Pentecost Sunday Year C
5 June 2021
“The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit”
“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your mind whatever I have said to you.” Jn. 12:26.
The Holy Spirit continues to sanctify every soul every minute of the day. He does this through innumerable inspirations which are all “the attractions, motions, rebukes, and interior compunctions, lights and intuitions which God works in us. So He strengthens our heart with his blessings, with his care and fatherly love, so as to arouse us, move us, impel us and draw us to holy virtues, to heavenly love, to good resolution: in short, to all that leads to our eternal life.” St. Francis de Sales, Introduction to a Devout Life, III, 18 The Holy Spirit does this by means of many, many graces in the form of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit which effect the action of grace in soul.
Fear of the Lord.
This is the first and fundamental lesson of the Holy Spirit Who infuses into the soul a hatred of sin and a loving fear of offending God. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Sir. 1:16 “This filial fear is proper to children who feel themselves protected by their father, whom they do not wish to offend…This gift enables holy souls to acknowledge their nothingness before God.” (Fr. Fernandez Conversation with God. P. 574.) The gift of fear enlightens us to understand that “sin is at the root of the moral evils which divide and ravage society.” Pope John Paul, 25 January 1983. When we understand who we are and that God is our loving Father then we will not want to offend God who is everything to us.
This gift strengthens the soul so that it may always be courageous in serving God and never separate itself from Him. We are weak and need this gift to be strong in following God. “But they that hope in you shall renew their strength, they shall take wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Is. 40:31
This gift enables us to desire ardently to please God in all things and devote ourselves wholeheartedly to the service of God. If we wish to respond to the inspirations of the gift of piety, we must make every effort to be kind and gentle, and to form the habit of seeing in everyone a child of God and our brother. The essence of the gift of piety concerns our relationship to God, our Father, as His sons and daughters. When we understand our divine filiation, we will render to God all the love and honour which He deserves. Once we behave as true sons and daughters of our Father, we glorify God by our lives of charity to our neighbour. The Holy Spirit makes us see Christ in the neighbour to whom we show charity: “Truly, I say to you, whatever you did to the least of my brethren, you did to me.” Mt. 25:40 “Be patient and kind in all things.” (St. Francis of Assisi)
This gift helps us to discern what the Holy Spirit wants us to do in our spiritual life. “Come, O Spirit of Counsel, make my heart attentive to all of your inspirations.” “Speak Lord for thy servant heareth.” I Sam. 3:9 The gift of counsel is like a supernatural instinct for knowing which way gives glory to God…. The Paraclete inspires us when we choose the means to carry out God’s will. He leads us along paths which involve charity, peace, joy, sacrifice fulfilment of duty and faithfulness in small things. He marks the path for us at every instant.” Fr. Fernandez, Conversation with God, p. 556 St. Thomas Aquinas teaches that “every good piece of advice regarding men’s salvation comes from the Holy Spirit.” (Commentary on the Lord’s Prayer). “I am the light of the world. He who follows me does not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” Jn. 8:12
By the gift of knowledge, the Holy Spirit helps us to see the nothingness of this world and of creatures. “For what does it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, but suffer the loss of his own soul.” Mt. 16:26 It also helps us to see God’s plan for us even in the ordinary events of life which God in His Divine Providence sends us each day. St. Jose Maria Escriva tells us: “There is something holy, something divine, hidden in the most ordinary situations, and it is up to each one of you to discover it.” (Conversation w/ Msgr. Escriva, #14)
By the gift of understanding, we come to a deeper knowledge of the mysteries of our faith. “Blessed are the clean of heart for they shall see God.” Mt. 5:8 “Create a clean heart in me, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Ps 50:12)
While the gift of understanding enables us to penetrate God’s mysteries, the gift of wisdom lets us taste these mysteries and gives us a delightful knowledge of these mysteries. Through this gift, we experience God through love. “Taste and see that the Lord is sweet.” Ps. 33:9
Fruits of the Holy Spirit
Because we are so weak, we need to ask the Holy Spirit to enkindle in us the fire of His love. Today’s Sequence shows us the need for our desires to correspond with the action of the Holy Spirit: “…wash what is stained, water our dryness, heal our infirmity, enkindle our tepidity, and direct our straying steps.” The Holy Spirit will then come with His seven gifts which include His twelve fruits: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, generosity, faithfulness, modesty, continence and chastity. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (#1832) tells us that these fruits are “the first fruits of eternal glory” even here on earth.