PRAYER: Novena To The Holy Spirit—Day Nine, Self Control, by Philip Bochanski

Praying With Saint Philip Neri For An Outpouring Of The Holy Spirit

Novena To The Holy Spirit—Day Nine, Self Control Philip Bochanski

From: Novena to the Holy Spirit

Hymn: 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.



Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of your love.  Send forth your Spirit, and they will be created.

And you will renew the face of the Earth.


Father, the wisdom and strength of your Holy Spirit made Saint Philip a model of chastity to inspire those around him.  May that same Spirit strengthen us in mind and body, and teach us to serve you with pure hearts.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.



I say, then: live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh.  For the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.  Now those who belong to Christ have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit. (Galatians 5:16-17, 24-25)


The love of God has been poured into our hearts.  Alleluia.

By his Spirit living in us, alleluia.


The spiritual fruit of continence, or self-control, is closely connected with the virtue of temperance, and means that the Holy Spirit working in us gives us power to control our bodily desires, and to keep both soul and body in their proper relationship.  The Vulgate translation of the letter to the Galatians adds two more spiritual fruits here – modesty and chastity – which further specify the self-control which continence involves, and draw our attention to the importance of integrity and vigilance with regard to sexuality.  In Saint Philip’s time, as in our own, chastity was not a “fashionable” virtue, as the art and philosophy of the late Renaissance humanists seemed to revive all of the excesses of ancient paganism.  The continence that Saint Philip displayed in his own life, and encouraged in the lives of others, gives evidence of the power of the Holy Spirit at work in him.

Those who gave testimony during the process of Saint Philip’s canonization noted over and over the great purity which was evident in his whole demeanor – so much so that, as Cardinal Newman tells us, “It shone out of his countenance.  His eyes were so clear and bright, even to the last years of his life, that no painter ever succeeded in giving the expression of them.  Moreover, his body, even in his old age, emitted a fragrance which refreshed those who came near him.”  All of his biographers relate that Saint Philip maintained his virginity throughout his life, despite many attempts by those who were jealous of him to trip him up.  His constant approach was to avoid the source of the temptation; he always said that, “In the warfare of the flesh, only cowards gain the victory; that is, those who flee.”

This was his advice to his penitents as well, for he believed that “in the matter of purity, there is no greater danger than no fearing the danger.”  “When a person puts himself in the occasion of sin, saying, ‘I shall not fall, I shall not commit it,’ it is an almost infallible sign that he will fall, and with all the greater damage to his soul.”  And so he gave his followers some very practical rules for daily living, which were no doubt drawn from years of his own experience: they needed good friends, but should avoid bad company; they were not to retire to their rooms immediately after the midday meal; they must avoid idleness.  When faced with a sudden temptation, they should fix their minds on something else, no matter what, and use little prayers like, “God, come to my assistance; Lord, make haste to help me.”  Above all, he insisted, frequent use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation was central to the battle for chastity.  “A most excellent means of keeping ourselves pure is to lay open all our thoughts, as soon as possible, to our confessor, with the greatest sincerity, and keep nothing hidden in ourselves.  To acquire and preserve the virtue of chastity, we have need of a good and experienced confessor.”

This was Saint Philip’s special ministry, and in the confessional he used every gift and fruit of the Spirit to bring souls back to God.  It is said that he had a supernatural ability to know who had committed sins against chastity by their smell, and at times he would tell a penitent who was embarrassed and hesitant to confess, “My son, I know your sins already.”  Notwithstanding his own strict virtue, and this ability to detect the stench of sin, he treated those who came to him to confess sins of impurity with the utmost compassion.  “One of the most efficacious means of keeping chaste, he said, “is to have compassion for those who fall through their frailty, and never to boast in the least of being free.”  He insisted that his disciples treat each other with the same patient understanding, and he used to say that, “Not to have pity for another in such cases was a forerunner of a speedy fall in ourselves; and that when he found a man censorious, and secure of himself, and without fear, he gave him up for lost.”

By his tender guidance Saint Philip helped many young men to make a good confession and to be set free from years worth of bad habits and serious sins, and their connection with him enabled them to persevere in chastity.  “Many confessed that they were at once delivered from temptations by his merely laying his hands on their heads.  The very mention of his name had a power of shielding from Satan those who were assailed by his fiery darts.”

Litany of the Holy Spirit

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.

Father all-powerful, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Eternal Son of the Father, have mercy on us.
Redeemer of the world, save us.
Spirit of the Father and the Son, boundless life of both, sanctify us.
Holy Trinity, hear us.

Holy Spirit, proceeding from the Father and the Son, enter our hearts.
Holy Spirit, co-equal to the Father and the Son, enter our hearts.

Promise of God the Father, have mercy on us.
Ray of Heavenly light, have mercy on us.
Author of all good, have mercy on us.
Source of Heavenly water, have mercy on us.
Consuming fire, have mercy on us.
Ardent charity, have mercy on us.
Spiritual unction, have mercy on us.
Spirit of love and truth, have mercy on us.
Spirit of wisdom and understanding, have mercy on us.
Spirit of counsel and fortitude, have mercy on us.
Spirit of knowledge and piety, have mercy on us.
Spirit of the fear of the Lord, have mercy on us.
Spirit of grace and prayer, have mercy on us.
Spirit of peace and meekness, have mercy on us.
Spirit of modesty and innocence, have mercy on us.
Holy Spirit, the Comforter, have mercy on us.
Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier, have mercy on us.
Holy Spirit, who governs the Church, have mercy on us.
Gift of God, the Most High, have mercy on us.
Spirit Who fills the universe, have mercy on us.
Spirit of the adoption of the children of God, have mercy on us.

Holy Spirit, inspire us with horror of sin.
Holy Spirit, come and renew the face of the Earth.
Holy Spirit, shed your light in our souls.
Holy Spirit, engrave your law in our hearts.
Holy Spirit, inflame us with the flame of your love.
Holy Spirit, open to us the treasures of your graces.
Holy Spirit, teach us to pray well.
Holy Spirit, enlighten us with your Heavenly inspirations.
Holy Spirit, lead us in the way of salvation.
Holy Spirit, grant us the only necessary knowledge.
Holy Spirit, inspire in us the practice of good.
Holy Spirit, grant us the merits of all virtues.
Holy Spirit, make us persevere in justice.
Holy Spirit, be our everlasting reward.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, send us your Holy Spirit.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, pour down into our souls the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant us the Spirit of wisdom and piety.

Come, Holy Spirit! Fill the hearts of your faithful,
And enkindle in them the fire of your love.

Grant, O Merciful Father, that your Divine Spirit may enlighten, inflame, and purify us, that he may penetrate us with his Heavenly dew and make us fruitful in good works, through Our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who with you, in the unity of the same Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, forever and ever.


The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done
on Earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.



Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.


Concluding Prayer

Heavenly Father, hear the prayers that we make in the name of your son, and give us the Paraclete whom he promised you would send.  May your love for us give us strength to respond to you, and to bear fruit in our love for you and for our neighbor.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.


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