This weekend the power of the Holy Spirit was present in many ways. Queen of Angels Parish celebrated the Sacrament of Confirmation on Friday evening. The candidates were “sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Then on Sunday we celebrated the Solemnity of Pentecost. We recall the day when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles and the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord are the traditional seven spiritual gifts that the Holy Spirit gives to us. They are enumerated in the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. (11:2-3) According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “The moral life of Christians is sustained by the gifts of the Holy Spirit. These are permanent dispositions which make man docile in following the promptings of the Holy Spirit.” (1830)
Here’s a brief summary of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit (from Scott P. Richert) that I found helpful:
Through wisdom, we come to value properly those things which we believe through faith. The truths of Christian belief are more important than the things of this world, and wisdom helps us to order our relationship to the created world properly, loving Creation for the sake of God, rather than for its own sake.
While wisdom is the desire to contemplate the things of God, understanding allows us grasp, at least in a limited way, the very essence of the truths of the Catholic Faith. Through understanding, we gain a certitude about our beliefs that moves beyond faith.
Through the gift of counsel, we are able to judge how best to act almost by intuition. Because of the gift of counsel, Christians need not fear to stand up for the truths of the Faith, because the Holy Spirit will guide us in defending those truths.
Fortitude gives us the strength to follow through on the actions suggested by the gift of counsel. Fortitude is the virtue of the martyrs that allows them to suffer death rather than to renounce the Christian Faith.
Knowledge allows us to see the circumstances of our life the way that God seems them. Through this gift of the Holy Spirit, we can determine God's purpose for our lives and live them accordingly.
Piety takes the willingness to worship and to serve God beyond a sense of duty, so that we desire to worship God and to serve Him out of love.
Fear of the Lord gives us the desire not to offend God, as well as the certainty that God will supply us the grace that we need in order to keep from offending Him. Our desire not to offend God is more than simply a sense of duty; like piety, the fear of the Lord arises out of love.
These Gifts of the Holy Spirit “complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them. They make the faithful docile in readily obeying divine inspirations.” (Catechism, 1831)
By being open and receptive to these gifts of the Holy Spirit you will be pleasantly surprised where the promptings of the Holy Spirit lead you!
Fr. Ed Namiotka