Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit

“Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts. “ 1 Corinthians 12: 31

OK, let’s admit it: we all love to receive gifts don’t we? Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations—even Halloween has become a time to give gifts—as if all the candy wasn’t enough? But have you ever received a gift that you never used? Like that bright fuscia-colored, hand-knitted sweater from Aunt Ida with the first letter of your name monogrammed front and center? Or the crocheted wall art of your grandmother’s poodle (we actually got this one year for Christmas)? After politely smiling and saying “thank you” you either put it in a closet and never take it out (moths need nourishment don’t they?) or drop it off at the Salvation Army thrift store (and hope your relative doesn’t shop there). But what if you got a really cool gift but never learned how to use it? At Baptism and again at Confirmation God gives us the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, knowledge, understanding, counsel, fortitude, piety and fear of the Lord. But these gifts aren’t like Aunt Ida’s sweater or grandma’s poodle art. Often we don’t use them because we don’t know what they are or how they are supposed to help us.

In paragraph 1830, the Catechism teaches us that the Gifts of the Spirit sustain our moral life. This means that they specifically enable us to live the life of holiness that God is calling each of us to. Don’t you think we owe it to ourselves to learn as much as possible about these awesome gifts we’ve been given so that they don’t wind up in the “closet” of our souls? I don’t know about you, but when God asks me for an accounting of what I’ve done with the gifts He’s given me, I don’t want to have to take Him to the Salvation Army thrift store to find them.

Dear Jesus, help me to recognize the power of the gifts of the Holy Spirit at work in my life. Help me to cooperate with the grace they are to me, that I may live for You each day. Amen.

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