Reflection on Pentecost: 5th June 2022

Litany of the Holy Spirit

Whenever we talk about God, the Holy Spirit in particular, all we have in any language is an approximation, a metaphor. On the feast of Pentecost we use ‘powerful wind’, ‘tongues of fire’, ‘breath’. Each one is an approximation because we’re dealing with mystery. Mystery does not mean something you can’t understand. Mystery means something you can endlessly understand. We can never say “I’ve got it.” There’s always more.

I have created a litany of the Holy Spirit. These metaphors aren’t ideas to be intellectually understood. They are inner experiences to be had. Slowly, silently read each ‘name’ for the Holy Spirit. Pause, be centred and sit with each one.

Indwelling presence
Homing Device
Overcomer of the gap
Space between everything
The welcoming within

Inner anointing
Knower of all things
God compass
Cloud of unknowing
Divine DNA

Reminder of the Mystery
Implanted pacemaker
Warmer of hearts
Filled emptiness
Softener of our spirit

If only one of those images name something we have experienced, that’s enough. The important thing is that we learn to draw upon that source. The more we draw upon the Holy Spirit, consciously and actively, the more we will experience the presence and the helping of the Holy Spirit. Each image draws us into a mystery that is implanted within us, the presence that dwells in our hearts. We do not know how to pray, so God gives us the Holy Spirit to pray in us and through us and with us and as us. We don’t know what to say. But we have to find a place within us that is above that, a place that bigger than all of that. From that place we live and move and have our deepest being.


‘The work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is to reveal to us the truth of our being so that the way of our being can match it.’

Wm. Paul Young

[Fr Richard Rohr’s Litany of 65 names for the Holy Spirit is found in his book, The Naked Now. It is also found / homilies. Sun 19, 2019]

Gospel John 14:15-16.23-26

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If you love me you will keep my commandments. I shall ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate to be with you for ever. If anyone loves me he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we shall come to him and make our home with him. Those who do not love me do not keep my words. And my word is not my own; it is the word of the one who sent me.

I have said these things to you while still with you; but the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you.’