You’ve heard of a gift that keeps on giving? The Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit spells out with wonderful clarity some of the ways these gifts can bring us closer to our Lord though His Spirit. (Note that the term Holy Ghost also refers to the Holy Spirit.)
In the Sacrament of Confirmation, as described here, the priest seals each of us with the Gift of the Holy Spirit, as shown in the picture at right. Yet we receive not just one gift in this rite but seven according to traditional church teaching!
First referenced in the book of Isaiah (11:2), these are commonly known as wisdom, knowledge, understanding, counsel, piety, fortitude, and the fear of the Lord (this last one is meant to foster in us a healthy respect for His justice.)
The Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit touches on all of them:
O Lord Jesus Christ, Who, before ascending into heaven, didst promise to send the Holy Ghost to finish Thy work in the souls of Thy Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me, that He may perfect in my soul the work of Thy grace and Thy love.
Grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal,
the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of Thy divine truth,
the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining Heaven,
the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with Thee, and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation,
the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints,
the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable,
the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God, and may dread in any way to displease Him.
Mark me, dear Lord, with the sign of Thy true disciples and animate me in all things with Thy Spirit. Amen.
We may partake of all these Gifts as we follow the Holy Spirit in prayer, the sacraments, studying scripture, and of course, in imitating Christ in our actions by showing others His goodness and His love. In so doing, may we all, as St. Paul put it, “be filled with the Holy Spirit” (Eph 5:16) just as we’ve been sealed with His Gift!