The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

An Essay By Beatrice // 10/26/2001

Sacraments of the Catholic Church act as rivers between God and man. On these rivers God sends his inestimable gifts to aid man in his search for God on earth. During Confirmation--one of the seven sacraments--a spiritual encounter takes place between the recipient and the Holy Spirit. Though this encounter appears very quiet and simple, it affects one for the rest of one’s life. This sacrament anoints the individual as a soldier for Christ, giving the recipient seven tools to fight the enemy. Each of these tools inspires fear in the evil one and hope in the recipient and in those whom he protects.

Three of these holy tools bring insight, clarity, and acceptance to the “battlefront” of life. As a compass, Wisdom, the first tool, leads one to the inside recesses of the soul where one seeks through insight the will of God. This gift of Wisdom helps, too, in discovering how to fulfill God’s will once it becomes clear. Then bringing clarity comes the gift of Knowledge, like a sharp blade that cuts through webs of lies spun by the devil. Understanding, the last gift of this threesome, combines acceptance with the gift of Knowledge to create a sword of truth. Like the hilt of the blade, Understanding makes the keenness of knowledge possible to wield in battle.

On the wide wings of the Paraclete there also reside two tools that the devil must especially despise. One gives a foundation to the rest of the gifts, and the other strengthens both the recipient and whomever he guides. Fortitude, the first of the two, provides courage to the soul during this great “battle” for eternal life. Also, when doubt plagues God’s soldiers and no hope seems visible, the Holy Spirit brings the strength of Fortitude to sustain them. Good Counsel, the other gift consoles two of God’s soldiers at once since the one counseling finds comfort in the words of the Holy Spirit that he speaks, while the one receiving counsel finds peace and a friend in the counselor. Of course the Holy Spirit continually counsels the recipient of his grace.

Every holy soldier of God must have a deep reverence for him. Just as troops must respect the general for whom they fight. This gift of Piety hovers over the Confirmed, giving him a sense of reverence for all of God’s creation and everything sacred on earth. Finally the last gift of the Holy Spirit inspires awe for God’s omnipotent greatness. All Christian hearts must have Fear of the Lord so that they may respect and love the one for whom they fight. These last gifts complete the rest since Christ, our general, must forever be present in the soldier’s heart so that he may obtain victory over evil.

Confirmation pours forth gifts onto the recipient, but he must accept these gifts and have “room” for the Holy Spirit in his heart. Without this, the Holy Spirit cannot guide, shelter, and protect him. As my Confirmation draws near, I must pray for complete openness. Like a knight preparing himself to receive the blessing of his Lord, I must polish my soul so that when I encounter the Holy Spirit I may receive his gifts. Each one will guide me on this “journey” if I would only let them. May I always find refuge in Wisdom, Knowledge, Understanding, Fortitude, Good Counsel, Piety, and Fear of the Lord.

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