Monday, November 20, 2006

Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Our lesson last night was on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. For those remiss in their theology they are:

1. Wisdom
2. Understanding
3. Counsel
4. Fortitude
5. Knowledge
6. Piety
7. Fear of the Lord

Where do they come from? That is, where does God reveal them to us? The Seven Gifts of the Spirit are from Isaiah 11:2
The spirit of the LORD shall rest on him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of
the LORD.
Fortitude is another word for might. In the book the prophet is foretelling of the coming of Jesus "a shoot coming from the stump of Jesse" and the gifts that he shall have from God. Since both the Father and the Son share their relationship with the Holy Spirit, as we say "I believe in the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father and the Son," Jesus had all of the Gifts of the Spirit in their highest, most holy, pure form.

The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church says
“The Holy Spirit” is the proper name of the third Person of the Most Holy Trinity. Jesus also called him the Paraclete (Consoler or Advocate) and the Spirit of Truth. The New Testament also refers to him as the Spirit of Christ, of the Lord, of God - the Spirit of Glory and the Spirit of the Promise.
At Pentecost, the Churches' birthday, the spirit descended upon the Apostles. At baptism the Holy Spirit makes each of us baptized in the name of the Triune God a new creature, a "son or daughter of light." At Confirmation (or as it is called in the Eastern Churches Chrismation for the anointing with holy myron or chrism that takes place) the recipient is given the same gifts that the Apostles were given at Pentecost.
So why don't we start speaking in tongues and rush out to preach the Gospel in the face of persecution and death?
Well some of us do, but like the Apostles we must be ready to receive the gifts of the Spirit. Don't forget the Apostles had already seen the risen Christ. They had broken bread with Him, that is said Mass. They had seen Him raised to Heaven amid the praise of Angels. They could be said to be a little more prepared for the gifts of the Spirit than most of us.
But least we lose hope God places among us those who a ripe with the Gifts of the Spirit. And the Church elevates them as examples for us to emulate. They are the Saints, and in some ways also the Blessed, on their way to sainthood.
Like the Servant of God John Paul II, whose greatest act was perhaps not the defeat of Communism, or the bringing of the Church into the 21st century, but the forgiveness that he gave to a man who tried to kill him. For as Jesus said:
“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what
they are doing.” Luke 23:34
In our own time Blessed Teresa of Calcutta provided an example:
Until her death in 1997, Mother Teresa continued her work among the poorest of the poor, depending on God for all of her needs. Honors too numerous to mention had come her way throughout the years, as the world stood astounded by her care for those usually deemed of little value. In her own eyes she was "God's pencil—a tiny bit of pencil with which he writes what he likes." American Catholic

So pray to the Holy Spirit, and ask the Saints to intercede with the Spirit on your behalf. Then go out there rich in the Spirit to do God's work.

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