A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Gifts of the Spirit

Posted on: June 9, 2014

Years ago I learned about the fruit of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23*). Sunday school teachers taught my son about this as well. But I don’t remember learning about the gifts of the Holy Spirit, as set out in Isaiah 11:1-2:

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,

and a branch shall grow out of his roots.

And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him,

the spirit of wisdom and understanding,

the spirit of counsel and might,

the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.

Section 1831 of the Catechism tells us that the “seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord” and that these gifts “make the faithful docile in readily obeying divine inspirations.”

We need more of these gifts as Christians, parents and spouses to have the courage to challenge our spouse and children on their behaviour, as our priest pointed out at yesterday’s Mass, and to face our own shortcomings. To set a good example for our children and guide them in making the right choices. To give good advice when asked, and to recognize our own need to ask for help and advice.

When we come to Mass and offer our own intentions—whether before the service, during the prayers of the faithful, or after receiving the Eucharist—we can ask for more of these gifts of the Spirit.

Who doesn’t need more wisdom when considering a career change? Or fortitude when children act out? Or knowledge when making choices about an ageing parent’s care or weighing the treatment options for an illness we’re facing?

I pray that not only on Pentecost but every day we would recognize that “The moral life of Christians is sustained by the gifts of the Holy Spirit” (s. 1830 of the Catechism) and that we would ask for more of these gifts to help us become more like Jesus.

Happy is the man who finds wisdom,

and the man who gets understanding;

for the gain from it is better than gain from silver

and its profit better than gold.

She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her;

those who hold her fast are called happy.

~ Proverbs 3:13-14, 18

(*Scripture quotes taken from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.)



Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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