Gifts of the Holy Spirit

The following excerpt was taken from Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father by Fr. Donald H. Calloway, MIC.

The gift of knowledge enables the soul to evaluate created things at their worth—in their relation to God. Knowledge unmasks the pretense of creatures, reveals their emptiness, and points out their only true purpose as instruments in the service of God. It shows us the loving care of God even in adversity, and directs us to glorify him in every circumstance of life. Guided by it’s light, we put first things first, and prize the friendship of God beyond all else.


The gift of understanding helps us to grasp the meaning of the truths of our holy religion. By faith we know them, but by understanding we learn to appreciate and relish them. It enables us to penetrate the inner meaning of revealed truths and, through them, to be quickened to newness of life. Our faith ceases to be sterile and active, but inspires a mode of life that beers eloquent testimony to the faith that is in us.


The gift of counsel endows the soul with supernatural prudence, enabling it to judge promptly and rightly what must be done, especially in difficult circumstances. Counsel applies the principles furnished by knowledge and understanding to the innumerable concrete cases that confront us in the course of our daily duties as parents, teachers, public servants, and Christian citizens. Council is supernatural common sense, a priceless treasure in the quest of salvation.


The gift of fortitude strengthens the soul against natural fear and supports us in the performance of duty. Fortitude imparts to the will an impulse and energy which move it to undertake without hesitancy the most arduous tasks, to face dangers, to trample underfoot human respect, and to endure without complaint slow martyrdom of even lifelong tribulation.


The gift of piety begins in our hearts a filial affection for God as our most loving father. It inspires us to love and respect for his sake persons and things consecrated to him, as well as those who are vested with his authority, his mother, St. Joseph, the Saints, the Church and it’s visible head, our parents and superiors, our country and its rulers. He who is filled with the gift of piety finds the practice of his religion, not a burdensome duty, but a delightful service.


The gift of fear fills us with a sovereign respect for God, and makes us dread nothing so much as to offend him by sin. It is a fear that arises, not from the thought of hell, but from sentiments of reverence and filial submission to our heavenly Father. It is the fear that is the beginning of wisdom, detaching us from worldly pleasures that could in anyway separate us from God.


The gift of wisdom embodies all the other gifts, as charity embraces all the other virtues. Wisdom is the most perfect of the gifts. Of wisdom it is written “all good things came to me with her, and innumerable riches through her hands.” It is the gift of wisdom that strengthens our faith, fortifies hope, perfects charity, and promotes the practice of virtue in the highest degree. Wisdom enlightens the mind to discern and relish things divine, in the appreciation of which earthly joys lose their savor, while the Cross of Christ yields a divine sweetness.

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