From his childhood, his father instilled in Karol a strong devotion to the Holy Spirit. He recalled his father telling him, “You don’t pray to the Holy Spirit enough. You ought to pray to him.” Karol, Sr., gave him a prayer book on the Holy Spirit, which he used throughout his life, and also taught him the following prayer and instructed him to recite it daily:
Holy Spirit, I ask you for the gift of Wisdom to better know You and Your divine perfections, for the gift of Understanding to clearly discern the spirit of the mysteries of the holy faith, for the gift of Counsel that I may live according to the principles of this faith, for the gift of Knowledge that I may look for counsel in You and that I may always find it in You, for the gift of Fortitude that no fear or earthly preoccupations would ever separate me from You, for the gift of Piety that I may always serve Your Majesty with a filial love, for the gift of the Fear of the Lord that I may dread sin, which offends You, O my God.
He kept this prayer on a handwritten note, and prayed it every day for the gifts of the Holy Spirit, offering a Hail Mary and an Our Father for each of the seven gifts. He said this prayer resulted a half century later in his encyclical on the Holy Spirit, Dominum et Vivificantem. His father’s witness may have given birth to an encyclical, but its greatest effects took place within the Holy Father’s soul. As Saint Louis de Montfort explained, “the greatest things on earth are done interiorly in the hearts of faithful souls.” The Pope’s relationship with the Holy Spirit was summed up best when he was asked, “How does the Pope pray?” He answered, “You would have to ask the Holy Spirit!”