The Catholic Church has a beautifully rich and unique tradition of prayers and devotions which the faithful have utilized since the Church began almost 2000 years ago. Many of these are addressed to God Himself, while others include intercessory prayers to Mary and to the saints. This treasure trove of prayers is an inherited tradition, and the Church is still adding to this inexhaustible inheritance.
In this light, we are excited to announce a brand new devotion, the Chaplet of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
While the Chaplet of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit was created and developed by Fr. Matthew Buettner, Spiritual Director for St. Joseph’s College Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina, Fr. Buettner is quick to give credit to the Holy Spirit.
I think the Chaplet itself was something that came from the Holy Spirit because it wasn’t something I intended to do.Fr. Matthew Buettner
The origins of the Chaplet
A native of Peoria, Illinois, Fr. Matthew Buettner was ordained to the priesthood in 2003, and since 2016 has served as House Spiritual Director for St. Joseph College Seminary in Charlotte. As full-time spiritual director for seminarians, religious, and laity, he sees first-hand the struggles of Catholics in all walks of life.
In his previous experience as a parish priest preparing catechumens and candidates for the Sacrament of Confirmation, and in his role as spiritual director, Fr. Buettner became intrigued by the gifts of the Holy Spirit and their importance in the spiritual life. As he grew in his understanding of them, he found himself asking a question: How do we actually increase in each of these gifts that we have been given at baptism? How are we able to grow in these gifts?
What he realized was that the only way to grow in them is through prayer.
God is the one who infuses us with the grace of each of these gifts of the Holy Spirit and therefore, the only way, in fact, to grow in each of these gifts is to ask for it. But we don’t know what we are asking for. And so the purpose of the Chaplet is to pray for each one of these gifts in a particular way.Fr. Matthew Buettner
By coming to a greater understanding of what the gifts are that we are praying for—and by asking for each one of these gifts which we already possess—Fr. Buettner explains that “we are truly asking God to give us a greater share in His life, in His love, in His knowledge, in His truth.”
Not surprisingly, as his knowledge of the gifts grew, so did Fr. Buettner’s love and devotion to the Holy Spirit. In fact, what Fr. Buettner discovered was the need for a revival throughout the Church of devotion to the Holy Spirit. Interestingly, many Catholics have expressed difficulty in developing a relationship with the Holy Spirit. When asked why this might be so, Fr. Buettner explained:
The work of the Holy Spirit is often encapsulated in the theology of Confirmation or briefly visited in the mystery of the Feast of Pentecost, but the Holy Spirit is largely ignored and therefore His inspirations neglected in the practice of the Faith. In other words, most Christians simply don’t know the divine tools with which they are equipped. However, the investment of even a modest amount of time and attention on the work that the Holy Spirit is accomplishing in our souls by means of His gifts reaps plentiful dividends.Fr. Matthew Buettner
While we cannot demand a gift, we can pray for it, says Fr. Buettner:
Although we cannot give ourselves a gift, we can develop a greater capacity to receive what He desires to give.Fr. Matthew Buettner
A new Good Catholic series
As the Chaplet was developed, so was the excitement around its creation, and a new Good Catholic series was proposed. This series has now launched and is titled The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. In this 8-day series, Fr. Buettner is your spiritual guide in getting to know the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity and the incredible gifts He offers us.
Since we already possess the gifts from the moment of our baptism, Fr. Buettner explains in this series that it is our duty to develop them by prayer and to exercise them in the practice of our daily duties. How do we do that?
We pray. And this is where the Chaplet of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit comes in.
The Chaplet is granted Ecclesiastical Approbation
Bishop Peter Jugis of the Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina granted Ecclesiastical Approbation to the Chaplet after he spent time examining its prayers and texts. Bishop Jugis, too, expressed his hope that the Chaplet will bear many fruits of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those who pray it faithfully, and above all, bring about an increase of love for God.
Prayers included in the Chaplet
At its inception, the Chaplet of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit began with the idea of utilizing the Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Similar to that Chaplet, in the Chaplet of the Seven Gifts, we are encouraged to pray one Our Father and seven Hail Marys as we contemplate each particular gift of the Holy Spirit and pray for its increase in our Christian life.
The Chaplet begins with the traditional Prayer to the Holy Spirit:
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love. Send forth Thy Spirit and they shall be created and Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.
Let us pray.
O God, who did instruct the hearts of Thy faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant us in the same Spirit to be truly wise, and ever to rejoice in His consolation. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
The Chaplet ends with the beautiful prayer to the Holy Spirit written by Cardinal Désiré-Joseph Mercier:
The beautiful design followed a thoughtful and prayerful process
In order to create the chaplet itself, Fr. Buettner met with rosary designers from The Catholic Company, and in considering the design of the chaplet they reflected on the richness of the prayers it offers. Morgan Smith, a Product Development Manager for The Catholic Company, said it was a true privilege to work on the design for the chaplet, especially knowing that it will spread devotion to the Holy Spirit and the Seven Gifts given by Him.
Together with Father we decided the chaplet should have hints of red for the Holy Spirit, but not overwhelmingly so. We were led to this Red Creek Jasper bead with enough variety to make each bead an individual meditation upon the different gifts. The fire-polished glass beads separating each bead symbolize the light of the Holy Spirit—along with the one large red fire-polished bead symbolizing the fire of the Holy Spirit.Morgan Smith, from The Catholic Company
Father explained that it was his intention and his hope that the Chaplet act as a “tuning fork to train the ear to be more attentive to the tone of God’s voice”:
From the moment that the soul is bathed in the holy waters of Baptism, the Christian becomes a temple of the Holy Spirit. The divine gift exchanged between the eternal Father and His beloved Son is poured upon each one of God’s adopted sons and daughters. The Holy Spirit, therefore, has been called the “soul’s delightful guest.” The mysterious indwelling of the Holy Spirit is not merely meant to inhabit in the soul, to take up residence like Our Lord’s persistent presence in the tabernacle whenever the Blessed Sacrament is present; instead, the Holy Spirit is present in the soul to animate the faculties and powers of the Christian to accomplish magnanimous work, namely the sanctification and salvation of our soul.Fr. Matthew Buettner
Hope for the new devotion
The faithful have always used a variety of practices as a means of permeating everyday life with prayers to God. Examples include novenas in honor of Mary and the other saints, the Rosary, the Angelus, the Stations of the Cross, the veneration of relics, the use of sacramentals, etc. Properly used, popular devotional practices do not replace the liturgical life of the Church; rather, they extend it into daily life. While the Holy Mass itself is known as the highest form of prayer and “the source and summit of our faith,” these prayers and devotions enrich us and actually assist us in continuing to draw on the Mass even throughout our daily life.
The hope is that this brand-new devotion will ignite and draw people to a new relationship with the Holy Spirit and will assist in prayers for the seven gifts in particular ways.
What a gift Fr. Buettner has given to the whole Church!
To learn more about the new series, The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, or to join the series: