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Gifts of the Spirit Printer friendly format

By Paul J. Ashton, Psy.D., D.Min.
Consultant to the VIRTUS® Programs

Tthree school girls in uniformhe spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord, and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord. Not by appearance shall he judge, nor by hearsay shall he decide, but he shall judge the poor with justice, and decide aright for the land's afflicted
—Isaiah 11; 2 - 4
The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. They belong in their fullness to Christ, Son of David.[i]  A wise reader of this website wrote in and asked if we could address the Gifts of the Spirit in regard to awareness and protecting the community. The recent headlines throughout our country affirm what we have always known—that those wishing to do harm to children will do so under any guise, in any environment, and with any pretense. They go to great lengths to make sure that everyone thinks they are wonderful at what they do, are kind in all of their actions, and have such generous good will, that they would never hurt a child. We know differently, yet we are groomed by these individuals because of their achievements and, as part of this process, we fail to see the larger picture. In doing so, we allow children to be directly in harm’s way. Reporting our suspicions, therefore, is paramount to protecting children and vulnerable adults.
Having the faith of our convictions is also a key to the process of the proactive protection of children. Making sure we go as far as we can in reporting our suspicion of child sexual abuse—not rumors, or fears, or innuendo—but suspicions because of behavior is important. Drawing upon the gifts of the Holy Spirit, may we come to understand the power of these gifts and the graces they impart to us constantly so that we can propel our Faith into action.
Wisdom—May we come to know through right judgment what we need to do readily, without hesitation or counting the costs. May we come to understand what is right for the sake of good and God, not for any other measure.
Understanding—We pray for the understanding we need to grasp the essence of our Faith so that in certitude we go forth with the call of the Gospels.
Counsel—Counsel is the gift that allows us not to fear to stand up for the truth of what we believe. It offers us surety and through its practice we know always how to follow the correct path of action.
Fortitude—Strength is what we need when faced with difficulties—Fortitude is that strength. May we always be filled with the fortitude to act with justice.
Knowledge—Praying to know what God’s purpose has for our live is the path to understanding what we are called to do and how we are called to do it. We ask God for the gift of knowledge so that we might better see our goals and direction.
Piety—We ask to know and love God for the sake of love and nothing other. We ask for this gift so that we are able to live without considering anything but our love for God in response to all of God’s love for us.
Fear of the Lord—We know that we can do nothing without God, who is the summit of our total being. We pray for this gift from the Spirit so that we are free to know, understand, appreciate, fully believe, and operate in and through God’s power.

[i] Catechism of the Catholic Church 1831


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