As we approach the end of May we also near the end of the celebration of the Easter Season. This has been an Easter Season like no other, for the lack of community celebration of the Mass has dampened our proper joyous attitude, but despite what has happened regarding Covid-19, the reasons to celebrate are still evident, and there is one more event to celebrate yet to come. The end of the Easter Season is the celebration of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit is given to us to guide and assist us with his Gifts.
Below is a short description of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, from Pope Francis.
- Wisdom is the grace of being able to see everything with the eyes of God rather than with our self-interests.
- Understanding is the ability to go beyond the outward appearance of reality and to probe the depths of the thoughts of God and his plan of salvation.
- Knowledge is not limited to human knowledge; it is a special gift, which leads us to grasp, through the study of creation, the greatness and love of God and his profound relationship with every creature.
- Counsel is the guidance of God himself, through his Spirit, who enlightens our hearts to make us understand the right way to speak and to behave.
- Fortitude is the strength that helps us to do what is right despite our fears.
- Piety stirs in us, above all, gratitude and praise for being united with God.
- Fear of the Lord is the holy awe of God that leads us to not want to do anything that would displease him because we love him so much.
And so, with these tenets of our faith in mind, I would like to bring up what I perceive to be a weakness in many people’s relationship with the Holy Spirit. That is that when we received the Holy Spirit at Baptism and Confirmation, and when we are reminded of these gifts each Pentecost, we do not respond to the gift.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit are like any gift. If someone gives you a book for your birthday, but you never open it and read it, that book is never appreciated, nor does it teach us anything. God offers us these gifts throughout our lives but for them to take hold of us and to do the work they are intended to do, it is necessary for us to open our hearts to them and to follow their guidance. God has given us gifts. We need to respond to them for them to affect our lives.
Fr. Edward Gibney
Associate State Chaplain