Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

I attempted to understand the Holy Spirit in this post.  After I wrote it I realized there were seven gifts of the holy spirit.  They were enumerated in Isaiah11: 2-3, and I will list them here with a pithy description.

Scott P. Richerd, at catholicism.about.com, said:
They are present in their fullness in Jesus Christ but are found in all Christians who are in a state of grace. We receive them when we are infused with sanctifying grace, the life of God within us—as, for example, when we receive a sacrament worthily.
He defines "sanctifying grace" as "that grace which makes the soul holy and pleasing to God."  So we receive them through Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Matrimony, and Holy Orders.

Richerd then goes on to list and name the seven gifts.

1.  Wisdom:  It is the perfection of the thoelogical virtue of faith. It's learning to detach ourselves from this world and to see things and "judge them in light of the highest end of man -- the contemplation of God." It's the desire to contemplate the the things of god. Wisdom gives us the desire to judge all things according to the truths of the Catholic Faith

2.  Understanding: It allows us to grasp, at least in a limited way, the very essence of the truths of the Catholic Faith. It allows us to draw conclusions from those truths and arrive at a further understanding of man's relations with God and his role in the world. It's being able to contemplate that life is more than just what we see around us.  Understanding allows us so see a greater perspective of life.

3.  Counsel:  It's the perfection of the cardinal virtue Prudence, or judging correctly.  This gift we are able to judge how best to act by mere intuition. Because of the gift of counsel, Christians need not fear to stand up for the truths of the Faith, because the Holy Spirit will guide us in defending those truths.  Counsel guides our actions.

4.  Fortitude: It is both a gift and a cardinal virtue, and it gives us the strength to follow through on the actions suggested by the gift of counsel.

5.  Knowledge: Like wisdom, knowledge is the perfection of faith, but whereas wisdom gives us the desire to judge all things according to the truths of the Catholic Faith, knowledge is the actual ability to do so. Knowledge guides our actions. In a limited way, it allows us to see things as God sees them, and to take the actions that God would take.  "What would Jesus do?"

6.  Piety:  It is the perfection of the virtue religion.  It's the willingness to worship and serve God, and to serve him out of love, the way we honor our parents.

7.  Fear of the Lord:  This gives us the the desire not to offend God.  It gives us the ability to respect God.  Like Peity, Fear of the Lord rises out of love.