On major feast days, and today we celebrate one of the biggest-Pentecost, we have what is called a sequence before the alleluia before the reading of the Gospel. Usually sung, it is a chant or work of poetry connected theologically and biblically to the feast being celebrated. While not all were used liturgically, the sequence became a popular Catholic literary genre in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries with nearly 5000 examples. Most of the sequences were removed, however, after the Council of Trent in the Missal of Pius V in 1570. On Easter and Pentecost the singing or reciting of the sequence is mandatory, while the few other sequences are always optional.
Today, we hear the Veni, Sancte Spiritus:
Come, Holy Spirit, come!
And from your celestial home
Shed a ray of light divine!
Come, Father of the poor!
Come, source of all our store!
Come, within our bosoms shine.
You, of comforters the best;
You, the soul's most welcome guest;
Sweet refreshment here below;
In our labor, rest most sweet;
Grateful coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe.
O most blessed Light divine,
Shine within these hearts of yours,
And our inmost being fill!
Where you are not, we have naught,
Nothing good in deed or thought,
Nothing free from taint of ill.
Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour your dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away:
Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.
On the faithful, who adore
And confess you, evermore
In your sevenfold gift descend;
Give them virtue's sure reward;
Give them your salvation, Lord;
Give them joys that never end. Amen.