Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Saint Francis de Sales in his book, Introduction to the Devout Life, states that  the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost was not an isolated event in the life of the Church.   According to Saint Francis de Sales,  the Holy Spirit continually sanctifies  the Church as well as each of her members.

The Holy Spirit does this work through tugging on our individual hearts and by inspirations affecting the life of the Church.  The effect of this work is “to strengthen our hearts of his blessings, with his care and fatherly love, to move us, impel us, and draw us to holy virtues, to heavenly love, to good resolutions…”

Our response to this loving influence should include gratitude for the truth that the Holy Spirit brings us, as well as devoted prayer with the Holy Spirit.

We do well to ponder in prayer the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit and the many fruits of the Holy Spirit.

The seven gifts are described in the book of Isaiah 11, 1-2.  They refer to the characteristics of the promised Messiah.  The Holy Spirit is tasked to bring us these gifts to help us carry on the work of Jesus.

The gift of understanding:  we come to have a deeper knowledge of the mysteries of faith.  Saint Thomas Aquinas says that, thanks to this gift, God is glimpsed from here below.

The gift of knowledge: enables us to understand the world in the light of God’s plan of salvation… Everything good thing comes from God and is directed back to God.

The gift of wisdom: this gives us a deeper and more joyful knowledge of God and his mysteries… Wisdom helps us to find God in everyday life.

The gift of counsel: this gift helps us to have a true conscience and to see the possible consequences of our actions…  we get help to discern and to make good decisions pleasing to God.

The gift of piety: this gives helps us to adore God’s divine majesty… we are led to show loving-kindness to others.

The gift of fortitude: gives the soul the necessary strength to overcome obstacles and to practice the good habits of the human heart like courage, patience and perseverance.

The gift of holy fear: when the holy fear of God is lost, then our sense of sin becomes weak and we can become lukewarm, careless or mediocre in our love of God.

When we cooperate with all of these gifts from the Holy Spirit our Christian life shows much fruit.  St. Paul in the letter to the Galatians (5.22-23) describes some of these fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control, faithfulness, modesty, chastity

Pope Paul VI reminded the Vatican II Council in 1964 how Our Lady collaborated actively with the Holy Spirit in the souls of the apostles at the first Pentecost.  We can be sure that the Blessed Virgin Mary, as Mother of the Church, will pray for us and help us also to collaborate effectively with the Holy Spirit in our lives.


  – Fr. Galvon

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