hearts be pierced through with sorrow for sin, and the desire of forgiveness and holiness of life.
Who can name the countless other sorrows of life that bring us suffering? Searing grief at the death of loved ones; natural disasters and political upheavals, wars and rumors of war; sickness, poverty, loss of jobs, financial worries and so forth. Whether God in His wisdom sees fit to remove the cross or not, the Holy Spirit consoles the sorrowing by bestowing an increase of faith and trust, a greater detachment from earthly things, and a courage in sacrifice. Filled with the strength and consolation of the Holy Spirit we can even rejoice in the midst of trials and tribulations.
Where there is no material poverty or physical suffering, there are innumerable other trials that hurt deeply: worries over the salvation of loved ones, disappointments and heartbreaks, feeling abandoned by God, etc. God uses these trials to purify our hearts and to direct our thoughts and affections more completely to Him. In the midst of all these woes, the Holy Spirit comes as a gentle, divine solace, lifting our hearts to the thought of heaven, where God will wipe away all tears from their eyes, and death shall be no more, nor mourning, crying or sorrow, for all these things will have passed away. (Cf. Rev. 21:4)