FROM FR. JOE
THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
This Sunday, May 31, is known as Pentecost Sunday. This is the day the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples in the form of tongues of flame. This day is also known as the birthday of the Church. Having received the Holy Spirit, the disciples started going out and telling many people in many different lands about the Resurrection of Christ. When the day of Pentecost began, they were so afraid of persecution and being arrested that they hid themselves in a locked room, but after receiving the Holy Spirit, there was no stopping them. How is it possible that one event could change such timid people into great evangelists? A large part of it was the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. We receive these gifts through the Sacraments; particularly the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. On this Solemnity, I thought it would be helpful to review them.
Wisdom – A person with the gift of Wisdom is not a person who has the answers to all the questions. Rather, it is a person who can see things as God sees them and therefore wants the things of Heaven.
Understanding – While wisdom can be thought of as a desire to know what God knows, understanding is an ability to grasp the truths that God has given us in our Catholic faith.
Counsel – This is all about right judgment. It is important in our daily life to practice the virtue of prudence; making the right decisions. The gift of counsel helps us perfect that. We believe the Holy Spirit will guide our speech and actions at the right time.
Fortitude – Also known as courage. There is also a virtue of courage that we humans can work on doing ourselves. The Holy Spirit helps us by give us this gift so that we can do good in the face of evil and stand up for what is right.
Knowledge – Knowledge allows us to know God’s purpose for us and to be able to live out that purpose. It is not a desire like wisdom or an ability like understanding, but rather about knowing the path that God wants us to follow to get to Heaven.
Piety – This is the gift that helps us to worship God. Piety allows us to serve God with love, rather than a feeling of duty.
Fear of the Lord – The gift of fear is not about being afraid of God, but rather a deep respect of God. We know that God does so much for us and so we dread the thought of doing anything to offend Him.
May the Holy Spirit increase these gifts in us and allow us to continue to serve Him.