Gifts of the Holy Spirit

(updated 5/4/2010)

Gifts of the Holy Spirit  - Isaiah 11:2-3

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit unite our lives more firmly to Jesus Christ, deepen our bond with the Church, and strengthen us to spread and defend the faith by word and action (1).

1. Wisdom - is an understanding in our inner being, which enables us to see God’s viewpoint or vision of the world. It helps us develop the ability to make judgments about everything in our lives on the basis of a deep, personal union with the Lord and his abiding love.

2. Understanding - is enlightenment of our minds and hearts with divine truth so that we can grasp the mysteries of the Lord. This gift enables us to see the Lord more deeply. It also illuminates the Holy Scriptures as we read them and gives us knowledge of God and his ways.

3. Counsel (Right Judgment) - the ability to receive and/or give good advice. It empowers us to make decisions with the help of the Lord or another person such as a spiritual director. Sometimes it takes place in the sacrament of Reconciliation. The Holy Spirit helps us discern good from evil, right from wrong. We grow in this gift by humbling ourselves to seek help from others when faced with a difficult situation.

4. Fortitude (Courage) - enables us to face with strength the trials and dangers we encounter in our Christian life. It empowers us to choose consistently the right way to live in spite of disappointments and difficulties. We can grow in courage by resisting the temptations of the world: money, power, seif-centeredness, and self-righteousness.

5. Knowledge - knowing the truths of Christian revelation. This gift of the Holy Spirit produces in us a deep trust and sureness about the Lord. We grow in the Gift of Knowledge through study of the scriptures and the teachings of the church.

6. Piety (Love) - called in Romans 8:15 the “spirit of adoption,” it produces in us a loving and worshipful consciousness of God as our Father. It also helps us to see God’s holiness reflected in other people and to love them. This gift inspires us to praise and worship God.

7. Fear of the Lord - an attitude of reverence and awe in the presence of God. It is not to be confused with the emotion of fear. However, fear of offending God is a manifestation of our reverence and respect for WHO GOD IS. This gift enables us to reverence ALL life as a reflection of God’s life. We grow in reverence by praying to God often, by being thankful for God’s gifts, and by respecting God’s name.
Psalm 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; prudent are all who live by it.
Proverbs 9:10 - The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the LORD, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. [NAB]


Catechism of the Catholic Church 1303, 1830-1831

The Biblical Gifts of the Holy Spirit, Revised Edition 2001 by Emma Lou Weis