Father Tirso

I know that it seems a little bit too late to write an article about the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit one week after the Feast of Pentecost. However, even with this weekend’s celebration of the Holy Trinity, the gifts of God to us through the Spirit remain powerful reminders of how God empowers us to do the work of God. So this week, I thought it would be good for us to review the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

WISDOM = This is the ability to “piece things together.” Wisdom does not necessarily come from book learning or even earning as many degrees as we possibly can. Rather, wisdom is the gift to be able to look at the “larger picture” and learn life lessons It is further being able to learn those lessons looking at the pieces of the puzzle from the perspective of God rather than our limited human view.

UNDERSTANDING = This is the ability to see how God is at work in life. Again, understanding does not necessarily come through years of classroom training and/or studying for exams, etc. Instead, understanding is the ability to put all of our life’s experiences together - good and bad - and to recognize how God was at work in the events of our lives. Understanding does not always come right away. Oftentimes, it is well after the event has happened when we finally are able to step back and say to ourselves, “Oh! That is where God was when such and such happened to me.”

KNOWLEDGE = This is the ability to see that there is more to life than simply what we have here on earth. This is not only having a belief in the eternal life promised to us by God. It is also the ability to know that life on earth is not meant to be lived only for the superficial matters. In other words, even without all of the fancy and up to date gadgets out there, we can be happy. The big house, the hi-tech car, the latest electronic gadgets all do not contribute to ultimate happiness in life. Knowledge gives us the ability to focus on what truly matters in life.

COUNSEL = By this gift, we have the ability to discern God’s way and to choose it. As we well know, it is not always easy to figure out what God wants us to do in any given situation. This has oftentimes created much frustration in us because we want to do what God wants, but we cannot be certain that our decisions will always be what is the will of God. The gift of counsel, though, is cultivated by prayer and a constant growth in our relationship with God. Like anyone else, we will only get to know the mind of another person if we spend as much time with that person as possible.

FORTITUDE = This is the ability to act despite our fear. Fortitude is oftentimes also known as courage. Either way, it is not living without any fear. Whether we want to admit it or not, all of us live with one fear or another. When we give in to fear, we become paralyzed and we choose not to act. In our Christian lives, it is oftentimes fear that prevents us from testifying publicly to our faith in Jesus. Fortitude acknowledges fear. It embraces fear. But, it also gives us the strength and confidence to act even in the face of fear.

PIETY = This is the ability to see the sacred in all peoples, places and things. It is not only the ability to see the sacred but also the ability to act appropriately in the presence of the sacred. Piety, though, is not merely folding our hands in reverence while in church or other things like that. Instead, piety is the ability to acknowledge, embrace and celebrate the presence of God in all people, places and things. When we know that we are in the presence of God at all times, our behavior will correspond to the call of the sacred. We will also encourage the same response in others.

FEAR OF THE LORD = This is not the ability to be a coward in front of God. Rather, this is the ability to recognize our proper place before God. It is the ability to see how great God is and how infinitely marvelous He is. At the same time, it is also the ability to be “wowed” by God’s love for us. Even though we are much smaller and perhaps insignificant when it comes to the grandeur of God, this gift allows us to be amazed and humbled by the fact that God still loves us despite whatever we may think makes us unworthy.

These gifts of the Holy Spirit are important parts of our lives each and every day. The more we harness these gifts in us, the more we will be able to produce the fruits of the Holy Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, and chastity. The more we produce the fruits of the Spirit, the more we live out a message that is central to this weekend’s feast of the Holy Trinity. God comes to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit sending us into the world to become the living proof that God does indeed exist.

Fr. Tirso S. Villaverde, Jr.

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