Praying Inspired by Images of the Holy Spirit

In medieval iconography the Holy Spirit was often evoked by using the image of a dove. There are many such images that symbolize the Holy Spirit in the Chartres Cathedral.

Two of the best known representations of the Holy Spirit are found in the north rose window (above) and above Notre Dame de la Belle Verrière (below),

Representation of the Holy Spirit in the Window of the Beautiful Lady

While in Chatres, you may wish to pray in one or more of these ways as you consider your relationship with the Holy Spirit of God.
  1. Draw a dove and as you do, notice how the shapes, colors, associations lead you into prayer.
  2. Pray to the Spirit sharing your deep desires and thoughts.
  3. Imagine that the dove, as a symbol of the Holy Spirit, is looking at you and looking into you. Ask, “What do You see as You look at me?”
  4. Go on a “treasure hunt” for other images of the Holy Spirit in the cathedral. When you discover them, let them guide your prayer. (Hint: two other images of the Holy Spirit can be found in a small rose window in the upper north aisle (about half way down the nave) depicting Mary with Jesus and the gifts of the spirit, and in the sculpture that depicts the crowning of Mary in the outer choir.)
  5. Use the image of the Holy Spirit in the Window of Our Beautiful Lady to help you pray
  6. Repeat, “Come, Holy Spirit” as a prayer phrase to draw you deeply into the presence of God.
Dove above Jesus' head in the Jesse Window (1140-1150)

Doves fly above Jesus at the top of the Jesse window in the west.

Scriptures to meditate with:

Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Matthew 1:18

Mary and the Holy Spirit, Annunciation image in the apsidal window

The Holy Spirit figures prominently in the two of the annunciation images in the cathedral, in the apse and in the eastern side of the north transept, where the Holy Spirit approaches Mary near her neck (badly in need of restoration).

I [John] baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. Matthew 3:11

…the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” Luke 3:22

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Jesus, Matthew 28:19

the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. John 14:26

Jesus breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” John 20:22

The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. Romans 8:26

Mary with Jesus on her lap, upper north choir (13th century)

Conclude your prayer time with this song. If you don’t know the tune, make up one of your own.

Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me.
Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me.
Melt me, move me, fill me, use me.
Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me.

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