The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit
“Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers: all good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change.” (James 1:16-17)
Gifts are never deserved, gifts always proceed from the abundant and loving generosity of the giver. The Holy Spirit was the gift of the risen Christ to his fearful and disconsolate disciples, to strengthen them as they began their new mission. This Spirit, at the same time, is the Giver of Gifts. Its presence brings along the gifts of wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord.
The immensity of God always has something new to reveal to us. The gifts of the Holy Spirit allow us to dive into the depths of God’s love, so that we can discover, in that love, the essence of what we are as his children and recognize our God-given potential in order to discern what we are called to do with it.
This beautiful process of improvement takes our limited human shape, as we can clearly see in the earthly existence of our Savior, Jesus. The sacred gifts of the Holy Spirit make us capable of overcoming all the human limitations inflicted upon our nature as a consequence of sin.
The gift of wisdom allows us to have sound judgment of what God revealed to us about himself. “Who can know your counsel, unless you give Wisdom and send your holy spirit from on high?” (Wisdom 9:17)
The gift of understanding allows us to comprehend and delve into the revelation of God in a new and deeper manner. “Jesus said to them, ‘Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand any the parables?’” (Mark 4:13)
The gift of knowledge allows us to develop sound judgment of what God revealed to his creatures. “The evil understand nothing of justice, but those who seek the Lord understand everything.” (Proverbs 28:5)
The gift of counsel helps us apply God’s revelations correctly and according to each particular situation. “When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” (Matthew 10:19-20)
The gift of fortitude gives us the aptitude and the temperance to stay strong during times of weakness. “I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
The gift of piety allows us to discover what pleases God, what is holy and what is just. “The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him.” (John 8: 29)
The gift of fear of the Lord grants us the inner sensitivity to be one with God, united in the feelings of his heart. It is not about being afraid, but about a worshipful fear of a God who is infinite grace and holiness. “A God dreaded in the council of the holy ones, greater and more awesome than all those around him!” (Psalm 89:7) “Rather the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, those who put their hope in his mercy.” (Psalm 147:11) “Let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of flesh and spirit, making holiness perfect in the fear of God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1) “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and discipline.” (Proverbs 1:7)
The Holy Spirit can accomplish in us even the impossible. Mary knew this when the angel reassured her that the Spirit of God would descend upon her to amaze the entire creation for all centuries to come. (see Luke 1:35) After hearing this, she could not but surrender to the infinite generosity of God in his sacred gifts.
Let us allow the holy giver to rejoice in sending us his sacred gifts.
Holy Spirit, come to us!
United in gratitude to the generous giver of all gifts.
Read the Spanish version of this column.
Northwest Catholic - June 2019
Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., is auxiliary bishop of Seattle and vicar for Hispanic ministry.Website: www.seattlearchdiocese.org/Archdiocese/auxiliaries.aspx