Bonaventure: The Lord’s Prayer and the Gifts of the Spirit Tuesday, Jul 19 2011 

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are touched upon in the Lord’s Prayer.

Those gifts are not had except from the Father of lights. For that reason Christ, wanting to teach us in what manner we can obtain them, teaches us to ask for them in the Lord’s Prayer.

In the first part the gift of fear is asked for, when He says: Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name.

Secondly piety is asked for, when He says: May Thy Kingdom come.

Third the gift of knowledge is asked for, when He says: Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

Fourth the gift of fortitude is asked for, when He says: Give us this day our daily bread. Bread strengthens the heart of a man.

Fifth the gift of counsel is asked for, when He says: And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.

Sixth the gift of understanding is asked for, when He says: And put us not to the test.

Seventh the gift of wisdom is asked for, when He says: But free us from evil. Amen.

In the first our sanctification is asked for, and this through the gift of fear, when He says, Our Father, who art in Heaven; hallowed be Thy Name.

Isaiah says: Hallow the Lord of Hosts, He is both thy trembling and they fear.

In the second the consummation of human salvation is asked for, which is not had except through the gift of piety; let there be judgment without mercy for him who has not worked mercy.

That gift is touched upon, when He says: Thy Kingdom come.

In the third part the fulfillment of the divine law is asked for through the gift of knowledge, because it teaches how to ask well and avoid evils.

This gift is touched upon, when He says: Thy will be done etc..

In the fourth part the reheating of eternal virtue is asked for, and through this the gift of virtue or of fortitude, when He says: Give us this day our daily bread. For Bread strengthens the heart of a man.

In the fifth the remission of sins is asked for through the gift of counsel, when He says: And forgive us our debts, as etc..

In the sixth petition the warding off of hostile deceit is asked for through the gift of understanding, when He says: And put us not to the test.

In the seventh petition the subjugation of carnal concupiscence is asked for through the gift of wisdom, when He says: But free us from evil. Amen.

It is impossible, that the soul tame its flesh, unless it be filled full with the gift of wisdom.

Bonaventure of Bagnorea (1221-1274): Conferences on the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, Cap. 2,3-4.

Athanasius of Alexandria: When We Share in the Spirit We Possess the Love of the Father, the Grace of the Son, and the Fellowship of the Spirit Himself Friday, Jun 17 2011 

We acknowledge the Trinity, holy and perfect, to consist of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

In this Trinity there is no intrusion of any alien element or of anything from outside, nor is the Trinity a blend of creative and created being.

It is a wholly creative and energizing reality, self-consistent and undivided in its active power, for the Father makes all things through the Word and in the Holy Spirit.

And in this way the unity of the Holy Trinity is preserved.

Accordingly in the Church one God is preached, one God who is above all things and through all things and in all things.

God is above all things as Father, for he is principle and source; he is through all things through the Word; and he is in all things in the Holy Spirit

Writing to the Corinthians about spiritual matters, Paul traces all reality back to one God, the Father, saying:

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in everyone.

Even the gifts that the Spirit dispenses to individuals are given by the Father through the Word.

For all that belongs to the Father belongs also to the Son, and so the graces given by the Son in the Spirit are true gifts of the Father.

Similarly, when the Spirit dwells in us, the Word who bestows the Spirit is in us too, and the Father is present in the Word.

This is the meaning of the text: My Father and I will come to him and make our home with him.

For where the light is, there also is the radiance; and where the radiance is, there too are its power and its resplendent grace.

This is also Paul’s teaching in his Second Letter to the Corinthians: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

For grace and the gift of the Trinity are given by the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit.

Just as grace is given from the Father through the Son, so there could be no communication of the gift to us except in the Holy Spirit.

But when we share in the Spirit we possess the love of the Father, the grace of the Son, and the fellowship of the Spirit himself.

Athanasius of Alexandria (c.293-373): Letters 51:28-30 to Serapion, 6; from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Trinity Sunday, Year I.

Augustine of Hippo: The Holy Spirit is the Gift of God to Those Who Love God Through Him Wednesday, Jun 15 2011 

St Augustine of AfricaThe Apostle Paul says: To each of us is given grace according to the measure of the donation of Christ.

To show that the donation of Christ is the Holy Spirit he went on to add, That is why it says, he ascended on high, he took captivity captive, he gave gifts to men.

But it is public knowledge that when the Lord Jesus had ascended to heaven after his resurrec­tion from the dead he gave the Holy Spirit.

[…] And do not let it worry you that he says ‘gifts’, not ‘gift’. He was quoting the text from a psalm: you have ascended on high, you have taken captivity captive, you have received gifts among men.

Elsewhere he mentions many gifts, and then says, All these does one and the same Spirit achieve, distributing them severally to each as he wills.

The same word is found in the Letter to the Hebrews, where it is written, God bearing witness with signs and portents and various mighty deeds and distribu­tion of the Holy Spirit. […] The Apostle Peter, speaking about Christ to the Jews who were moved in their hearts and saying, What shall we do, brothers? said to them:

Repent, and let each one of you be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

And there is a lot more scriptural evidence which all conspires to prove that the Holy Spirit is the gift of God, in that he is given to those who love God through him.

[…] Insofar as people now see that the Holy Spirit is called the gift of God, they must realize of course that when they hear the phrase, the gift of the Holy Spirit, they are to recognize the same figure of speech as in the phrase, in the stripping of the body of flesh.

Just as the body of flesh is nothing but flesh, so the gift of the Holy Spirit is nothing but the Holy Spirit.

So he is the gift of God insofar as he is given to those to whom he is given; but in himself he is God even if he is not given to anyone, because he was God, co-eternal with the Father and the Son, even before he was given to anyone.

Nor is he less than the Father and the Son because they give and he is given: he is given as God’s gift in such a way that as God he also gives himself.

Augustine of Hippo (354-430:  On the Trinity 15,  from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Ordinary Time, Year 1.

Hilary of Poitiers: We Are Inundated by the Gifts of the Holy Spirit Monday, Jun 13 2011 

The river of God is brimming with water. You have provided their food, for this is your way of preparing them.

There can be no doubt about the river referred to, for the prophet says: There is a river whose streams gladden the city of God.

And in the gospel, the Lord himself says: Streams of living water welling up to eternal life will flow from the heart of anyone who drinks the water I shall give him.

He was speaking of the Holy Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive.

The river of God is brimming with water; that is to say, we are inundated by the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

And from that fountain of life the river of God pours into us in full flood.

We also have food prepared for us. And who is this food?

It is he in whom we are prepared for life with God, for by receiving his holy body we receive a place in the communion of his holy body.

This is what is meant by the words of the psalm:

You have provided their food, for this is your way of preparing them.

For as well as refreshing us now, that food also prepares us for the life to come.

We who have been reborn through the sacrament of baptism experience intense joy when we feel within us the first stirrings of the Holy Spirit.

We begin to have an insight into the mysteries of faith, we are able to prophesy and to speak with wisdom.

We become steadfast in hope and receive the gift of healing.

Demons are made subject to our authority.

These gifts enter us like a gentle rain, and once having done so, little by little, they bring forth fruit in abundance.

Hilary of Poitiers (c.300-368): @ Crossroads Initiative.       

Teresa Benedicta of the Cross: Who Are You, Sweet Light, that Fills Me and Illumines the Darkness of My Heart? Sunday, Jun 12 2011 

Who are you, sweet light, that fills me
And illumines the darkness of my heart?
You lead me like a mother’s hand,
And should you let go of me,

I would not know how to take another step.
You are the space
That embraces my being and buries it in yourself.
Away from you it sinks into the abyss
Of nothingness, from which you raised it to the light.
You, nearer to me than I to myself
And more interior than my most interior
And still impalpable and intangible
And beyond any name:
Holy Spirit eternal love!

Are you not the sweet manna
That from the Son’s heart
Overflows into my heart,
The food of angels and the blessed?
He who raised himself from death to life,
He has also awakened me to new life
From the sleep of death.

And he gives me new life from day to day,
And at some time his fullness is to stream through me,
Life of your life indeed, you yourself:
Holy Spirit eternal life!

Are you the ray
That flashes down from the eternal Judge’s throne
And breaks into the night of the soul
That had never known itself?
Mercifully relentlessly
It penetrates hidden folds.
Alarmed at seeing itself,
The self makes space for holy fear,
The beginning of that wisdom
That comes from on high
And anchors us firmly in the heights,
Your action,
That creates us anew:
Holy Spirit ray that penetrates everything!

Are you the spirit’s fullness and the power
By which the Lamb releases the seal
Of God’s eternal decree?
Driven by you
The messengers of judgement ride through the world
And separate with a sharp sword
The kingdom of light from the kingdom of night.
Then heaven becomes new and new the earth,
And all finds its proper place
Through your breath:
Holy Spirit victorious power!

Are you the master who builds the eternal cathedral,
Which towers from the earth through the heavens?
Animated by you, the columns are raised high
And stand immovably firm.
Marked with the eternal name of God,
They stretch up to the light,
Bearing the dome,
Which crowns the holy cathedral,
Your work that encircles the world:
Holy Spirit God’s moulding hand!

Are you the one who created the unclouded mirror
Next to the Almighty’s throne,
Like a crystal sea,
In which Divinity lovingly looks at itself?
You bend over the fairest work of your creation,
And radiantly your own gaze
Is illumined in return.
And of all creatures the pure beauty
Is joined in one in the dear form
Of the Virgin, your immaculate bride:
Holy Spirit Creator of all!

Are you the sweet song of love
And of holy awe
That eternally resounds around the triune throne,
That weds in itself the clear chimes of each and every being?
The harmony,
That joins together the members to the Head,
In which each one
Finds the mysterious meaning of his being blessed
And joyously surges forth,
Freely dissolved in your surging:
Holy Spirit eternal jubilation!

St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (1891-1942): Pentecost Novena; Copyright ICS Publications. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, if this copyright notice is included. Maintained by the Austrian Province of the Teresian Carmel

 

Cyril of Jerusalem: The Spirit Comes Gently and Makes Himself Known by His Fragrance Wednesday, Jun 8 2011 

The water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of living water, welling up into eternal life.

This is a new kind of water, a living, leaping water, welling up for those who are worthy.

But why did Christ call the grace of the Spirit water?

Because all things are dependent on water; plants and animals have their origin in water.

Water comes down from heaven as rain, and although it is always the same in itself, it produces many different effects, one in the palm tree, another in the vine, and so on throughout the whole of creation.

It does not come down, now as one thing, now as another, but, while remaining essentially the same, it adapts itself to the needs of every creature that receives it.

In the same way the Holy Spirit, whose nature is always the same, simple and indivisible, apportions grace to each man as he wills.

Like a dry tree which puts forth shoots when watered, the soul bears the fruit of holiness when repentance has made it worthy of receiving the Holy Spirit.

Although the Spirit never changes, the effects of his action, by the will of God and in the name of Christ, are both many and marvellous.

The Spirit makes one man a teacher of divine truth, inspires another to prophesy, gives another the power of casting out devils, enables another to interpret holy Scripture.

The Spirit strengthens one man’s self-control, shows another how to help the poor, teaches another to fast and lead a life of asceticism, makes another oblivious to the needs of the body, trains another for martyrdom.

His action is different in different people, but the Spirit himself is always the same.

In each person, Scripture says, the Spirit reveals his presence in a particular way for the common good.

The Spirit comes gently and makes himself known by his fragrance.

He is not felt as a burden, for he is light, very light.

Rays of light and knowledge stream before him as he approaches.

The Spirit comes with the tenderness of a true friend and protector to save, to heal, to teach, to counsel, to strengthen, to console.

The Spirit comes to enlighten the mind first of the one who receives him, and then, through him, the minds of others as well.

As light strikes the eyes of a man who comes out of darkness into the sunshine and enables him to see clearly things he could not discern before, so light floods the soul of the man counted worthy of receiving the Holy Spirit and enables him to see things beyond the range of human vision, thing hitherto undreamed of.

Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 313-186): Catechetical Lectures 16, 11-12, from the Office of Readings for Monday of the Seventh Week in Eastertide @ Crossroads Initiative.

John Paul II: Thanks to the Spirit’s Gifts, Every Kind of Human Sin Can be Reached by God’s Saving Power Monday, Jun 6 2011 

At the climax of Jesus’ messianic mission, the Holy Spirit becomes present in the Paschal Mystery in all his divine subjectivity: as the one who is now to continue the salvific work rooted in the sacrifice of the Cross.

[…] The words of the Risen Christ on the “first day of the week” give particular emphasis to the presence of the Paraclete-Counselor as the one who “convinces the world concerning sin, righteousness and judgment.”

For it is only in this relationship that it is possible to explain the words which Jesus directly relates to the “gift” of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles.

He says: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Jesus confers on the Apostles the power to forgive sins, so that they may pass it on to their successors in the Church, but this power granted to men presupposes and includes the saving action of the Holy Spirit.

By becoming “the light of hearts,” that is to say the light of consciences, the Holy Spirit “convinces concerning sin,” which is to say, he makes man realize his own evil and at the same time directs him toward what is good.

Thanks to the multiplicity of the Spirit’s gifts, by reason of which he is invoked as the “sevenfold one,” every kind of human sin can be reached by God’s saving power.

In reality – as St. Bonaventure says – by virtue of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit all evils are destroyed and all good things are produced.

Thus the conversion of the human heart, which is an indispensable condition for the forgiveness of sins, is brought about by the influence of the Counselor.

Without a true conversion, which implies inner contrition, and without a sincere and firm purpose of amendment, sins remain “unforgiven,” in the words of Jesus, and with him in the Tradition of the Old and New Covenants.

For the first words uttered by Jesus at the beginning of his ministry, according to the Gospel of Mark, are these: “Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”

A confirmation of this exhortation is the “convincing concerning sin” that the Holy Spirit undertakes in a new way by virtue of the Redemption accomplished by the Blood of the Son of Man.

Hence the Letter to the Hebrews says that this “blood purifies the conscience.”

It therefore, so to speak, opens to the Holy Spirit the door into man’s inmost being, namely into the sanctuary of human consciences.

John Paul II (1920-2005): Dominum et Vivificantem, 2,5,42.

Hilary of Poitiers: “Streams of Living Water Welling up to Eternal Life will Flow from the Heart” Saturday, Sep 25 2010 

The river of God is brimming with water.  You have provided their food, for this is your way of preparing them.

There can be no doubt about the river referred to, for the prophet says: There is a river whose streams gladden the city of God.

And, in the gospel, the Lord himself says: Streams of living water welling up to eternal life will flow from the heart of anyone who drinks the water I shall give him.

[…] He was speaking of the Holy Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive.

The river of God is brimming with water; that is to say, we are inundated by the gifts of the Holy Spirit and from that fountain of life the river of God pours into us in full flood.

We also have food prepared for us.  And who is this food?  It is he in whom we are prepared for life with God, for by receiving his holy body we receive a place in the communion of his holy body.

This is what is meant by the words of the psalm: You have provided their food, for this is your way of preparing them.

For as well as refreshing us now, that food also prepares us for the life to come.

We who have been reborn through the sacrament of baptism experience intense joy when we feel within us the first stirrings of the Holy Spirit.

We begin to have an insight into the mysteries of faith, we are able to prophesy and to speak with wisdom.

We become steadfast in hope and receive the gift of healing.  Demons are made subject to our authority.

These gifts enter us like a gentle rain, and once having done so, little by little, they bring forth fruit in abundance.

Hilary of Poitiers (c.300-368): Commentary on the Psalms, Ps 64:14-15, from the Office of Readings for Saturday of the 25th week of Ordinary Time @ Crossroads Initiative.

R. Garrigou-Lagrange: Gifts of the Holy Spirit (7) – Wisdom Sunday, Aug 15 2010 

The gift of wisdom is finally, according to the enumeration of Isaias, the highest of all, as charity, to which it corresponds, is the loftiest of the virtues. Wisdom appears eminently in St. John, St. Paul, St. Augustine, St. Thomas.

It leads them to judge all things by relation to God, the first Cause and last End, and to judge them thus, not as acquired theology does, but by that connaturalness or sympathy with divine things which comes from charity.

By His inspiration, the Holy Ghost makes use of this connaturalness to show us the beauty, the sanctity, and the radiating plenitude of the mysteries of salvation, which correspond so well to our deepest and highest aspirations.(22)

[…] The gift of wisdom, the principle of a living contemplation that directs action, enables the soul to taste the goodness of God, to see it manifested in all events, even in the most painful, since God permits evil only for a higher good, which we shall see later and which it is sometimes given us to glimpse on earth.

The gift of wisdom thus makes us judge everything in relation to God; it shows the subordination of causes and ends or, as they say today, the scale of values.

It reminds us that all that glitters is not gold and that, on the contrary, marvels of grace are to be found under the humblest exteriors, as in the person of St. Benedict Joseph Labre or Blessed Anna Maria Taigi.

This gift enables the saints to embrace the plan of Providence with a gaze entirely penetrated with love; darkness does not disconcert them for they discover in it the hidden God.

As the bee knows how to find honey in flowers, the gift of wisdom draws lessons of divine goodness from everything.

Wisdom reminds us, as Cardinal Newman says, that: “A thousand difficulties do not make a doubt” so long as they do not impair the very basis of certitude.

Thus many difficulties which subsist in the interpretation of several books of the Old Testament or of the Apocalypse do not make a doubt as to the divine origin of the religion of Israel or of Christianity.

The gift of wisdom thus gives the supernaturalized soul great peace, that is the tranquillity of the order of things considered from God’s point of view.

Thereby this gift, says St. Augustine, corresponds to the beatitude of the peacemakers, that is to say, of those who remain in peace when many are troubled and who are capable of bringing peace to the discouraged. This is one of the signs of the unitive life.

R. Garrigou-Lagrange OP (1877-1964): The Three Ages of the Interior Life.

R. Garrigou-Lagrange: Gifts of the Holy Spirit (6) – Understanding Saturday, Aug 14 2010 

As the gift of counsel is given to us to direct our conduct by supplying for the imperfection of prudence, which would often remain hesitant, we need a superior gift to supply for the imperfection of faith.

This virtue attains the mysteries of the inner life of God only by the intermediary of abstract and multiple formulas which we should like to be able to sum up in a single one that would express more exactly what the living God is for us.

Here the gift of understanding comes to our assistance by a certain interior light that makes us penetrate the mysteries of salvation and anticipate all their grandeur.

Without this light, it happens often that we hear sermons, read spiritual books, and yet remain in ignorance of the deep meaning of these mysteries of life.

They remain like sacred formulas preserved in the memory, but their truth does not touch our soul; it is pale and lusterless, like a star lost in the depths of the heavens.

And because we are not sufficiently nourished with these divine truths, we are more or less seduced by the maxims of the world.

On the contrary, a simple soul prostrate before God, will understand the mysteries of the Incarnation, the redemption, the Eucharist, not to explain them, to discuss them, but to live by them.

It is the Holy Ghost who gives this penetrating and experimental knowledge of the truths of faith which enables the soul to glimpse the sublime beauty of Christ’s sermons.

It is He also who gives souls the profound understanding of their vocation and preserves them in this regard from every failure in judgment.

The gift of understanding cannot exist in a high degree without great purity of heart, of intention; it corresponds, according to St. Augustine, to the beatitude: “Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God”.

Even here on earth they begin to glimpse Him in the words of Scripture, which at times are illumined for them as if underscored by a line of light.

St. Catherine of Siena and St. John of the Cross excel in this understanding of the mysteries of salvation that they may make us comprehend the plenitude of life contained in them.

R. Garrigou-Lagrange OP (1877-1964): The Three Ages of the Interior Life.

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