This session marked the fifth segment of The Wild Goose series where we learn that the greatest gift of the Holy Spirit, is the Holy Spirit. We discover experiences through this video of the familiar gifts (wisdom, counsel, love, etc.) and the not so familiar gifts (healing, prophecy, tongues, etc.). The video focused on the origin and distinction of gifts for personal sanctification and building the body of Christ as the narrator, Father Dave Pivonka, explains that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are for all Christians. The session ended with a tailored discussion based on pre-set questions and a reflection; keep reading for the juice!
God’s Gift Par Excellence
Pope Francis says the gift par excellence is the gift of the spirit himself, that is, the greatest gift that we are able to receive by virtue of our beliefs as Christians. No two days on this earth are ever the same with our gifts; if we let God be fruitful in our lives, we will be fruitful and will be used as points of influence for His ultimate purpose of creating us. The gifts of the Holy Spirit have been recorded in the old and new testaments; there are seven gifts of the Holy Spirit as written in the scriptures and they are: wisdom, understanding, fortitude, counsel, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11: 2-3). The Catechism of the Catholic Church also describes these gifts as permanent dispositions which make man docile in following the promptings of the Holy Spirit (CCC 1830).
These gifts are open to anyone who has been baptised or confirmed and not to a select few, i.e., we are capable of manifesting all the gifts of the Holy Spirit but this is dependent on our ability to open up our hearts and souls to connect on a spiritual level which will awaken these gifts.
However, the new testament explains the charismatic gifts in 1 Corinth: 12: word of wisdom, word of knowledge, healing, prophecy, speaking in tongues, interpreting tongues, discernment of spirits. Apart from speaking and interpreting tongues, where a message may be sent by the Holy Spirit via the bearer of these gifts, people can also pray in tongues:
“Likewise the spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words” – Romans 8: 26
The Charismatic renewal movement within the church has aided the education of charismatic gifts as explained in the new testament and seeks to make people more open to the gifts of the Holy Spirit and experiencing all that God has for us. Attending seminars and programs organised by the charismatic renewal will educate us on aspects of life in the spirit with an emphasis on these gifts.
Furthermore, the second Vatican Council explains the double nature of the church; it is charismatic and hierarchical. Therefore, one was not intended to exist without the other in the structure of Christ’s body as we are one body and one spirit as we use these gifts for ourselves:
“And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers”- Ephesians 4: 11
These gifts can be used anywhere and since they are for anybody, it is up to us to decide to use them fully because the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit are a full package and one cannot receive one without the other. We can adopt our Blessed Virgin’s stance of submission here as we say to the Holy Spirit, “Be it done to me according to your word” (Luke 1: 38).
Q: The gifts of the Holy Spirit are to be experienced in our daily life and are generously given to us to help us with our Christian walk. How do you experience this?
A: We experience this through small or spontaneous promptings where the Holy Spirit takes over your actions on the spur of the moment. At that particular time, we have to be open while carrying on our regular routine of things to do to live a holy life.
Q: Reflect on experiences that you have had where you were aware of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. What did you experience? Wisdom? Fortitude? Love? Peace? Hope?
A: People shared stories highlighting their experience prompting them towards new discoveries of fortitude, love, peace and hope. When we realise that everything is not in our power and we are not Lord of our lives we are free to experience the fullness of grace.
Q: It is essential that our stance before God is one of being open. What does it look like for you to approach the Lord with an open spirit? Are you open to receiving whatever God wants to give you?
A: We considered that it may take bad experiences and hitting a place of “rock-bottom” to release the openness in us; when there is nowhere else for us to go, we are very susceptible to fully embracing God and his infinite mercy. People shared experiences of feeling a deep sense of humility prior to asking for God’s will to reign in their lives.
Q: Discuss how you see the Holy Spirit being active in the world today.
A: The Holy Spirit is active in the world today by bestowing upon Christians, his fruits; when Christians actively use their gifts and bear fruits, it’s a sign of the Holy Spirit’s presence. These fruits include: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. He is also active through the transubstantiation – the changing in substance of unleavened bread and wine to the Body and Blood of Christ.
It is also important to note that the action of God through bestowing of the Holy Spirit is not limited to the sacraments of baptism and confirmation as people may encounter the Holy Spirit outside of receiving these sacraments.
Practical Christianity: Gifts for His Glory
Since the beginning of time, God ordered man to be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth (Genesis 1: 28). Part of this fruitfulness involves honing our gifts and talents to the betterment of humanity as God created us to know, love and serve Him in this world and to be happy with him forever in the next.
After learning about the gifts of the Holy spirit, it can be inferred that everyone has gifts although some may appear more dominant. How are you using your gifts in your own special way, within your circle of influence for God’s glory? Let’s continue to pray that the Holy spirit strengthens us to be bold enough and unapologetic about sharing our faith and living a life which is glorious in His eyes.
Do you wish to learn more about the Holy Spirit? It’s a good opportunity to join Young and Catholic’s Alpha series where there will be a special Holy Spirit day away amongst casual sessions filled with food, educational videos and candid personal experiences. This experience may be instrumental to direct you to a deeper cognizance of your gifts.
Will you join us at our next session?