Yesterday I wrapped up my series on the 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit. When thinking about these gifts, many of us will respond with the words:
We sometimes fall into a wishy-washy, fluffy interpretation of the 7 gifts and the overall role of the Holy Spirit and that’s a BIG mistake. Instead of recognizing His gifts in our lives, we end up taking credit for them. Before I put the topic of the Holy Spirit to rest, let’s take a look at 7 reasons why the Holy Spirit REALLY matters in our lives:
wisdom - Helps you see God working in your life. Did you ever meet someone who has lost their job and says that they’re not worried because they know that the Lord has a better job for them? We often look at people like that and assume that they are either crazy or “out of touch with reality”. Quite often, what they have is the gift of wisdom.
understanding – Allows you to better grasp revealed truths. Why do some Catholics accept all the Church’s teachings and others have issues with contraception, cohabitation, Mass attendance, the Real Presence or many other things? Don’t overlook the gift of understanding.
knowledge – The ability to put created things in their proper perspective. Several years ago, I felt that I was buying too many useless things. I told a priest that I felt I was too materialistic, but I really enjoyed buying “toys”. He reminded me that humans are materialistic by nature and said that I should ask the Lord to take away some of that desire. Gradually, I began to care more about spiritual treasures. The odds are good that I received an increase in the gift of knowledge.
counsel – Guides you to make the “right” choice in a given situation. Sometimes we just know what to do. While we often attribute this to our own wisdom, the ability to make the correct choice is often due to the gift of counsel.
fortitude - Helps you to pursue your faith, even when you must pay a price. For years, I was afraid to profess my faith publicly. I rationalized by telling myself that “faith is a private matter”. Now I’m all over the Internet and the radio telling people that I love Jesus and the Catholic Faith. What got into me? Probably an increase in the gift of fortitude.
piety - Makes you love God and all of His creatures. Some people make fun of those who they think are inferior. Priests and nuns are often ridiculed and criticized. Why do some of us love them and all of God’s children? You guessed it…piety!
fear of the Lord – Reminds you to do the “right” thing when your body wants to do something else. Did you ever feel like telling someone off, looking at some indecent pictures or not going to Mass on Sunday? However, you decide to do the right thing because you realize that you’re going to be judged for your actions after your death? There’s a good chance that the Holy Spirit just gave you a little extra fear of the Lord!
While I’m not implying that we don’t deserve credit for trying to be good, I do think that we don’t give enough credit to the Holy Spirit and His working in our lives. As much as I’d like to deny it, I have a tendency to be lazy, self-centered and love comfort. In spite of this, I often manage to behave in a way that pleases God. There’s no way that I deserve the credit for that…
Thank you, Holy Spirit!