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Chapter 39

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit
(Part II)


There is a great difference between reason and faith;
(also,) between an ordinary faith
and that which is enlightened
by the gifts of the Holy Spirit
or sublime contemplation.
—Father Louis Lallemant



When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.  And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like the rush of a powerful wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.  And there appeared to them divided tongues, as it were of fire, which came to rest on each of them, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:1-4)  The “divided tongues of fire” are the spiritual gifts, graces and supernatural blessings of the Holy Spirit, the Fire of Divine Love, which the Apostles received in full measure on the day of Pentecost.  We know seven of them from Sacred Scripture and tradition, but there were countless others which they received on that blessed day.

The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are briefly and beautifully described by St. Bonaventure in a prayer at the end of his mystical meditation on the life, death and resurrection of Christ, The Tree of Life (Lignum Vitae).

We pray that the Father most kind—through You, His only-begotten Son, who for us became man and were crucified and glorified—that He send us, out of the abundance of His wealth, the Spirit of sevenfold grace who rested upon You in all fullness—The Spirit of WISDOM, that we may taste in its life-giving flavor (infused contemplation) the fruit of the Tree of Life which You (Incarnate Wisdom) truly are; the gift also of UNDERSTANDING, by which the vision of our mind is illumined; the gift of COUNSEL, that we may follow in Your footsteps and proceed along the paths of righteousness; the gift of FORTITUDE, that we may meet the violence of our enemies’ assaults (with humble confidence in You); the gift of KNOWLEDGE, that we may be filled with the light of Your sacred teaching to distinguish good from evil; the gift of PIETY (Divine Love), that our hearts may (seek to please You in all things and) be filled with kindness; the gift of FEAR, that we may draw away from all evil and be kept in peace by the awesome might of Your majesty.  To You, and to the Father, and to the Holy Spirit, be all glory and honor, all thanksgiving, splendor and power, forever and ever!  Amen.”


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