Rom 8: 22-27
We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Praying on one another’s behalf
Servant of God Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyễn Văn Thuận was imprisoned for 13 years after the fall of Saigon in 1975. He recounted his moments of despair and exhaustion that made it difficult for him to pray. One day an atheist prison guard and policeman visited him and asked the then archbishop to teach him any prayer in Latin. Văn Thuận sang several Latin prayers to let the guard choose. He chose the Veni Creator Spiritu (Come, Creator Spirit) hymn to the Holy Spirit. The guard memorized it and sang it often with enthusiasm. Reflecting on this experience years later, the archbishop wrote: “When an archbishop cannot pray, the Lord sends him a policeman to sing the Veni Creator and help him to pray!”
The Spirit groans with longing on our behalf especially when we lack the words and strength to pray. On whose behalf is the Spirit asking you to pray today?
Come, O Creator Spirit blest!
And in our souls take up Thy rest;
Come with Thy grace and heavenly aid,
To fill the hearts which Thou hast made.
Great Paraclete! To Thee we cry,
O highest gift of God most high!
O font of life! O fire of love!
And sweet anointing from above.
Thou in Thy sevenfold gifts art known,
The finger of God’s hand we own;
The promise of the Father, Thou!
Who dost the tongue with power endow.
Kindle our senses from above,
And make our hearts overflow 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 true 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.
All glory while the ages run
Be to the Father and the Son
Who rose from death;
the same to Thee,
O Holy Ghost, eternally. Amen.
—Veni Creator Spiritu