In the Christian tradition, seven gifts are associated with the giving of the Holy Spirit, an idea well rooted in the Scriptures. Father David explains the gifts of the Spirit as we pray to receive them.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches: “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” (n. 1831).
These gifts are rooted in Isaiah 11:1-3: “A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. 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. His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear”. In the Hebrew, the term “fear of the Lord” is repeated twice but in later translation into Greek (Septuagint) and Latin (Vulgate) a distinction was made between “piety” and “fear of the Lord”.
Christians understand these verses as describing the Messiah, and the gifts of the Spirit are perfectly present in him. These gifts are offered every Christian by the action of the Spirit that is begun in baptism, affirmed in confirmation and renewed especially on the feast of Pentecost.
These seven gifts can be differentiated in the following way:
– Wisdom: The capacity to perceive the creation as the work of God who is at work in our lives and in the world. This is particularly important in finding God in all things, particularly in all that happens to us and in all whom we meet.
– Understanding: The capacity to analyze and reason, resolve problems and decide to follow Christ in our day to day lives.
– Counsel: The capacity to discern between right and wrong and thus to choose right over wrong and act accordingly.
– Fortitude: The capacity to overcome fear and be willing to walk with Christ and thus actively resist temptation to give in to pressure and follow the masses when they do wrong. The primitive Christian community is described as being full of courage to live according to Christ’s teaching and proclaim it even if threatened with death.
– Knowledge: The capacity to know God and love Him.
– Piety: The capacity to live humbly and walk with God in total respect of all God’s children. Piety draws us to pray and worship.
– Fear of God: The capacity to be aware that we are always in God’s presence. According to the Book of Proverbs: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 1:7). He or she who fears the Lord knows his or her place as a beloved child of a loving Father.
Let us pray for the gifts of the Spirit!
Source : Saint James Vicariate