Reflecting on 21 Centuries of Faith

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Practical Living: The Gift of Fear of the Lord

As we turn to reflect on the Gift of Fear of the Lord, we begin by understanding that this gift is order to divinize the theological virtue of Hope. St. Thomas also shares with us that under certain aspects says that relates to temperance under certain aspects.

The gift of fear under the influence of the Holy Spirit:

acquires a special docility for subjecting itself completely to the divine will out of reverence for the excellency and majesty of God. God in himself, as supreme and infinite goodness, cannot be an object of fear; he is an object of love. But so far as he is able to punish us for our sins, he can and ought to be feared. St. Thomas harmonizes fear and hope by saying that in God there are justice and mercy, the first of which arouses fear in us, the second, hope. And thus, for different reasons, God is the object of fear and of hope. (Summa theologiae, II-II, q. 19, a. 1, ad 2.)

Fear  is not always a gift of the Holy Spirit nor an adequate response to a particular situation.  Fr. Aumann mentions four types of fear including: “mundane fear, servile fear, filial fear and initial fear.”

Mundane fear is the fear that grips us that has no problem offending the Father in order to avoid a physical or worldly evil.  This type of fear is disordered and evil because it places the world and ourselves first while turning our backs on God.

Servile fear is the fear that causes us to serve God out of fear due to punishment or retribution for lack of service. While imperfect, it still has its end as serving God and has potential to grow and mature thus at its core it is substantially good.

Filial fear or reverential fear seeks to serve God by fleeing sin and situations that lead to sin out of fear of being separated from God.  This is a perfect fear as it causes us to flee from sin without counting the cost of punishment.

Initial fear is the fear that is the hybrid of the previous two.  This fear causes us to flee from sin for the love of God but still fears punishment.  While better than servile fear it is not as perfect as filial fear.

St. Thomas says that of the four types of fear only filial fear is the gift of fear because it finds its root in the reverence of God as Father and it fears to be separated from Him.  It is for this reason that the principle virtue ti perfects is the theological virtue of hope as well as the moral virtue of temperance and its subordinate humility.

The prinicple effects that the gift of fear produces is of great value to the soul seeking holiness:

1. A lively sentiment of the grandeur and majesty of God, which arouses in the soul a profound adoration filled with reverence and humility.

2. A great horror of sin and a lively sorrow for ever having committed sin.

3. An extreme vigilance to avoid the occasion of offending God.

4. Perfect detachment from all created things.

To grow in this gift with the necessary assistance of the Holy Spirit, Fr. Aumann suggests the following:

1. To meditate frequently on the infinite grandeur and majesty of God. Affective prayer or true contemplation is a gift of God and cannot be achieved through discursive prayer.  That does not mean though that we cannot dispose ourselves to the gift of contemplative prayer.  To offer our minds to the study and reflection of God’s granduer and majesty will only produce a deep sense of humility and filial love.

2. To accustom oneself to converse with God with filial confidence, filled with reverence. We live in a society that does not value its parents and constantly disrespects them. We call them by their name without reverential deference to the authority that God has given them over us.  We look for ways around their instructions.  Yet, our ability to approach and submit ourselves to the will and love of God is taught to us by how we relate to our parents.  Let us repent and relearn.  The two cannot be separated. Let us approach the throne of grace with the confidence of a little child and the respect of elders.

3. To meditate frequently on the infinite malice of sin and to arouse a great horror for sin. What more is there to say than to realize that it is our particular sin that crucified our lord.  We did not need to live during that time to crucify Him…we are perfectly capable of doing it now. Our standard should be death before sin!

4. To be meek and humble in dealing with our neighbor.  Fr. Aumann writes that, “He who has a clear concept of what God is in his infinite majesty and realizes that God has mercifully pardoned him thousands of times, how can he dare to exact with haughtiness and disdain that which is owed to him by his neighbor (Matt. 18:23-35)? We must pardon injuries, and we must treat all our neighbors with exquisite humility and meekness. We n should consider them to be better than we are, at least in the sense that perhaps they have not resisted grace as much as we have, or they would not have sinned if they had received the gifts God has given us.”

5. To beg frequently of the Holy Spirit a reverential fear of God. Psalm 2: 11 says, “Serve the Lord with fear, with trembling kiss his feet, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way” (Ps. 2:11). This gift is most easily attained through humility and the perseverance of prayer. We need to foster every opportunity to grow in humility and find time for prayer.

Practical Living: The Gift of Knowledge

The Gift of Knowledge is the second gift to strengthen the Theological virtue of Faith.  There are a number of theologians that assign the gift of knowledge the function of perfecting the virtue of hope and the Moral Virtues of Prudence, Justice and Temperance.  We on the other hand will stick with St. Thomas this week.

Fr. Aumann defines the gift of knowledge as the:

supernatural habit through which the human intellect, under the action of the Holy Spirit, judges rightly concerning created things as related to eternal life and Christian perfection.

This gift of knowledge is not about human or philosophical knowledge which gives certain and evident knowledge of things deduced by natural reason from their principles or proximate causes. It is also not a theological knowledge, which deduces from revealed truths through natural reasoning. It is a supernatural knowledge which which finds its enlightenment by the work of the Holy Spirit, who equips us to correctly judge the interdependence between created things and the supernatural end. It perfects the theological virtue of faith within first the speculative and then the practical intellect.

This gift enables the individual to make right decisions not through reason illumined by faith about created things but by a superior quickening of the Holy Spirit. The difference between the gift of knowledge and the gift of understanding is that knowledge judges rightly while latter “penetrates revealed truths by a supernatural intuition, but without forming any judgments.” The gift of knowledge separates itself from the gift of wisdom whose function is to judge divine things not created things.

Father Aumann in Chapter of Spirituual Theology shares the sanctifying effects of  the gift of knowledge:

1. It teaches us how to judge rightly concerning created things in relation to God. This is proper to the gift of knowledge. Under its impulse, a double awareness is produced in the soul: it realizes the emptiness of created things and sees through them the God who made them.2. It guides us with certitude concerning that which we must believe or not believe. The soul instinctively possesses the sense of faith (sensus fidei). Without having studied theology or without having had any education, such souls are aware whether or not a devotion, a doctrine, a counsel, or any kind of maxim is in accord with faith or is opposed to faith.

3. It enables us to see promptly and with certitude the state of our soul. Everything is clear to the penetrating introspection of the gift of knowledge. Our interior acts arid the secret movements of our heart are seen in their goodness or malice. In this way we discover the evil or the good that previously escaped our notice. Rightly did St. Teresa say that “in a place where the sun enters, there is no hidden dust.”

4. It inspires us concerning the best method of conduct with our neighbor as regards eternal life. In this respect the gift of knowledge influences the virtue of prudence, whose perfection is directly under the gift of counsel. By this gift preachers know what they ought to say to their hearers and what they ought to urge upon them. Directors perceive the state of the souls under their guidance, their spiritual needs, and the remedies for their faults. Superiors know in what way they ought to govern those under them, and parents, how to form their children. Here the gift of knowledge relates also to justice.

5. It detaches us from the things of earth. This is a consequence of that right judgment of things that constitutes the proper characteristic of the gift of knowledge. Compared to God, all creatures are as if they were not. For that reason it is necessary to rise above created things in order to rest in God alone. The gift of knowledge instructs the saints concerning the necessity of the detachment we admire, for example, in St. John of the Cross. A soul illuminated by the gift of knowledge passes beyond creatures in order not to be detained in its journey to God. The whole of creation is not worth a glance from one who has experienced God.

6. It teaches us how to use created things in a holy way. It is certain that created things are nothing when compared with God, and yet they are vestiges of God, and they can lead us to him if we use them rightly. There are countless examples of this in the lives of the saints. The contemplation of created things raised their souls to God because they could see the trace of God in creation. Sometimes the most insignificant detail, which would pass unnoticed by an ordinary person, made a strong impression on them and led them to God. Here the gift relates to the virtue of temperance.

7. It fills us with repentance and sorrow for our past errors. This is an inevitable consequence of a right judgment concerning created things. In the light of the gift of knowledge, souls discover the emptiness of created things, their short duration, their inability to make us truly happy, the harm that attachment to them can cause to the soul. Then, recalling the times they were attached to created things, they feel a most profound repentance manifested by intense acts of contrition. The pathetic accents of the Miserere spontaneously spring to their lips as a psychological necessity to alleviate their sorrow.

Faith reaches its perfected climax through the perfection of the gifts of understanding and knowledge.

The following are a few tips to exercise the gift of knowledge:

1. Consider the vanity of created things: God does not ask us for more than we can handle but He does ask us to push ourselves and conform to ourselves to the Gospel – all of it. We need to ask ourselves what we are attached to and what what makes us feel special and important. It is these things we need to shed in order to free our hearts for divine love.  We are special because of who and how He made us.  Everything else detracts.

2. Accustom oneself to refer all created things to God. All created things are but shadows of the divine perfections. St. John in the Book of Revelation falls down before the angel at which time he is told to not confuse God’s creation with God Himself.  We should remember the same.  We tend to love things and use people. To correct this action we need to choose to remember the proper order of all our “things.”

3. Oppose energetically the spirit of the world. The world does not care whether we get to heaven.  it is concerned about us enjoying created things and putting our happiness first.  The Father desires us to embrace where and who He has provided and given us. We all love the beach and God intends us to enjoy it.  The purpose is to have leisure time. Leisure time is meant to draw our hearts and minds back to God – everything else is gravy. Scripture and the Church teaches us that there is no attitude more contrary to the spirit of the gift of knowledge than find our happiness in created things. We should avoid the false maxims that are completely opposed to the spirit of God. Eternal vigilance is needed lest the ingenuity of the enemy catch us off guard and turn our hearts and minds away from the supernatural world.

4. See the hand of God in the government of the world and in all the events of our life, whether prosperous or adverse. Of all the practices to obtain and exercise this gift, nothing will cost us more than to obtain this point of view. Without the gift of the wisdom, this attitude can never be perfected but it is within our grasp. Regardless, we must apply ourselves to gain this attitude at all costs. God guides all every action and event by His loving hand. which we call Divine Providence. While we rarely question why everything is going right we always question tragedy and suffering. The gift of knowledge enables us to embrace both.

5. Cultivate simplicity of heart. Our Lord desires nothing more than simplicity of heart. In fact, this attracts God’s grace who desires to perfect our heart with purity. There seems to be a direct relationship between the simplicity or custody of heart and the ability to fulfill our obligations.

Practical Living: The Gift of Understanding

I wanted to provide an overview of how to experience the effective power of the seven gifts of holiness in our lives. Then I discovered it would be a travesty to give a cursory treatment to such an important topic.  So, we will take a week to discuss the gifts.

Understanding how the gifts of holiness are meant to empower us has escaped us for many years.  It is odd that we teach what they are but never how to experience their power in our lives.  I guess that should not be surprising since we live in a world where we hand ourselves and God’s gifts over so eagerly and easily to anyone and anything without the consideration of its purposes of effects. We are in a war and it is not virtual but spiritual.  And it is very real.  What is the battleground of this war? It takes place in the most precious gift given to us – our immortal souls.

To combat the assault upon our lives, the Lord has given us the Theological and Moral virtues namely: Faith, Hope and Charity and Prudence, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance. And as we discussed previously, these virtues can be imperfectly received and exercised.  God the Father loves us as we are but also loves us not to leave us the way we are.  Thus, He provides the gifts of holiness to prefect and elevate these virtues. They are meant to be ramparts to fortify our spiritual armor and provide the tools necessary to be victorious int his war. How do we use them?  We implore the Lord in times of trouble and trial to give us the particular strength that we need for a particular situation at a particular time – I know a lot of particulars. You mights say, “Can’t we offer a general prayer for the Lord to assist us?” I would respond by asking the question, “Do you want the surgeon to cut and remove a general area or a particular area?” We tend to be lazy not willing to put the effort to understand what areas are weak in our lives.  For this reason the devil does not need to work hard because we produce the majority of havoc in our lives through carelessness and impulsive comments and choices.

Let’s look at the first gift of holiness to begin to become spiritually “street smart” so we can become the men and women of God that He designed us to be and not be overcome by the enemy in this war.  The fact is that the sanctity of the saints was a result of active and deliberate choices – it is no accident that they are holy.  God invited and they responded, willing to sacrifice it all for the pledge of future glory.

The first four gifts of the Holy Spirit are ordered to the perfection of the gifts meant to divinize the intellect.  They are the gifts of Understanding, Knowledge, Wisdom and Fear of the Lord.

The Gift of Understanding is a gift meant to be exercised as a supernatural habit.  In other words, while it is a gift, like a virtue or in the natural order a muscle, it must be deliberately exercised in order to be effective in our spiritual life.  It is infused in the soul with sanctifying grace which enables the human intellect, when illuminated by the grace of the Holy Spirit, to be made able to  penetrate:

“…revealed truths and even for natural truths, so far as they are related to the supernatural end. The gift of understanding resides in the speculative intellect, which it perfects (the intellect having been informed previously by the virtue of faith), in order to receive in a connatural way the motion of the Holy Spirit”.” The gift of understanding is distinguished from the other intellectual gifts (wisdom, knowledge, and counsel) inasmuch as its proper function is the profound penetration of the truths of faith by way of simple apprehension, without making any judgment concerning them. Judgment, so far as it relates to divine things, pertains to the gift of wisdom; so far as it relates to created things, to the gift of knowledge; and so far as it pertains to the application of these truths to particular actions, to the gift of counsel.” (Aumann, Spiritual Theology Chapter 4)

St. Thomas (expounded upon by Aumann, describes five effects that the Gift of Understanding produces in the soul to penetrate the virtue of faith[1].  These effects include:

1. It discloses the hidden meaning of Sacred Scripture. This is what the Lord effected in regard to the disciples at Emmaus when he opened their minds so that they could understand the Scriptures (Luke 24:45). In the profound understanding of some scriptural passage, many of the saints found the theme of their whole spiritual life: “The favors of the Lord I will sing forever” of St. Teresa (Ps. 89:2); “Let whoever is simple turn in here” of St. Thérèse of Lisieux (Prov. 9:4); “The praise of glory” of Sister Elizabeth of the Trinity (Eph. 1:6). For that reason these mystics find great satisfaction in the inspired words of Scripture, and especially in the words of Christ himself.

2. It reveals the mysterious significance of symbols and figures. Thus St. Paul saw Christ in the rock that gushed forth with living water to appease the thirst of the Israelites in the desert: “And the rock was Christ” (1 Cor. 10:4). St. John of the Cross explains many of the symbols and figures of the Old Testament that reached their full realization in the New Testament or in the life of grace.

3. It reveals spiritual realities under sensible appearances. The liturgy of the Church is filled with sublime symbolism that for the most part escapes the notice of superficial souls. But the saints experienced a great veneration and respect for the slightest ceremony of the Church. The gift of understanding enabled them to see the sublime realities hidden beneath those symbols and sensible signs.

4. It enables one to contemplate the effects that are contained in causes. This is particularly noticeable in contemplatives and in prayerful theologians. After the long hours of meditation and study, everything is suddenly illuminated under an impulse of the Spirit. A word or a statement is then seen in all its depth and meaning.

5. It makes us see causes through their effects. In an inverse sense, the gift of understanding reveals God and his all-powerful causality in his effects without resorting to a lengthy discursive process. In a simple gaze and by a divine intuition the soul discovers the invisible hidden beneath the visible.

How do we grow in the practice of this gift?

1. Practice the virtue of faith: The virtue of faith is like a muscle. If you do not exercise the virtue, like a muscle, it will atrophy. For the beginner in the spiritual life this means studying the teachings of the catechism and them incorporating them into all aspects of our lives. This does not mean that we need to become theologians but we are all required to study and reflect upon the truths of our faith in accordance with our abilities.

2. Choose purity. Dirt on a window distorts and prevents light from entering into the room. Likewise, sins of the body and soul dims the light of faith in our lives.  Purity is probably the most neglected of all the disciplines in today’s society. Purity does not just address the area of sexual morality. The old saying, “Garbage in garbage out” comes to mind. What are you letting transform your mind? The mind is always influenced by whatever we choose, and it is always a choice, to pass through our senses.  Top three instruments of war: 1) Television, 2) Music and the Computer.  If we think that we can filter out the bad – our arrogance has revealed that we are already prisoners of war.

3. Interior recollection. “The Holy Spirit is the friend of recollection and solitude. Only there does he speak in silence to souls.” (Aumann, Spiritual Theology Chapter 10) Our heart stores whatever we allow to enter through our senses. We need to foster silence and detachment in order to allow the Divine Guest and Lover to have access to the chamber of our hearts. Our friends and activities can never replace the longing of the soul for the indwelling and conversation of the Most Blessed Trinity.

4. Fidelity to grace. Each of us must be careful not to deny the Holy Spirit its action in our lives. Grace is given in a particular moment for a particular situation at a particular time in our live. To choose not to receive the grace and conform ourselves is to waste the grace. There is no guarantee that the Holy Spirit will give it again.  It is for this reason that St. Paul said, “Do nothing to sadden the Holy Spirit” (Eph. 4:30).

5. Invoke the Holy Spirit.  Aumann reminds us that “We cannot practice any of these methods without the help and prevenient grace of the Holy Spirit.” We need to invoke Him as often as possible. We want to be like our Lady who St. Luke says that the Holy Spirit “brooded over her.” Jesus wants to give us “Life and life to the full.” (John 10:10a)  We not only need the graces of holiness but we also need the grace to give ourselves away to the People of God.

Let us pray for the gift of understanding that the Lord may perfect the virtue of faith and enlighten our mind. Come Holy Spirit.


[1] Summa theologiae, II-II, q. 8, a. 1.

Pentecost Traditions

Like every Solemnity, traditions have developed around this liturgical feasts.  Among them is the ancient tradition at the Pantheon otherwise known as the Church St. Maria of the Martyrs. On the Solemnity of Pentecost at the Pantheon; rose petals are dropped from the open oculus at twelve o’clock noon in commemoration of the descent of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, the birthday of the Church. As the “dew” falls, the choir chants the sequence Veni Sancte Spiritus! This a tradition that incarnates faith with the senses. Blessed be God!

Happy Pentecost

“Pentecost is the release of dynamic power.  The ‘rediscovery of the charismatic dimension’ of the Church is precisely a renewed experience of this ‘dynamism of supernatural origin.’  And, it includes but is not exhausted by ‘a moment of intense emotion.’  Again, he is describing the experience of intense emotion, but it did not end there. The emotion was simply the immediate result of knowing I was being touched by ‘a dynamism of supernatural origin.’  The heart of the Pentecostal experience is not emotion, but a changed life, a renewed life in the Holy Spirit.”

Peter Herbeck
When The Spirit Comes in Power, Servant Books

Here is the sequence for today.  Arguably one of the most beautiful in our 2000 year Tradition.  Mary, Spouse of the Holy Spirit…pray for us!

Holy Spirit Novena: Day Nine

NINTH DAY (Saturday, Vigil of Pentecost)

Thou, on those who evermore Thee confess and Thee Adore, in Thy sevenfold gift, Descend; Give Them Comfort when they die; Give them Life with Thee on high; Give them joys which never end. Amen

The Fruits of the Holy Spirit

The gifts of the Holy Spirit perfect the supernatural virtues by enabling us to practice them with greater docility to divine inspiration. As we grow in the knowledge and love of God under the direction of the Holy Spirit, our service becomes more sincere and generous, the practice of virtue more perfect. Such acts of virtue leave the heart filled with joy and consolation and are known as Fruits of the Holy Spirit. These Fruits in turn render the practice of virtue more attractive and become a powerful incentive for still greater efforts in the service of God, to serve Whom is to reign.

Prayer

Come, O Divine Spirit, fill my heart with Thy heavenly fruits, Thy charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, faith, mildness, and temperance, that I may never weary in the service of God, but by continued faithful submission to Thy inspiration may merit to be united eternally with Thee in the love of the Father and the Son. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE.
Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES.
Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

Understanding the Gifts of the Holy Spirit

When you are struggling with what God would have you do in a certain situation, what gift has He given you to assist you?  When you are struggling with resisting a sin or even an unhealthy situation, how has God equipped you to be victorious.  Most of us would answer these two questions by saying, “I ask for more grace.”  The funny thing is though, you already received it – just not using it.

During this Easter season, many of our youth are being sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit through the Sacrament of Confirmation. Additionally, Pentecost is this weekend and thus, it is entirely appropriate to consider the value of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We need to know how to use the gifts and graces He has given us.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit mentioned in Isaiah 11 are were given to us  to perfect us and form us into the image and likeness of God. Imparted at Baptism and perfected in Confirmation, these “gifts of holiness” cooperate and aid the theological virtues (Faith, hope and charity) and moral virtues (Prudence, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance) for the strengthening and divine vivification of the soul. The great Dominican theologian, Fr. Jordan Aumann, sets the stage to understand these gifts of holiness by first defining the theological virtues:

The theological virtues are so called because they enable the individual to relate directly to God, whereas the moral virtues have as their objects the proper use and control of our faculties in relation to those things that can serve as a means to personal holiness and eternal life. Thus, by faith we believe in God and accept all that he has revealed; by hope we trust God to be faithful to his promises if we correspond to his grace; by charity we love God as our perfect good and ultimate end.

The three theological virtues are the Christian virtues par excellence, and yet they are not understood or appreciated by those who live according to purely human standards, though these same persons may admire the moral virtues of justice, prudence, fortitude, and temperance. The reason is that the theological virtues draw us away from the natural order to the divine and the supernatural. Faith looks beyond the horizons of human knowledge and clings to the truths and mysteries revealed by God in Jesus Christ; hope causes us to regard the things of this world of little worth when compared to the life of glory to which we are called; charity impels us to love God above all else and to love all else in God, rejecting anything that is an obstacle to that love.[1]

The gifts of holiness should not be thought of in the same vein as charismatic gifts.  All seven of the traditional Confirmation gifts are necessary and constituent parts that with sanctifying grace form the spiritual organism. They are:

Understanding: Deeper insight into divine truths

Knowledge: Proper judgment concerning truths of faith

Wisdom: Judgment according to divine norms

Counsel: Decisions regarding human actions

Piety: Ordered relations to God and others

Fortitude: Proper use of irascible emotions

Fear of the Lord: Proper use of pleasure emotions

St. Thomas also teaches us that they are necessary for the perfection of the infused theological virtues.  Fr. Aumann in Chapter 4 explains why they are necessary with the following five reasons:

  1. When a habit does not attain its complete material object. Such is the case of students of theology who have not yet studied certain tracts. They know something of theology, and they have the habit of theology, but incompletely and imperfectly.
  2. When the habit lacks the intensity by which it should attain its object. For example, the student who has gone over an entire assignment, but superficially and carelessly.
  3. When the habit is weakly rooted in the subject (e.g., through lack of sufficient use). These three imperfections can be found in the infused virtues but can be corrected by the virtues themselves. They do not need the influence of the gifts to be extended to the total object of the virtue, to increase in intensity, or to multiply their acts.
  4. When there is an intrinsic imperfection that pertains to the nature of the habit itself. This occurs, for example, in the habit of faith (of things not seen) and hope (of things not yet possessed). Neither the virtues themselves nor the gifts can correct these imperfections without destroying the virtues in question.
  5. Because of the disproportion between the habit and the subject in which it resides. This is precisely the case with the infused virtues. They are supernatural habits, but the subject in which they are received is the human faculties. Consequently, on being received into the soul, the infused virtues operate in a human mode. They accommodate themselves to the psychological operations of man. This is why the infused virtues do not give facility in operation; that is provided by the acquired virtues.

I am humbled that our Lord pours out a multitude of graces to ensure our holiness.  He knows us so well that he, like a skillful surgeon, has created these gifts to heal and strengthen precisely where we need them the most.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit therefore, can be separated in accordance to the faculties they heal, support and perfect. Fr. Aumann states that “The human faculties are classified in general as either cognitive, relating to knowledge, or appetitive, relating to orexis [passions]. Now, human knowledge may be either speculative or practical, while human orexis may involve the operations of the will or the emotions.” The “pin-point’ accuracy of these seven gifts aiding the entire human person (at its core) can be seen  as follows:

Cognitive (Knowledge) faculties:
speculative intellect:
deeper insight into divine truths: Understanding
proper judgment concerning truths of faith: Knowledge
judgment according to divine norms: Wisdom
practical intellect:
decisions regarding human actions: Counsel

Appetitive (Passions) powers:
volitional appetite (the will):
in relation to others: Piety
sensitive appetites (the emotions):
proper use of the irascible emotions: Fortitude
proper use of pleasure emotions: Fear of the Lord

Before continuing, notice that the person is organized (only be appropriation in order for us to understand him/her better) by first immaterial and then material – recognizing that they are inseparable but with a primacy of organization.  This primacy is not a Manichean in nature but expresses the mysterious truth that the soul expresses itself through the body.  Similarly, the body informs or educates the soul.  The two true are one thus the great abomination of death during which they are unnaturally ripped apart.

So often Confimandi (including ourselves) are told that these gifts are given to aid them in holiness but are never told to what end.  The gifts are tools meant to be used in the life of grace. Like every gift and tool provided to us by the Father, they are for specific purposes.  We would never use Waterford crystal to hammer in a nail. For this reason, it behooves us to reflect upon and understand what the seven gifts are and what to ask for when we struggle. Let us use this information to inform ourselves and begin to effectively root out our sins and bad habits with these precious jewels of salvation.

Tomorrow we will look closer at each of the gifts individual and how we can practically use them in our daily life.


[1] Aumann O.P., Jordon, Spiritual Theology (Chapter 10) Captured from http://www.domcentral.org/study/aumann/st/st10.htm May 21, 2010

Holy Spirit Come! Wisdom from On High

EIGHTH DAY (Friday, 7th Week of Easter)

Bend the stubborn heart and will, melt the frozen warm the chill. Guide the steps that go astray!

The Gift of Wisdom

Embodying all the other gifts, as charity embraces all the other virtues, Wisdom is the most perfect of the gifts. Of wisdom it is written “all good things came to me with her, and innumerable riches through her hands.” It is the gift of Wisdom that strengthens our faith, fortifies hope, perfects charity, and promotes the practice of virtue in the highest degree. Wisdom enlightens the mind to discern and relish things divine, in the appreciation of which earthly joys lose their savor, whilst the Cross of Christ yields a divine sweetness according to the words of the Saviour: “Take up thy cross and follow me, for my yoke is sweet and my burden light.

Prayer

Come, O Spirit of Wisdom, and reveal to my soul the mysteries of heavenly things, their exceeding greatness, power and beauty. Teach me to love them above and beyond all the passing joys and satisfactions of earth. Help me to attain them and possess them for ever. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE.
Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES. 
Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

Heal Us with the Gift of Counsel

SEVENTH DAY (Thursday, 7th Week of Easter)

Heal our wounds–our strength renews; On our dryness pour Thy dew, Wash the stains of guilt away.

The Gift of Counsel

The gift of Counsel endows the soul with supernatural prudence, enabling it to judge promptly and rightly what must done, especially in difficult circumstances. Counsel applies the principles furnished by Knowledge and Understanding to the innumerable concrete cases that confront us in the course of our daily duty as parents, teachers, public servants, and Christian citizens. Counsel is supernatural common sense, a priceless treasure in the quest of salvation. “Above all these things, pray to the Most High, that He may direct thy way in truth.”

Prayer

Come, O Spirit of Counsel, help and guide me in all my ways, that I may always do Thy holy will. Incline my heart to that which is good; turn it away from all that is evil, and direct me by the straight path of Thy commandments to that goal of eternal life for which I long.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE. Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES. 
Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts

Come, Spirit of Understanding

SIXTH DAY (Wednesday, 7th Week of Easter)

If Thou take Thy grace away, nothing pure in man will stay, All his good is turn’d to ill.

The Gift of Understanding

Understanding, as a gift of the Holy Spirit, helps us to grasp the meaning of the truths of our holy religion BY faith we know them, but by Understanding we learn to appreciate and relish them. It enables us to penetrate the inner meaning of revealed truths and through them to be quickened to newness of life. Our faith ceases to be sterile and inactive, but inspires a mode of life that bears eloquent testimony to the faith that is in us; we begin to “walk worthy of God in all things pleasing, and increasing in the knowledge of God.”

Prayer

Come, O Spirit of Understanding, and enlighten our minds, that we may know and believe all the mysteries of salvation; and may merit at last to see the eternal light in Thy Light; and in the light of glory to have a clear vision of Thee and the Father and the Son. Amen.

Our Father and Hail Mary ONCE.
Glory be to the Father SEVEN TIMES. 
Act of Consecration, Prayer for the Seven Gifts