Monthly Archives: October 2011

Day 69 of 365 Days With God

KNOWLEDGE-The fifth of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

You will not see anyone who is really striving after his advancement who is not given to spiritual reading. And as to him who neglects it, the fact will soon be observed by his progress. — St. Athanasius

The supernatural gift of knowledge enables us to know ourselves, and to discover the will of God in all things.This gift perfects the virtue of faith. Although one who is not in the state of grace can obtain knowledge of many things, the knowledge they possess will be of a worldly nature.

“He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.”  ~Proverbs 17:27

1.The gift of knowledge is often called “the science of the saints” because it enables those who have it to swiftly discern between the impulses of temptation and the inspirations ofgrace.

The Gift of KnowledgeThe gift of Knowledge enables the soul to evaluate created things at their true worth–in their relation to God. Knowledge unmasks the pretense of creatures, reveals their emptiness, and points out their only true purpose as instruments in the service of God. It shows us the loving care of God even in adversity, and directs us to glorify Him in every circumstance of life. Guided by its light, we put first things first, and prize the friendship of God beyond all else. “Knowledge is a fountain of life to him that possesseth it.”PrayerCome, O Blessed Spirit of Knowledge, and grant that I may perceive the will of the Father; show me the nothingness of earthly things, that I may realize their vanity and use them only for Thy glory and my own salvation, looking ever beyond them to Thee, and Thy eternal rewards. Amen. This prayer is taken from the Novena to the Holy Spirit of the Seven Gifts. It is one of the oldest novenas and is generally said in the Easter season.

1.All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon’s Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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Day 68 of 365 Days With God

FORTITUDE- The fourth of Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

We always find that those who walked closest to Christ were those who had to bear the greatest trials. — St. Teresa of Avila

When you are given the gift of Fortitude you will be supernaturally strengthened to act on the will of God in all things. This intimate gift of courage will help you to persevere in doing good despite trials, obstacles and setbacks. We know that the Christian life is not easy; our walk must match up to our talk. Because we are human we certainly can fail ourselves and others. But with God’s supernatural gift of Fortitude, we can trust and rely on him to help us in our weaknesses and persevere to the end.

The Gift of Fortitude By the gift of Fortitude the soul is strengthened against natural fear, and supported to the end in the performance of duty. Fortitude imparts to the will an impulse and energy which move it to under take without hesitancy the most arduous tasks, to face dangers, to trample under foot human respect, and to endure without complaint the slow martyrdom of even lifelong tribulation. “He that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved.
Prayer
Come, O Blessed Spirit of Fortitude, uphold my soul in time of trouble and adversity, sustain my efforts after holiness, strengthen my weakness, give me courage against all the assaults of my enemies, that I may never be overcome and separated from Thee, my God and greatest Good. Amen. This prayer is from the Novena to the Holy Spirit for the Seven Gifts. It is one of the oldest novenas and is generally said in the Easter Season.

http://saintjohnchurchmiddletown.com/7Gifts.aspx

Day 67 of 365 Days With God

 COUNSEL- The third of Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

The devil strains every nerve to secure the souls which belong to Christ. We should not grudge our toil in wresting them from Satan and giving them back to God. — St. Sebastian

When you are given the gift of counsel, the virtue of prudence is perfected.This gift will give you the ability to quickly know the correct thing to do in difficult situations. The Holy Spirit will speak intuitively to your heart, and you will be able to rightly judge persons and circumstances. 1″With the gift of counsel, the Holy Spirit speaks, as it were, to the heart and in an instant enlightens a person what to do,” writes Father Hardon. It is the gift that allows us as Christians to be assured that we will act correctly in times of trouble and trial. Through counsel, we can speak without fear in defense of the Christian Faith. Thus, the Catholic Encyclopedia notes, counsel “enables us to see and choose correctly what will help most to the glory of God and our own salvation.2” Christ gave His followers a gift like counsel when He told them, Mt 10:19 “When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”

1.http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Holy_Spirit.htm

2.http://www.secondexodus.com/html/catholicdefinitions/counsel.htm

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.”PrayerCome, 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. This prayer is from the Novena to the Seven Holy Spirit for the Seven Gifts. It is one of the oldest novenas and is generally said in the Easter Season. http://saintjohnchurchmiddletown.com/7Gifts.aspx 

Day 66 of 365 Days With God

UNDERSTANDING – The Second of Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

“You learn to speak by speaking, to study by studying, to run by running, to work by working, and just so, you learn to love by loving. All those who think to learn in any other way deceive themselves.”

~ St. Francis de Sale

When God graces you with the gift of understanding, the fullness of his words resonate in your mind and heart. You begin to appreciate more, the fullness of your faith. Although you may not perfectly understand all the aspects of your faith,( and who of us can know and possess all of God’s nature and glory in totality?) you will be able to understand the precepts more clearly. In that understanding, you will be able to apply those principles and revelations to your daily life.  You will desire the purest understanding of the scriptures, and relish in the teachings of the church.  God’s word will be actively revealed to your heart and mind, and you will want to stay aligned with it all times.

If Thou take Thy grace away, nothing pure in man will stay, All his good is turn’d to ill.The Gift of UnderstandingUnderstanding, 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.”PrayerCome, 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. This prayer is taken from the Novena to the Holy Spirit for the Seven Gifts. It is the one of the oldest novenas and is generally said during the Easter Season.http://saintjohnchurchmiddletown.com/7Gifts.aspx

Day 65 of 365 Days With God

WISDOM – The First of Seven Gifts of The Holy Spirit.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him.

                                                                                     St. James
When you are given the gift of wisdom, you will have an easier time seeing the world  from God’s perspective. You will begin to desire that your loving Father becomes an even bigger part of your soul, as you are filled in sharing his love with world around you. As he becomes the center of your life,  you will strive in all you say and do to live for his greater glory. With that being said, in your humanness you will fall short of his glory many times. But, the gift of his wisdom is given with such a fullness of love,  you will quickly recognize your shortcomings and appeal once more for his grace to fall on you like rain. Wisdom will give you access to knowledge and understanding. You will desire to contemplate on the things of God, and you will be able to discern situations, people, and things more clearly than ever before. So continue to pray that this gift remains active in your soul. The gift of wisdom will also protect you from foolishness, if you allow it too! God give us free will to choose with or without him. Everyday we make our choice.
Bend the stubborn heart and will, melt the frozen warm the chill. Guide the steps that go astray!The Gift of WisdomEmbodying 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.   This prayer is taken from The Novena to the Holy Spirit for the Seven Gifts. It is one of the oldest novenas and is generally said during the Easter Season. 

Day 64 0f 365 Days With God

“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.” Isaiah 11:2NAB

When we talk about the Gifts and Fruits  of the Holy Spirit, we have to talk about God’s grace and virtues. They go hand in hand.

Without getting all apologetic on you because I am not a theologian, I will try to simply state the basics, which I believe is important for context. We receive the grace of God in two ways; the first way is called sanctifying grace.  It is a free gift! This grace makes our souls holy. It is constant within us and enables us to experience God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in a personal and supernatural way. The second is actual grace; this grace comes to us in the form of  supernatural help or encouragement from God. It enlightens our mind and strengthens our will to do good and to avoid evil, so that we may hold on to the sanctifying grace we have received.

Now, lets look at virtues quickly. Each day when you and I wake up, we can choose to do good and avoid evil. God gives us free will!  You have heard of the three theological virtues of faith, hope,and charity.  There are also moral virtues which help us to live out moral/good lives and treat others according to the way of God.  1.”A virtue is a habitual and firm disposition to do good. It allows the person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of himself.” 1883 

There are seven virtues that contrast the seven deadly sins. They are Humility against Pride, Patience against Anger, Kindness against Envy, Abstinence against Gluttony, Chastity against Lust, Liberality against Greed, and Diligence against Sloth. Hang in there with me!

So why does all that theology matter? Well, when we receive even just one the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, by God’s sanctifying grace, we can perfect those virtues, and those virtues will help us live and bear fruitful lives.

In other words, God’s gifts are  ALL Good!!! So without further Adieu:

7 GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT: WISDOM, UNDERSTANDING, COUNSEL, FORTITUDE, KNOWLEDGE, PIETY, and FEAR OF THE LORD.

If you are just joining this post, jump back to Day 62 for more insight, and keep thinking about those questions I posed to you.  Have you been able to sit quietly with God and think about your life, and what he may be calling you to do?If not take a minute now,  I am sure he has much to share with you!

More tomorrow as we begin to delve into those gifts. I think you may be surprised to see just how much they can transform your life. May God Bless You

Catechism of the Catholic Church (New York: Doubleday, 1994) 1883.

Day 63 of 365 Days With God

As I mentioned in my last post, this next week or so, I wanted to really delve in to the gifts and fruits given to us by  the Holy Spirit.  If you would like, you can look back over at the Day 62 post for a brief preview on charisms/gifts.

While you and I conquer this exciting terrain, I thought it would be a good idea for us to ask ourselves a couple of questions.

1. What are the gifts God has given me to share with others?

2. Am I using those gifts to the fullest, giving God greater glory, and building up his kingdom on earth?

Have you heard that story of the woman who, after making it to heaven, had a bit of a surprise? As she entered the gates of heaven, accompanied by her Guardian Angel, she was led down a long brightly lit hallway. On each side of this hallway were doors that led to individual rooms. As her Guardian Angel opened the door to illuminate the contents of her room, the woman was overcome by beauty. She stood there speechless, for a moment, as her eyes scanned over an endless array of gifts. The beautiful packages  came in so many colors, shapes, and sizes; they were topped with luminescent bows and ribbons which seemed to be spun from the purest gold and silver. After she had taken it all in, she turned to her angel and asked, ‘Who do these belong to?’ The Guardian Angel spoke to her heart and said, ‘ You, but now they must remain unopened. ‘ She tried to understand but could not, so the angel continued to explain. ‘These Gifts were from God to you, and they were meant to be opened, enjoyed, and shared with others while you lived on earth, but you never took the time to accept them.’

Can you imagine how the woman must have felt? I know one thing, I want to open all the gifts God has in store for me! I believe he wants nothing more than to give his children good gifts so that he can be glorified, and we may be blessed. But unless we take the time to recognize and cultivate those gifts, we will never know what we may be missing.

So how do we do that? We pray, we read the scriptures, and we ask the Holy Spirit to come into our hearts so that we may be guided by and led to the will Our loving Father.

What interests you? What brings you joy? What is natural for you?  Are you led to encourage, to teach, or to serve?  Are you holding back from God because you are unsure you have the ability to succeed?  Know this, my friend, God will not call you to a task without giving you his strength and grace. When he places a strong desire in your heart to serve him and others,  he will give you his blueprint to follow.

“Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, [f]according to the proportion of his faith; 7 if [g]service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with[h]liberality; he who [i]leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.” Romans 12:6-8 NAB

Tomorrow: 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit