In our baptism the Lord blesses us with sanctifying grace. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit come to us with all their gifts which include the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. However, it is in Confirmation that these seven Gifts come to a full flowering. These seven blessed Gifts are: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord. For most of us, baptized as babies, these are gracious gifts from God as birthday presents.

St. Thomas Aquinas tells us in his Summa Theologica that these great gifts need lots of practice for their value. A little like artists and sport specialists, and especially the saints like the Little Flower doing small things for God, and St. Francis of Assisi giving up even his own clothes for poverty.

Whenever you see famous artists or writers of people in sports, you are often amazed at how much time they practice to be perfect in what they love doing.

That is all in the human natural order, and you and I have to put in time and effort in the same way in the supernatural order of developing these seven wonderful Gifts from God - wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord.

Take that first birthday gift of wisdom that God gave you. How do you and how can you practice it even more than you do?

You do it by practice! You practice knowing God more through reading about Him and talking about Him and praying to Him. You may have your own favorite books about God, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church or the Pope’s beautiful "Gospel of Life" which tells you about the wisdom of God in the Book of Genesis, as He created men and women and this beautiful world. God’s vision is there for you to study and admire.

You can read the lives of the saints and see God’s wisdom inspiring saints like St. Alphonsus Liguori to work for the poor, the lonely, the prostitutes of Naples; and the great Teresa of Spain who reformed her Carmelite Order to new life and holiness.

And don’t forget to read about the great St. Catherine of Siena helping Pope Gregory XI to leave Avignon and return to Rome, the wisdom of God at work for the good of the Church.

You can see the wisdom of God at work in your own prayers and decisions, your decision to always do what is right and good in the important moments of your life, your decision to marry this girl or this boy, which is so important; your decision to take up this particular work or carry this particular suffering which you find so hard; and praying with Christ in the Garden of Olives: "Father, not my will but thine be done."

Your little snippets of daily prayer keep you close to the wisdom of God and to be wise like Him as you so often say in each decision you make: "Father, thy will be done," or the short Irish wish: "God willing," or even the longer traditional prayer to the Holy Spirit - "Veni Sancte Spiritus" - so often said as class or work begins.

So often we don’t know what to do, whereas God’s wisdom always knows what to do. So it is good always to ask His help: "Come Holy Spirit and fill the hearts of your faithful."

Father Meehan writes for The Messenger. 1997 The Canadian Messenger of the Sacred Heart. Used by permission.

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