What’s a birthday without gifts? Pentecost Sunday is the birthday of the Church, and on this day we recall the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and the mother of God. What better day to recognize the gifts that the Holy Spirit offers to us?
With Baptism we receive the Holy Spirit and with Confirmation we are sealed with the Holy Spirit. In receiving the Holy Spirit we are also availed of seven gifts: wisdom, knowledge, understanding, counsel, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord.
St. Thomas Aquinas says that the greatest of these gifts is wisdom. He also said the gifts perfect our intellect and our will, explained Fr. Ed Broom. Wisdom, knowledge, and understanding are meant to perfect our intellect, the gift of counsel is a bridge between intellect and will, and fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord perfect our will.
“Therefore, if we allow the gifts of the Holy Spirit to be operative in us, then the Holy Spirit will help us to become holy, it will help us to become saints,” said Fr. Broom.
“Saints are the masterpieces of the Holy Spirit.” – St. John XXIII
How can we cultivate these gifts? Just as we must spend hours and hours to become proficient in a new language or to become really good at a sport, the gifts of the Holy Spirit also need to be practiced.
“A lot of people have this nuclear spiritual energy that is latent within, but it has to be elicited forth by the practice of these wonderful, wonderful gifts,” Fr. Broom explained.
The Greatest Gift
St. Thomas Aquinas describes wisdom—which calls the greatest gift of the Holy Spirit—as relishing the things of God. If you have a desire, a hunger for for the sacraments, to spend time in prayer, to read the Holy Scripture—that is a manifestation of wisdom, says Fr. Broom.
This verse from Matthew 6:33 sums it up for us: “But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.”
The wise person knows what is most important and orientates their life toward those things. They do not waste time on things that do not matter, but instead focus their minds on God.
Come, Holy Spirit!
Listen to the podcast for more about the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit:
Tune in to The Inner Life weekdays at 11am-noon CT only on Relevant Radio.