Gifts of the Holy Spirit
The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.
The moral life of Christians is sustained by the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
– If you are struggling in the moral life with certain sins, then pray to the Holy Spirit for a deeper desire to change, and then ask for the appropriate gift/gifts
– Aid us in discernment
– They make the faithful docile in readily obeying divine inspirations.
A virtue is a habitual and firm disposition to do good.
– It allows the person not only to perform good acts but to give the best of himself.
– The virtuous person tends toward the good with all his sensory and spiritual powers; he pursues the good and chooses it in concrete actions.
– The goal of a virtuous life is to become like God.
– EX: If you possess a virtue you can use it at will
– Virtuoso singer has the ready capacity to perform/sing on command
– God infuses us, by the Power of the Holy Spirit, with the Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity, at Baptism and as long as we are in the state of grace
– Those virtues remain in us in a sort of dormant way, because God desires our cooperation and active acceptance and use of these magnificent gifts
THE THEOLOGICAL VIRTUES HELP US TO DECIDE HOW TO ACT IN A PARTICULAR SITUATION THAT WE DEEM TO BE APPROPRIATE
THE GIFTS ARE HIGHER PERFECTIONS AND ARE GUIDED BY A HIGHER POWER THAN OUR OWN, THEY ARE GUIDED BY GOD
How do we obtain the Gifts?
– The seven Gifts, like the theological virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity, are given to us in Holy Baptism.
– Once given they enhance the soul and exist as new, supernatural faculties or powers. Unlike the natural faculties, however, the Gifts depend directly upon God for their exercise.
– Think of the sails on a ship
– We have 7 sails. Raising the sail doesn’t mean we will move, we must wait for the wind to power us.
– As well, just because the wind blows doesn’t mean we will receive the power to move or act if we don’t raise the sail or use the gifts
– AQUINAS thinks everyone in grace receives these 7 gifts
– Necessary for salvation
– Mind is elevated by the Theological virtues, but is only able to judge what is right to do in so far as the power of reason guides us
– The Gifts of the Holy Spirit, being guided by God, help us to transcend and conform to the mind of God (Put on the mind of Christ, says saint paul, meaning, put on the gifts of the Holy Spirit)
– The 7 gifts perfect the natural powers that our soul possesses
– Even with the theological virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity, our hearts can remain – insensitive to the Holy Spirit. The seven Gifts are the remedy for this dullness. They enhance the powers of the soul and make our hearts more sensitive to God, so that we can easily and consistently follow the movements and inspirations of the Holy Spirit.
The 7 Gifts PERFECT the Theological and Cardinal virtues
– Isaiah 11:1-3
– “A branch will sprout from the root of Jesse, and from his root a flower will rise up: and the spirit of the Lord will rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of fortitude, a spirit of knowledge and of piety, and he shall be filled with the spirit of the fear of the Lord”
– Fear of the Lord – Perfects Hope and Temperance
– Saint Thomas Aquinas tells us that we need the Gift of fear as a kind of the first beginning of the perfection of all the Gifts. For the Fear of the Lord conditions us to show proper reverence to God and to be completely devoted to him.
– Servile fear, however, does not involve the full range of freedom and grace that Our Lord wants us to enjoy. There is a second and holier kind of fear that has to do not with punishment, but with the wonderful good of communion with God. This second kind of fear is not afraid of punishment but of losing God. Saint Thomas calls this “filial” fear, the fear of sons since it is the kind of fear a good son should have about ever violating or losing his relationship with his father. To have filial fear means to be eager to avoid the evil of offending God or doing anything that might damage our relationship with him.
– Piety – Perfects Justice
– Can we ever show God the kind of honor and devotion that he deserves? Try as we might, we will never be able to do so on our own. If we are ever going to render to God the kind of homage that we owe him as his creatures and adopted children, then we will need the help of the Holy Spirit. The Gift of Piety is the particular Gift by which God the Holy Spirit himself enables us to come to God paying the kind of homage and worship that is appropriate and best
– Piety makes us readily responsive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit with regard to honoring God as our Father
– SIDE NOTE: The virtue of piety, not the gift, relates then to our respect and justice shown to parents, bosses, our country, etc…
– Knowledge – Perfects Faith
– One grace God gives us to enable us to make a complete and penetrating assent (agreement) to the truth of faith is the Gift of Knowledge.
– The Gift of Knowledge is a perfection of the human mind that disposes us to follow the impulses of the Holy Spirit when we judge human or created things in relation to God.
– Through the Gift of Knowledge, the Holy Spirit guides our judgment so that we can recognize created things—especially human thoughts, words, inclinations, circumstances, and deeds—in the light of Faith.
– IMPORTANT FOR TODAY: Differentiating between what is and is not consistent with Faith. By this Gift, God enables us to recognize when a human and temporal thing—a – 17 – plan, a practice, an idea—ought to be received as consistent with the revealed truth or not.
– The office and function of the Gift of Knowledge are to pass the right judgment about created things so as to purify and perfect our relationship with God. Creaturely things can never stir us to spiritual delight unless they are enjoyed in their fitting and proper relation to the Divine Good.
– Fortitude – Perfects Courage
– Saint Thomas Aquinas teaches that Fortitude (also called Courage), is that kind of firmness of mind and spirit that we need both for doing good and for enduring evil. We require this steadfastness, especially when embracing good and eschewing evil becomes more difficult.
– HELPFUL IN RESISTING TEMPTATION AND ESPECIALLY PEER PRESSURE
– The Fortitude that is a Gift of the Holy Spirit operates as certain, unshakable confidence that will see us through the terrors and trials of earthly life to the eternal joys of heaven
– How many mistakes do we make out of fear? Fear of pain, failure, concern for what others will think of us over what God thinks of us?
– Counsel – Perfects Prudence
– deepens and perfects the human power of deliberation
– The Gift of Counsel renders us sensitive to the movement of the Holy Spirit in a manner supremely compatible and congenial to the deliberating way that we become
motivated to act.
– whereby we are guided by the very advice of God
– The Gift of Counsel does not bring us assistance in worldly affairs. Rather, this Gift makes us responsive to the enlightenment of God in everything that pertains to the goal of eternal life
– The Gift of Counsel bears very practical consequences, for Counsel keeps us from foolishness and from impetuosity (acting without thinking).
– Understanding – Perfects Faith
– Endows us with a certain, intimate knowledge of God Himself.
– Saint Thomas Aquinas observes that human knowledge starts from the outside through our interaction with the things around us via the five senses. However, the natural light of understanding that we possess bears only limited power. In terms of comprehension, it can carry us just so far. Therefore, we require a supernatural light capable of piercing the boundaries restricting natural light so as to give us access to knowledge we could never otherwise reach on our own.
– The function of the Gift of Understanding, then, is to enable us to see into the meaning—the core and inner truth—of the principles of what we know in the life of grace.
– enlighten our minds to recognize the supernatural truth on which our wills should be intent
– Wisdom – perfects the virtue of Charity
– Wisdom is where Knowledge and experience coexist.
– For Wisdom implies a certain rightness of judgment in contemplating and consulting divine realities. Since truly good things have as their highest cause the sovereign good and ultimate end (God himself), the truly wise must be said to have – 29 – a certain knowing familiarity with that highest cause
– Wisdom is not only theoretical but practical as well. As its principal function, Wisdom first contemplates divine ideas and realities. However, in the light of this contemplation, Wisdom also directs human actions according to divine reasons. Through the act of meditation, Wisdom ponders divine things in itself. Through the act of consultation, Wisdom makes a judgment that directs human actions according to divine directives. In this way, we see how Wisdom remains both speculative and practical.
– Saint Thomas associates Wisdom with the peacemaker of the Beatitudes. A peacemaker is one who brings about peace in himself or in others. Since peace is not merely the absence of conflict but the tranquility of right order it is produced when one puts first things first and arranges everything in harmony with God
– As the wise person considers and evaluates the many and various options before him according to the mind of God, he produces the kind of tranquillity that proceeds only from fitting all the pieces of our life into a divinely providential whole.
The fruits of the Spirit are perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as the first fruits of eternal glory. The tradition of the Church lists twelve of them: “charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity.” Gal 5:22-23