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Novena to the Holy Spirit – Day 5 – Kindness

Ask the Holy Spirit for the fruit of kindness on the fifth day of Novena to the Holy Spirit.


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.


Merciful Father, your kindness endures forever. May the same Holy Spirit who filled the heart of St Philip fill our hearts also, and make himself known in the kindness we show to those around us. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Reading | Eph 4:30-32

Do not grieve the Spirit of God, with which you have been sealed for the day of redemption. All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.

Responsory | cf. Rm 5:5; 8:11

The love of God has been poured into our hearts (alleluia).
– By his Spirit living in us (alleluia).


The words that St Thomas uses to discuss the fruit of kindness – also called benignity-are particularly apt in this discussion of the saint with the “heart of fire”. Kindness disposes a person to treat other people well, “for the benign are those in whom the salutary flame (bonus ignis) of love has enkindled the desire to be kind to their neighbour.” The flame of love in St Philip showed itself constantly in the cheerful kindness which he showed to all those around him, so much so that Newman can call him “winning saint” and “sweetest of fathers” without exaggeration. A poem that the Cardinal wrote about his patron has become a favorite hymn of the Oratory, and begins, “This is the saint of gentleness and kindness”.

“Cheerfulness strengthens the heart,” St Philip says, and so “in dealing with our neighbour we must assume as much pleasantness of manner as we can, and by this affability win him to the ways of virtue.” He was convinced that the way to win someone over was by kindness, rather than harshness, and so far this approach seems obvious. He advised priests hearing confessions to be compassionate, and dozens of his penitents bear witness that he followed his own advice. But St Philip’s kindness was not affected or insincere; rather, we find its source in his real humility, and in his basic conviction that he was addressing Christ in every person whom he encountered. He was kind to friends and strangers alike: “Philip welcomed those who consulted him with singular benignity, and received them, though strangers, with as much affection as if he had been a long time expecting them.”

In dealing with others, benignity requires that we always assume the best of them, and not impute bad motives to the things we see them do. “We should never remind anyone of his natural defects,” St Philip counsels, and “we must sometimes bear with little defects in others. We should not be quick at correcting others; we ought to hate no one.” Several centuries later, Cardinal Newman would incorporate these and similar sentiments into his definition of a gentleman (in The Idea of a University). Kindness is at the heart of the community life that is the essence of the Congregation of the Oratory, and a necessary protection against the dangers that threaten fraternal love. “Our enemy, the devil, who fights with us in order to vanquish us, seeks to disunite us in our houses and to breed quarrels, dislikes, contests, and rivalries… While we are fighting with each other, he comes and conquers us and makes us more securely his own.”

But cheerful kindness was not something St Philip advised merely for the sake of winning others. It likewise strengthens the heart of the one who practises it, for by being cheerful we are cooperating with the Spirit of kindness, and allowing the “salutary flame of love” to bear fruit in our actions. “The true way to advance in holy virtues is to persevere in a holy cheerfulness,” he says, and “the cheerful are much easier to guide in the spiritual life than the melancholy.” The connection between cheerful kindness and growth in spirituality is found in the freedom that comes with humility, and St Philip saw a lack of cheerfulness to be connected with too much self-concern. “Excessive sadness,” he insisted, “seldom springs from any other source than pride.”

Litany (optional)

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of Heaven, Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
God the Holy Spirit,
Holy Trinity, One God,
Holy Spirit, proceeding from the Father and the Son,
Holy Spirit, co-equal with the Father and the Son,
Promise of the Father, most bounteous,
Ray of Heavenly Light,
Author of all good,
Source of living Water,
Consuming Fire,
Burning Love,
Spiritual Unction,
Spirit of truth and power,
Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
Spirit of counsel and fortitude,
Spirit of knowledge and piety,
Spirit of fear of the Lord,
Spirit of compunction,
Spirit of grace and prayer,
Spirit of love, peace and joy,
Spirit of patience,
Spirit of longanimity and goodness,
Spirit of benignity and mildness,
Spirit of fidelity,
Spirit of modesty and continence,
Spirit of chastity,
Spirit of adoption of sons of God,
Holy Spirit, our Comforter,
Holy Spirit, our Sanctifier,
You Who in the beginning moved upon the waters,
You through Whom spoke holy men of God,
You Who overshadowed the Virgin Mary,
You by Whom Mary conceived Christ,
You Who descend upon men at Baptism,
You Who, on the Day of Pentecost appeared through fiery tongues,
You by Whom we are reborn,
You Who dwell in us as in a Temple,
You Who govern and animate the Church,
You Who fill the whole world,

That You will renew the face of the earth, We beseech You, hear us.
That You may shed Your Light upon us,
That You may pour Your Love into our hearts,
That You may inspire us to love our neighbour,
That You may teach us to ask for the graces we need,
That You may enlighten us with your heavenly inspirations,
That You may guide us in the way of holiness,
That You may make us obedient to Your commandments,
That You may teach us how to pray,
That You may always pray with us,
That You may inspire us with horror for sin,
That You may direct us in the practice of virtue,
That You may make us persevere in a holy life,
That You may make us faithful to our vocation,
That You may grant us good priests and bishops,
That You may give us good Christian families,
That You may grant us a spiritual renewal of the Church,
That You may guide and console the Holy Father,

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world: Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world: Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world: Have mercy on us.
Holy Spirit, hear us. Holy Spirit, Graciously hear us.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Create a clean heart in us, O Lord. Renew a right spirit in us, O Lord.

Let us pray:
O God, who enlightens the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant to us the same Spirit, that we may be truly wise and ever rejoice in his consolation. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Our Father – Hail Mary – Glory Be

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. Set our hearts on fire with your Holy Spirit, and help us to share this flame of love with our brothers and sisters. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Read more about St Philip Neri and the Holy Spirit

This novena is extracted from our book Novena to the Holy Spirit. After Jesus’s ascension into heaven, his apostles remained nine days in Jerusalem, praying for the coming of the Holy Spirit. This has inspired the Christian novena to prepare for major feasts or for special intentions.

Pray to the Holy Spirit with the novena, hymns, litanies, and learn more about the Holy Spirit, by ordering your copy of Novena to the Holy Spirit today.