Gifts of the Holy Spirit

We have been created in the image of God, we are His children. We are still infants in our faith, because we love God only by faith; we can not enjoy our relationship with Him to the fullest because we are sinners still in the flesh. To help us in our Salvation God has sent His Son Our Lord Jesus Christ to die for our sins on the cross. To sanctify us He has sent His Holy Spirit to dwell within us and to teach us to know Him, love Him and serve Him.

To exist is the first gift that we become aware of, it is from God and it is eternal. The creation around us is filled with beauty and harmony, everything that God has created reflects His perfection and Glory.

We have the gift of love first from our parents, who love us and make us respond with love to them. As we grow older, we become intelligent and by reason and faith we accept God as our creator.

We have been adorned with gifts, both physical and spiritual. We have a mind to think and to reason, a body to contain all the different organs within.

The heart is a wonderful organ that beats continuously until we die, it ticks every time as if God was telling us : I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you..............

The eyes can contemplate the beauty of creation, they alert us to danger and they are wonderful companions. The nose allows us to enjoy beautiful fragrances and also warns us from bad smells. The ears help us to hear, to take part in different activities, even to enjoy music and other noises. The mouth helps us to speak and to communicate with others through the intelligence of the mind. It is also the door to our food intake, which also gives us pleasure when we eat. The arms and the legs, and in fact the whole body has been designed in such a fantastic way that it is the perfect machine. I provides us with enjoyment, it is useful, it is the place where our souls live.

We also have the senses of the soul: we must think with the mind of Christ, we must see with the eyes of the Spirit, we must listen to His Word, we must eat the bread of life that He gives us, we must speak the Word of God, we must work for the Kingdom of Heaven and we must walk along the path of His Holy Will.

Every morning as we wake up, we should bless and thank the Lord for all His blessings, because He loves us so much that we exist, we must thank the Lord that we are better off than many other disadvantaged human beings, no matter how bad we may feel at anytime.

So, we are filled with gifts. And yet these are only temporal gifts compared to the gifts of the Holy Spirit. God has wanted to sanctify us through His Spirit but He has complained that we don't even know how to deal with what does not belong to us, so how can we expect to enjoy the gifts that truly belong to us since we are His children? [Luke 16:12]

All the gifts of the Holy Spirit are ready for us as a Christmas tree surrounded by gifts. We must merit those gifts first, then we must ask for them and most important we must open them and put them to good use.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are for our sanctification and for the uplifting of the body of Christ, the Church.

The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. In their fullness, they belong to Christ the perfect man, the Son of David [Isaiah 11:1-10].

There are many more gifts of the Holy Spirit as explained by St. Paul although they all derive from the seven gifts mentioned previously: [Romans 12:4-13],  [1 Corinthians 12:7-11], [1 Corinthians 12:28-31], they help us to grow and and to make others grow spiritually.

For the faithful they are the Divine help that perfect virtue and aid in the edification of the body of Christ. All those who are baptised receive these gifts in small measure, we must cultivate them and make them grow by living a Christian life.

Contents

The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Wisdom    |      Understanding    |     Counsel     |    Fortitude
Knowledge     
|      Piety    |     Fear of the Lord

Wisdom

[Read Proverbs Chapter 8]

Wisdom is one of the three main attributes of God: Power, Wisdom and Love, corresponding to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and to the three theological virtues of Faith , Hope and Love.

Jesus is the incarnate Wisdom of God, He is the Word of God made flesh, He is the way, the truth and the life. Bestowed upon Him is the plenitude of Wisdom, which desires to live in every heart.

One who is full of God is full of Wisdom,  with Jesus He can claim the prophecy of Isaiah which was fulfilled as Jesus read it. [Luke 4:18-21]

[John 15:4]   Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abide in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in me.

A definition of Wisdom is found in the book of Job [28:28] Behold the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom: and to depart from evil, is understanding.

[Psalm 111:10] the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. A good understanding to all that do it: his praise continues for ever and ever.

[Romans 11:33 ]  O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How incomprehensible are his judgments, and how unsearchable his ways!

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written: I will catch the wise in their own craftiness. [1 Corinthians 3:19]

Understanding

And God gave to Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart as the sand that is on the sea shore.  [1 Kings 4:29-30 (3 Kings in D. Rh)]; understanding is the ability to discern what is from God and what is not. It is also the gift of understanding the meaning of the Holy Scriptures.

With the gift of understanding the disciples on the road to Emmaus were given the light to understand the Holy Scriptures and their hearts burned within as the Lord spoke to them.[Luke 24:30]   The apostles understood about the yeast of the Pharisees being their wicked doctrine [Matthew 16:12], when the Lord told them that Elijah had come but they had done with him whatever they pleased, the apostles understood that Jesus was referring to John the Baptist [Matthew 17:12-13]

Understanding is also the gift of being able to perceive the hidden spiritual meaning of the Holy Scriptures, either by reading and meditating them or by listening to someone who has the gift of preaching.

Counsel

Those who desire to acquire wisdom must accept that they don't know everything, they should seek counsel from the elders and learn from experience and wisdom.

In the old days, kings used to consult the prophets and the men of wisdom before taking important decisions. God gives counsel to those who come to Him, therefore we should consult the Lord before we take any important decision, He will respond by giving us a clear mind full of wisdom.

With this gift we learn to help those who are confused, we lend a hand to those suffering depression, we advise those who are about to do something wrong and we minister the great wisdom of God, we normally receive counsel from God [Psalm 16:7] when we are sleeping.

[Psalm 32.8-9]

8 I will give thee understanding, and I will instruct thee in this way, in which thou shalt go: I will fix my eyes upon thee.
9 Do not become like the horse and the mule, who have no understanding. With bit and bridle bind fast their jaws, who come not near unto thee.

Fortitude

Our Lord Jesus Christ had this great gift from God the Father so that He was able to endure the hardships of the passion.

God gives us the cross but He also gives us the strength to carry it [1 Corinthians 10:13]

It is not by human strength that we have to do our spiritual battles, therefore we need to be reinforced being strong in Him and in the strength of His power, putting on the armour of God and fighting the good battle.[Ephesians 6:10-17]

Seek ye the Lord, and be strengthened: seek his face evermore. [Psalm 105:4

In fortitude we learn to endure and persevere through all our difficulties, I am able to do all things in Him who strengthens me. [Philippians 4:13]

Knowledge

The gift of knowledge is the ability to know future events and to read the minds of others, mainly to read the soul of another person; as Our Lord demonstrated knowing how the samaritan woman had had different men [John 4:18-19], He read the mind of those who were saying to themselves how can this man forgive sins when only God forgives sins [Luke 5:21-23], He knew that Lazarus was dead when the apostles came to tell Him, He also knew that Judas was going to betray Him and much more.

This gift of the Holy Spirit has been present in the lives of the prophets and the saints, it is given so that others may be warned or that they strengthen their faith.

In a weak form this gift is the same as intuition. For those who practise the spiritual life, this gift comes sometimes in visions that represent a message of something that is either going on or that will happen, also as a reminder to pray for a particular cause or person.

Piety

This is a great gift of faith that gives a person the ability to spend time in prayer and devotions, it is like a fire that always wants to grow and it receives fuel in prayer.

On the way to Calvary Jesus met the pious women of Jerusalem, they followed the example of Mary our Blessed Mother. Pious people can be found today attending mass daily and praying for other people. They feed their piety by praying the Holy Rosary daily, by seeking knowledge in religious books and by practicing their religious devotions.

Most priests and religious have had this strong vocation of serving the Lord, they were motivated by piety. They have accepted hardships and persecutions and somehow they have become fools for Christ like St. Paul [2 Corinthians 12:10-11] because in our weaknesses we discover the strength of the Lord.

In baptism we receive an infusion of all these gifts of the Holy Spirit, but like gifts under the Christmas tree, they must be opened and put to good use.

Fear of the Lord

Holy fear of the Lord consists in fearing to offend God by our indifference and sinfulness.

In fact fear of God is the beginning of Wisdom [Proverbs 1:7], The fear of the Lord hates evil: I hate arrogance, and pride, and every wicked way, and a mouth with a double tongue says the Lord . [Proverbs 8:13]

Not much is taught about fearing God any more, the concept is that God is so good that we should not fear Him, but if we look at the Holy Scriptures we will see that even the Holy Name of God inspired so much awe and respect that the Israelites did not pronounce it completely for fear of offending Him.

We must not fear God because He is going to punish us, this indeed would be to think that God is a punitive God waiting for a chance to teach us a lesson. We must fear God because our lives depend on Him and if we sin, we ourselves separate from Him and risk to be on our own.

A branch cut off the vine withers and dies [John 15:1-6], so if we turn away from God who is Light, we give ourselves to the prince of darkness, the devil  and He becomes our Father [John 8:44] . This would be enough reason to have fear of offending God.

So we must trust and remain in our faithful God, who is our strength, the light of our lives. We must remain faithful to Him and avoid the risk of losing Him for lack of Fear of God.

Romans 3:10

 10 As it is written: There is not any man just.
 11 There is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God.
 12 All have turned out of the way; they are become unprofitable together: there is none that doth good, there is not so much as one.
 13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have dealt deceitfully. The venom of asps is under their lips.
 14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
 15 Their feet swift to shed blood:
 16 Destruction and misery in their ways:
 17 And the way of peace they have not known:
 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.

The seven gifts    |    Contents

Charismatic gifts

Prophecy    |     Deliverance    |    Tongues    |    Teaching
Healing - Miracles  
|    Discernment
Apparitions   
|    Messages

Overview

Besides the seven gifts found to perfection in Christ and which everyone who is baptised possesses in different degree for his own sanctification, there are also spiritual gifts for the edification and sanctification of the whole Church.

These gifts are received for the purpose of helping others, they are supernatural gifts that help the faith of those who are benefited by them, usually not the person who receives them but the person or persons affected by them.

For example Prophecy is the highest of these gifts, it has the power to convince others that what is being said is truly the Word of God, it is not so much prophesying coming events, but expanding the Holy Scriptures with Wisdom that touches the heart of those who listen.

The gifts of healing and miracles, are a response of God to the prayers of intercession and while they heal one person, others become convinced that the Lord is truly there in the prayer group, and encourages to pray for healing.

These gifts can be received when a person receives the experience of the Baptism of the Spirit; an experience which is not another baptism, but a very strong physical and spiritual confirmation of the Holy Spirit. The person must be a very strong believer of the Words of Christ and must have repented of his sins with true sorrow and contrition.

Normally this experience is received through the laying of the hands by one who has received the Holy Spirit anointing, we are supposed to receive this experience in the Sacrament of Confirmation, but that is not normally the case. The anointed person lays hands on a person who is repenting of his sins and surrendering himself of herself to the action of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit responds to the purity of intention of the ones involved. It is common to see people responding with tears in their eyes, feelings of joy, speaking in tongues and being slain in the Spirit.

Those who receive this experience of the Holy Spirit become thirsty for God. They continue to attend prayer meetings, where they begin to get involved in preaching the gospel, praying over the sick and committing themselves to the Work of God.

The Spiritual gifts were present in the early Church as we learn from St. Paul [Romans 12:4-13] and then have manifested at other times to the saints and to those who seek God.

Nowadays, we are experiencing an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in fulfilment of the prophecies of the Old Testament. [Joel 2:28]

Prophecy

To prophecy means to speak in the name of the Lord, in other words it means to speak God's Word to others, namely the Gospel. Every one who is baptised is called to be a witness of Christ by word and action. John Paul II is the prophet of our times, He speaks the Word of God in all his encyclicals the same as all the other popes.

Bishops and priests also receive this gift, although not all of them open themselves to the influence of the Holy Spirit, since when speaking in prophecy one is the instrument of God, but some actually having the opportunity to prophesy become obstacles of the message of God.

As a gift from the Holy Spirit, prophecy is given as a message of the Lord for His people. The person receives an interior locution, a very strong desire to say what is given to Him and the words just come [Jeremiah 20:9].

There is nothing to be revealed since all revelation has been given to us through the Holy Scriptures, so prophecy is a sign from God that He is present in the prayer group or the Church assembly.

Most prophecy is heard in Charismatic groups, since many other groups and apostolates in the Church reject the approach of the Charismatic movement.

However not all Charismatic groups are totally acceptable since some tend to deviate from the teachings of the Church, and neglect the Sacraments, specially Confession before the priest, some others neglect the attention that is due to Mary the Mother of God, therefore they dedicate themselves to the study of the Holy Scriptures and in a way they become very much like Pentecostals.

We must remember that the first Christian and Charismatic was Our Lady, because She was totally anointed with the Holy Spirit, in such a way that She bore in her womb the Incarnate Word of God, Our Lord Jesus Christ, She spent thirty years of the private life of Jesus in His company and She went all the way to the holy mountain of Calvary to offer her Isaac to the Lord in sacrifice.She offered the true lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world; and that, makes Her the mother of our faith. If we can not find place for Our Lady in Charismatic prayer meetings, then we are not dealing there with the Holy Spirit.

So future Charismatics: Beware ! - Remember, the Holy Spirit is found where Mary is found. If they don't pray the Rosary in your Charismatic prayer group, be sure of suggesting how important it is to be in the company of Our Lady like the Apostles on the day of Pentecost.

Deliverance

In my name they will cast out devils, they will speak in tongues ..etc [Mark 16:17], these are signs that accompany the believers.

People do not believe in evil spirits any more, they laugh about the idea of the devil, they accept the evil in the world and they don't reject it. So in a way to be able to deliver evil spirits one must believe that they exist, and one must have a very strong conviction in the Power of the Holy Spirit.

Unless you believe that the Spirit of the Lord is upon you, and unless you are in a state of Grace, do not dare to rebuke evil spirits from another person, in fact if you try, you will end up having a terrible experience if the person is really possessed. Officially the Church only grants permission to exorcise to certain gifted priests.

According to the Words of Christ, we must truly believe to be able to receive that power of God to cast out devils, to heal, to perform miracles etc [Mark 16:17-20]. We must believe in the Holy Spirit as the Creed says: I believe in the Holy Spirit, that means I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit, I believe that I am a temple of the Holy Spirit and that I have been commissioned to bring the Presence of God to others.

Evil Spirits will leave at the command of one who is anointed with the Holy Spirit. There will be signs to confirm that the success of the exorcism has taken place.

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