My Friend the Holy Spirit

My Friend the Holy Spirit May 15, 2024

Quick!  This is a test.

Without googling, consulting your 8th grader preparing for Confirmation or opening the Catechism, name the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.  We’re celebrating the feast of Pentecost this Sunday, and aught to know the gifts the third person of the Trinity brings to each of us when we experience our own sacrament of Pentecost.

Write down what you remember old school, with a pencil.   Tactile memory helps. It’s probably how you learned it the first time around anyway.

autumn golden hour by Mark Berman
With the Holy Spirit, it is always the Golden Hour. Photo by Mark Berman

Did  you remember Wisdom?  Sure you did.
It allows a person to understand things from God’s point of view It lets us see truth.

What about understanding?
Understanding differs from wisdom, in that while we may see the truth, the truth itself may be puzzling.  We may not comprehend why something must be even if we understand it to be.  One can see the results of a pregnancy test and know one is pregnant.  Understanding what that will entail –you are now a mother going from now until forever, can be daunting.

Right Judgment/Good Counsel?

Again, we can know what is true. We can understand what it means.  The decision to act may still require discernment –and the gift of knowing what to do, how to apply that wisdom and reveal that understanding, that is right judgment. 

I remember Fortitude because it’s something I seem to need in constant supply.   I always thought it just meant persistance.

However fortitude is also courage, something I didn’t know until I started writing this piece –and yes, I looked things up because I was writing this piece after testing myself.  It’s not enough to know God’s will, to understand God’s will, and to know how to act.  One must speak up, one must attune one’s self to the Holy Spirit when it pushes you to act.


For most of us, coming to understand God’s purpose for us and all our talents, gifts and capacities takes a lifetime, but knowing how God wishes to work through us for others is the deepest kind of knowledge one can have, and it is pure gift from the Holy Spirit. 


Most people, self included, struggle with understanding piety.  The willingness to serve God that extends beyond tradition, beyond duty, beyond custom, that is piety.   When we serve out of love because we love, when we seek out the sacraments and opportunties to pray because we cannot bear to do otherwise.  

Fear of the Lord

When we know our worth is because of God’s love, and that our love is only what is due to the one who willed us into being out of love, we have proper awe of the Lord.  It is a docility and humilty of spirit that keeps us from presuming that any of these gifts are anything but gifts.

Mary helps us understand these gifts.  She received our Lord by her fiat, but not through any act other than to with full piety, fortitude, wisdom, knowledge and understanding, accept the gift of her son from the Father. She pondered all that happened in her heart.  To know God is to plunge into contemplation of His heart.  It requires being willing to immerse yourself in God’s love.   She is the perfect disciple of our Lord.  Her witness is our example.

The Holy Spirit is our friend.  We just need to recognize the voice of the third person of the Trinity, so we can better respond to all these wonderful gifts.   Maybe, pray the prayer of the Holy Spirit in preparation for this weekend. 

Now…consider these seven gifts: wisdom, right judgment, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord.  Reflecting back on your life, can you see where and when you’ve felt the tug of this wonderful advocate.   Say thank you for all those moments, and wear red this weekend to mass as a reminder to all the world of this feast day when the Church began.

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