Posted tagged ‘Holy Spirit’

Pentecost: Gifts, Fruits, Virtues

June 9, 2019


Blessed Pentecost!

MANY years ago,
when I visited the Sisters of St. Clare over Pentecost,
they invited me to share in their tradition
of drawing from a hat (without looking)
a piece of paper
on which was written a gift and a fruit of the Holy Spirit
(as found in Isaiah 11:2 & Galatians 5:22, respectively–
the older, longer version of Galatians)
to focus on until the following Pentecost.

I’ve carried on that tradition,
putting each on a separate slip of paper,
adding the Theological and Cardinal virtues
as well.

Faith, Hope and Love/Caritas
being the Theological Virtues,
and Prudence, Justice, Temperance
and Fortitude
being the Cardinal Virtues.

I recommend it!

It’s been a good way for me to let God tell me
what He wants to work on in my life.

Come, Holy Spirit!
Change my life!

Here are thoughts on the gifts and fruits
we’ve shared with RCIA participants:


Fear of the Lord: eager resolve to avoid anything that would hurt our relationship with God; awe and reverence at the privilege we have of being His children. “What do I really fear losing?” “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10)
fear of the Lord in action; giving God the honor He deserves as our heavenly Father, and showing appropriate honor and respect to leaders who are responsible for our welfare; doing good to all out of reverence for God (Matthew 25:40).
Knowledge: tell the difference between spiritual truth and counterfeits; helps us see created things as signposts to point us to God rather than as ends in themselves.
Fortitude: supernatural courage to do good and to avoid evil; confidence to get through tough times, protection against discouragement, supernatural patience; to stand firm, and even to face death for the sake of doing what’s right–even if we feel weak and scared.
Counsel: helps us know what choices lead to Heaven and what choices lead to hell.
Understanding: an intimate knowing that penetrates to the heart of what God’s revealed to us about Himself and about living the Christian life; going deeper into the meaning, the inner truth of the Scriptures, the Trinity, the Eucharist, etc.
Wisdom: a taste for God and for the truth about God that puts everything in a divine perspective; putting first things first; encompasses all the other gifts (see James 3:17).


Caritas (we use that word because “Love” can refer to so many different forms of attraction!): self-sacrificing love for the best good of the other
Joy: delight in our union with the God we love
Peace: perfection of joy, cannot be disturbed by trials, suffering or frustrated desires. Jewish “Shalom” is more than absence of conflict–fullness, completeness, all is well because God has everything under control
Patience: unshakable confidence that God’s got everything under control
Kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness & faithfulness: doing good for other people, including our enemies, for Jesus’ sake
Modesty: refusing to unveil what should remain hidden out of reverence and respect for the spiritual dignity proper to our bodies; down-to-earth dignity that doesn’t draw attention to itself
Self-control: mastering our desires so they serve God instead of enslaving us
Chastity: reverencing God’s sacred gift of sexuality, so that it becomes a holy giving of ourselves in self-sacrificial love (not just a passing pleasure); forming a union of body and spirit, of husband & wife. Chastity unites, while a misuse of sexuality divides.

On Fire

May 21, 2010

The other day a friend was lamenting students who chatter through Mass, carelessly take God’s Name in vain, show no awareness of Jesus in Adoration, etc. They just don’t care. I spend most Fridays in a school chapel. I know the phenomenon. Despite a solid religion program and a series of amazing chaplains, spiritual things just seem to bounce off of most of them. I keep praying…

We were talking about the Holy Spirit too, in the midst of the Pentecost novena. She’d been reading about Him and was trying to make sense of it all. I’d just given the RCIA presentation on the Holy Spirit and was trying to pass on highlights, describing (among other things) the Holy Spirit as the vitality of the Christian life, and explaining that her spiritual hunger and excitement were evidence of the Holy Spirit’s activity in her life.

Then it dawned on me–that’s precisely what these students (and Catholics beyond numbering) are missing. Without the Holy Spirit, religion becomes an empty, meaningless structure, like an abandoned house that gradually decays. With the Holy Spirit, it becomes the dynamo that changed the world! That’s what we need…

Suddenly the novena took on a whole new urgency.

Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts and minds of Your faithful (and not so faithful!) servants and inflame them with the fire of Your divine Love. O God, You instructed the hearts of Your faithful servants through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. By this same Spirit, enable us to discern what is right and to rejoice in His consolation forever, through Christ, our Lord. Amen.”

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