Today on this great solemnity of Pentecost we celebrate the birth of the Church. It is the day when the Holy Spirit came upon the Blessed Virgin Mary and then onto the Apostles present in the upper room. But not before those first bishops and priests had spent the previous nine days in deep intimate prayer with the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Holy Spirit is the One who came with many great gifts on Pentecost to renew the face of the earth. The Holy Spirit gave the apostles Seven-Fold Gifts of divine grace. These were supernatural gifts-gifts that enabled them to live for God alone, in joyful intimacy and friendship with Him. When the power of the Holy Spirit came upon them they became great witnesses to the world to Jesus, and to the truth of His teachings in the face of great difficulties and even outright persecution and death.
For us, like the apostles, the help we need from on High, that is the gifts of the Holy Spirit, are given to us at well. We need not only His divine strength and light, but also the Hope and joy of divine friendship with Him. With His divine gifts, the Holy Spirit wants to continue His work of renewing the whole world, beginning within our own hearts (this is the way the world is always renew; it begins with our own hearts and then flows out from us). The Holy Spirit wants to use us in order to bring His light to the souls we come in contact with on a daily basis, sharing with them the hope and joy that is alive within us and which comes from this divine guest and friend of our soul.
Let us look closer at these supernatural gifts that the Holy Spirit gave to the apostles and to us, beginning at our baptism and confirmed in us at our Confirmation. These supernatural gifts are: WISDOM, KNOWLEDGE, UNDERSTANDING, FORTITUDE, COUNSEL, PIETY, AND FEAR OF THE LORD.
First, the gift of wisdom. Wisdom gives us a spiritual awareness of the love of God and allows us to order and judge the things of this world from this perspective. In other words, with wisdom in our lives we don’t put the things of this world before the Creator of things. We don’t use this life to obtain things but we use things of this life to obtain God.
In the gift of Understanding, or also called the gift of Intelligence, we are given the understanding of divine things, especially when we read and hear the Holy Scriptures and study the teachings of the Church which are the teachings of Christ. With this gift, the Holy Spirit gives us the desire to know and understand better the truths of our Catholic faith and how intricately they affect our relationship with Christ and with one another. We learn how to live the Truth which comes from God.
The gift of fortitude gives us strength to live our faith, to live the Truth. This strength is not just for doing extraordinary things; like martyrdom, but this gift also helps us in the ordinary struggles we have in life, especially our daily struggle against sin. It helps us to persevere even in our darkest moments, not to lose hope.
Along with the Gift of Fortitude, He will help us to use the Gift of Knowledge so that we can exercise the moral virtue of prudence, enabling us to make practical decisions in our lives which are in conformity to God’s Holy Will. Close to the Gift of Knowledge is the Gift of Counsel.
Counsel is like a divine compass. In the problems and uncertainties of life this gift helps us to know what will work best for the glory of God, not only for our own souls but even for the souls of others. The Gift of Counsel directs us in our everyday life. It helps us, to prudently choose the right thing to do in a given circumstance. No matter how intricate and difficult the situation is, aided by this great Gift, we are better able to see what to do in a given situation in order to please God and fulfill His Holy Will thus living life to the fullness with great joy. We can then help-counsel others to do the same.
The Gift of PIETY helps us to live out the commandment in order to love God and love our neighbor for love of God True Piety is knowledge that God is love, that he loves each of us infinitely. Our response should be thanksgiving; that is, to worship and adore God properly, reverently and devotedly, at Holy Mass and before His true, physical presence in the Holy Eucharist in order to be able to love God more and to love those whom he loves.
With piety we act appropriately in Church, never talking because the tabernacle which contains the HolyEucharist-God on earth is before us. We dress with our Sunday Best (never shorts), w genuflect, pray, and kneel with great piety, not just because we do them well, but because our outward actions matches the inter dispositions of our heart.
With this gift as well, the Holy Spirit heals our hearts of every form of hardness and un-forgiveness, and opens them to tenderness towards God and our brothers and sisters. With this gift, we feel urged to treat all people with great kindness and friendliness, to do good even to those who wrong us, to love and forgive even those who hate us and persecute us. We all need this gift, just think about how often each day we are called to love people who are human speaking hard to love.
Lastly, the Gift of the FEAR OF THE LORD is a special gift, which helps us to dread and avoid sin. The gift of fear is not like the fear we experience in a horror film or the fear of being hit by a lightening bolt from heaven. It is not a fear in which we are afraid of God. It is our sin, which causes us to fear God in this wrong way. The true gift of fear from the Holy Spirit is a holy fear, a fear of not offending in any way a God who loves you so much and whom who want to love in return. We become sorry for our sins not so much because we dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell but most of all because we have offended our God who is all good and deserving of all of love. With this Holy fear we longer fear the loss of human respect, we are set free from our slavery to human respect, we fear only offending God who love us so much.
Today at this Holy Mass, let us ask the Holy Spirit to help us with all of his gifts. We need these gifts so very much. He is an all knowing Expert who will guide us in our decisions and difficulties if we ask Him; He will help us to make the right choices in our lives, to choose this action or that; He will help us in our relationships, to get along better with those we love, especially in our families; He will help us in the times we have no idea what to do, situations that seem hopeless or impossible such as the illness or death of a loved one, our own serious personal illness, the loss of our job or our struggle in finding new employment. And when we feel lost, if we cry out to the Holy Spirit, He will immediately, and I do mean immediately, rush to our aid and begin to show us the way. We can simply say with great trust, “Holy Spirit help me for I am lost.”
So today, at this Holy Mass which is also a Pentecost as the priest calls down the Holy Spirit over the gifts and over all of us to make us holy, let us turn to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is actually the Spouse of the Holy Spirit. Along with prayer, let us turn to her to help us draw close to this same Holy Spirit so that we may put His great gifts into effect in lives. St. Louis de Montfort who wrote the beautiful work, “True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin,” maintains that devotion to Our Lady is the best means to develop an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit. He says: “God the Holy Spirit wishes to fashion His chosen ones in and through Mary” and St. de Montfort insists, that when the Holy Spirit finds Mary in a soul, He hastens there and enters fully into it. The Holy Spirit then gives Himself generously to that soul to the degree that it has made a place for the spouse of the same Holy Spirit. Let us turn to Mary, the Holy Spirit’s spouse, so that she may help us to offer our heart totally at this Holy Mass; through her the Holy Spirit may then form Jesus in us as a fruit of our Holy Communion that through Jesus living in us, the Holy Spirit will renew the face of the world.
“Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of Thy faithful, enkindle in them the fire of Divine Love. Send forth Thy Spirit and You will renew the face of the earth.
O God, Who didst instruct the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant that by the same Spirit we may be truly wise, and ever more rejoice in His consolation. Through Christ our Lord.
Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed the Virgin Mary, your well beloved spouse.