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An ancient song rises. It’s words, written in Latin in the 9th century and originally sung in Gregorian chant, comprise one of the earliest hymns to the Holy Spirit. Veni Creator Spiritus, well established in both Catholic and Anglican prayer books, has been set for performance in the concert hall and as an integral part of communal worship.

One of the most well-known works of Mahler is on this week’s playlist. It features the text of this hymn and a cast of over 1,000 performers, hence, it is known as The Symphony of A Thousand. As we prepare for Pentecost and reflect on the stories told in Acts – stories of thousands of people who heard the gospel and were moved by the Holy Spirit – let’s listen to the beauty and diversity of the settings of these earliest words of praise for the third person of the Trinity.

Veni Creator Spiritus

Come, Holy Ghost, Creator, come

from thy bright heav’nly throne;

come, take possession of our souls,

and make them all thine own.

Thou who art called the Paraclete,

best gift of God above,

the living spring, the living fire,

sweet unction and true love.

Thou who art sevenfold in thy grace,

finger of God’s right hand;

his promise, teaching little ones

to speak and understand.

O guide our minds with thy blest light,

with love our hearts inflame;

and with thy 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 thy sacred wing.

Through thee may we the Father know,

through thee th’eternal Son,

and thee the Spirit of them both,

thrice-blessed three in One.


This week’s playlist includes a variety of settings of the hymn Veni Creator Spiritus