Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Devotion for today: What are the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit


To prepare for the Feast of Pentecost on Sunday, let us take time this week to meditate on the Holy Spirit.

Scripture for meditation: Isaiah 11:2-4
The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, And He will not judge by what His eyes see, Nor make a decision by what His ears hear; But with righteousness He will judge the poor, And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.

Scripture for reflection: John 14:26
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit are Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, and Fear of the Lord. They belong in their fullness to Christ, Son of David. They complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them. They make the faithful docile in readily obeying divine inspirations. (CCC, 1831) The Catholic Church derives this information on the Seven Fruits of the Holy Spirit from scripture: (Isaiah 11:2-4)

 How Are the Seven Fruits of the Holy Spirit Defined?
1. Wisdom - Wisdom is not the quoting of facts. Wisdom is a gift that allows a person to understand things from God's point of view. In other words, Wisdom allows a person to recognize truth. A person with the Gift of Wisdom is able to take this truth and use it to glorify God by choosing Godly solutions to problems.
2. Understanding - The Gift of Understanding allows a person to comprehend the Catholic Faith. For example learning and understanding scripture is a Gift of Understanding.
3. Counsel - The Gift of Counsel is also know as a Gift of Right Judgment. This Gift allows a person to discern between good and evil or right and wrong. The Gift of Counsel makes a person able to act by intuition and choose and be prudent in a supernatural way.
4. Fortitude - The Gift of Fortitude is also known as the Gift of Courage. Through this Gift a person is no longer afraid to stand up for God and His truths. A person who has the Gift of Fortitude will stand up for good against evil and is convicted to take a stand when the occasion arises.
5. Knowledge - The Gift of Knowledge allows a person to understand the meaning and purpose God has for him and to live up to this meaning. It differs from wisdom in that it is an action, not just a desire to live up to the ways of God. It differs from Understanding in that it is not just ability, it is a knowing.
6. Piety - Is a desire to serve and worship God out of love, not just duty. A person with the Gift of Piety has a true love and a real relationship with God.
7. Fear of the Lord - The Gift of Fear of the Lord puts God in the proper perspective. A person with this Gift understands the greatness and awesomeness of the Lord. They want to serve Him because of who He is. A person with the Gift of Fear of the Lord understands who they are and why they are here in relationship to God; In other words, everything they are is due to the wonder, love, grace, and perfection of God. They are totally dependent on the Lord as a child is to a parent. The Gift of Fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom. Once a person understands who God is and desires to please Him, they can begin to understand things from God's point of view or have Wisdom.
Why are the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit Necessary for a Christian?
The moral life of Christians is sustained by the gifts of the Holy Spirit. (CCC, 1830)
The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit are crucial to the spiritual life of Christians. According to the Catholic Church, these Seven Gifts are essential and necessary to Christian believers. These Seven Gifts are given to Christians to keep and to deepen their Christian faith and dispositions. Moreover, these Gifts of the Holy Spirit make Christians more "Christ Like" and help in the transformation from a life in the flesh to a life in the spirit. Catholics actively receive the Holy Spirit in a very strong manner through the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Communion. Baptism begins the journey when a child is actively received and dedicated into the Body of Christ. Through Confirmation, these Seven Gifts are strengthened and confirmed. Catholics believe that the Holy Eucharist is indeed the body, blood, soul, and divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. When a person receives the Holy Eucharist, they are also receiving the Holy Spirit since the Lord is a Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Renee_Winkeljohn

Prayer - Spirit of wisdom and understanding, enlighten our minds to perceive the mysteries of the universe in relation to eternity. Spirit of right judgment and courage, guide us and make us firm in our baptismal decision to follow Jesus' way of love. Spirit of knowledge and reverence, help us to see the lasting value of justice and mercy in our everyday dealings with one another. May we respect life as we work to solve problems of family and nation, economy and ecology. Spirit of God, spark our faith, hope and love into new action each day. Fill our lives with wonder and awe in your presence which penetrates all creation. Amen. http://www.catholic.org/prayers/prayer.php?p=336

My thoughts:  I think most of us have trouble actually defining the Holy Spirit. We know He is the third person of the Holy Trinity, and that Jesus promised to send Him to the apostles on Pentecost.  Although it may be hard for many of us to actually grasp the reality of His personhood, we can clearly understand His gifts. The Holy Spirit makes us strong, wise, holy, filled with awe and love for God. The Holy Spirit, through His gifts, creates in us the desire, strength and ability to be a true son or daughter of the Father, and a faithful follower of the Son.

Our prayer to God: Today, let us take an inventory of the seven gifts as they live in us? Are we using these gifts to their fullest? If not, let us make a plan of action to start, one by one, to study each gift and develop it in ourselves. Our relationship to God will change forever if we do.

No comments: