If we were to poll Catholics and ask which of the 3 Persons of the Trinity they LEAST understood, the odds are good that the Holy Spirit would be the most popular answer. While most of know something about God the Father and God the Son, the mysterious God the Holy Spirit can be rather vague. As we prepare for the great solemnity of Pentecost, let’s take a look at the Holy Spirit and examine 7 reasons to be thankful for His presence in our lives.
Before Jesus ascended into Heaven, He made this promise:
The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name?he will teach you everything and remind you of all that [I] told you. (John 14:26)
Although we still may not have a clear picture of the Holy Spirit, looking at Our Lord’s words for a few minutes should give us an idea of the Holy Spirit’s function. He will help us to understand and follow the teachings of Jesus. I don’t know how you feel, but that’s something that I desperately need! As for the 7 reasons to be thankful for the Holy Spirit, here they are. Coincidentally (not!), these 7 reasons just happen to correspond with the 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit as defined by the prophet Isaiah (Is 11:2).
1. Wisdom – The first and most important gift of the Holy Spirit, wisdom allows us to see through the eyes of God. This gift enables us to see things from His viewpoint.
2. Understanding – This gift allows us to grasp revealed truths more easily. While faith allows us to assent to God’s revelation, understanding helps us to comprehend the meaning of that revelation.
3. Knowledge – Sometimes we fail to see the benefit of the events that occur in our lives. Especially challenging are those happenings that are painful and cause great suffering. Knowledge helps us to become detached from the things (and events) of the world and see the providential purpose of anything that occurs in our lives – good or bad.
4. Fortitude – For many years, I was afraid to profess my faith (mainly due to a fear of being rejected or criticized) and I had no desire to learn more about the teaching of the Church (too many other “important” things to do). Now, I have a great desire to proclaim the “Good News” to everyone and I love to study the teachings of the Faith. What changed? An increase in the gift of fortitude!
5. Counsel – Those of us who follow Christ want to “do the right thing”. Sometimes, however, it’s not easy to determine what that “right thing” is. The Holy Spirit assists us with the gift of counsel. With His supernatural help, we can make wise and moral choices in life.
6. Piety – This gift increases our love for God and for our fellow man. If you find yourself getting annoyed at your parish priest or coworkers, it would be a good idea to pray for an increase in the gift of piety!
7. Fear of the Lord – Finally, let’s look at the most misunderstood and underappreciated gift of the Holy Spirit. Why should we fear a loving God? Who needs a “gift” like that? In reality, we all need this gift in a BIG way. Fear of the Lord enables us to respect God and His almighty power. It helps us to recall the He is the Creator and we are His creatures. Rather than fearing His wrath, pure fear of the Lord causes us to avoid sin out of love and respect for Our Father.
Although those of us who are baptized and confirmed have received the gifts of the Holy Spirit, they may be underutilized and dormant. We should get into the habit of praying daily for an increase of these gifts. By doing so, we’ll allow the Holy Spirit to do some miraculous things in our lives. If you need some evidence, take a look at the lives of the Apostles before and after they received the Holy Spirit. Going from cowards and self-centered knuckleheads to leaders and martyrs for the Faith doesn’t happen without some kind of supernatural intervention. The same infused gifts that allowed the early Church to grow will enable each of us to do great things for the Lord. Don’t waste the opportunity. Pray to the Holy Spirit and see what happens in your life!
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth. O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.