As we approach the feast of Pentecost, Dr. Sri explains the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: what they are, where they come from, and how they are important to our faith.
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Snippet From the Show
“We’re talking about the simple things: what God wants to do in every ordinary Christian is to guide them, prompt them, and for them to live according to his plan.”
How familiar are you with the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit?
What do these gifts do?
“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. And 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”Isaiah 11:1-3
So we’ve heard about these gifts before, but what really are they and how are they used? They’re not quite like a superpower you can use whenever you’re in a tight spot. Instead, they act as a disposition that stays with you and cultivates into every aspect of your life. They make use aware and docile to the Holy Spirit within us, allowing us to live according to the Spirit, and not the flesh. (Romans 8)
Extraordinary or Ordinary?
It’s important to note that when we’re talking about the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, we’re not referring to the extraordinary gifts of speaking in tongues or prophesying. These are great gifts, but the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit are meant to be present and available to any ordinary Christian who seeks them out.
“The involvement of the Holy Spirit in our growth of virtue shows us that the Spirit acts in us, through the normal paths of daily effort rather than through extraordinary revelations and sudden motions and exceptional charisms. He moves us like sap, like sap in a tree, whose movement we neither see nor sense. So discreet is he before the activities and projects that engross us… yet this gradual push, along with our confident fidelity prepares the way for the flowering of spring and the growth of autumn. The Spirit therefore can produce in us works that are sometimes quite surprising, unfolding within us as deep inspirations the gifts can move us beyond the simple measure of reason in the use of goods and acts of generosity, courage, and detachment.”Servais Pinckaers
As long as we are in a state of grace, the gifts are within us. All we must do is build upon them in our daily actions and routines.
How do we live out these seven Gifts?
“Guard what you receive.”St. Ambrose
Here are some ways we can “guard” our gifts from the Holy Spirit:
- Stay in a state of grace: avoid the near occasion of sin, whatever that is for you. Mortal sin detaches us from God, and from our gifts
- Study your gifts: read what the saints and Church doctrine says about the seven Gifts, and examine where they are (or aren’t) in your life
- Call upon the Holy Spirit: “Holy Spirit, inspire me in all my actions, thoughts, desires, and words. Guide me in all my decisions, and all I do, so that Christ’s thoughts may be my thoughts, and Christ’s love may be my love.”
What are the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit?
- Fear of the Lord: this is a reverential fear, not a servile fear. This gift helps us to reverence God properly and avoid temptations towards sin out of love of him
- Piety: the honor and worship we show to God through our reverence
- Fortitude: supernatural courage! The ability to persevere through spiritual, physical, and mental difficulties
- Counsel: reception to God’s guidance in our moral decisions, and obedience to his answer out of pursuit of the good
- Knowledge: a sense of the faith. Knowing what’s of God and what’s not
- Understanding: a deeper understanding of the faith
- Wisdom: judging and ordering all things in life according to God’s revelation
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Meet Your Host: Dr. Edward Sri
Dr. Sri is a theologian and the author of several best-selling books. He holds a doctorate from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. A founding leader of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), Dr. Sri currently serves as its vice president of formation. He appears regularly on EWTN and resides in Colorado with his wife, Elizabeth, and their eight children.