Scripture scholar, Sister Barbara Reid, points out that like a faceted gem whose brilliance takes different contours when examined from distinct angles, today’s readings open up multiple dimensions of meaning for the feast of Pentecost. The gift of the Spirit to the disciples is one facet. Various kinds of spiritual gifts is another. There are seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. And the gift of inner peace that Jesus gives to the disciples (and us) enables them to act out their faith whether it is convenient or not.
Roland Faley writes of this day: “Without Pentecost, Christ’s work would have been incomplete. His death proved his love for us. Pentecost, and the gift of the Holy Spirit enables us to follow in his footsteps by putting on his mind and heart.”
The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. I would like to share these with you because they have very clear practical suggestions for living out our faith.
Wisdom – helps us to know what is truly pleasing to God and aids us in discerning what God wishes of us.
Understanding – leads us to truth and to compassion; it enables us to see life through the eyes and the life experience of the other.
Courage – guides us safely through moments of suffering and death. It helps us to face our crosses with patient endurance and empowers us to face and succeed in the challenges life presents to us to be peacemakers and artists of justice.
Knowledge – plunges us into the depth of God’s love and mercy. It encompasses the whole person: body, mind, and heart.
Right Judgment – is akin to wisdom. It helps us to make the correct moral choices in whatever situation we find ourselves: school, work, and play. Neither cheat nor lie. It enables us to follow our moral compass.
Piety – stirs us to pray in whatever ways most appealing to our personality. Prayer helps us to keep, and deepen, our friendship with Jesus, our connection to Father-Mother God, and to the Spirit. Piety also connects us to the Sacraments.
Reverential fear of the Lord – not a fear of punishment. It is an attitude of humility, creature to the Creator.
We might ask what some of the characteristics of the Spirit are. The late Jesuit theologian, Joe Conwell, in his wonderful book, “Impelling Spirit,” describes the Spirit as:
WILDLY BEYOND THE RATIONAL
BLOWING LIKE AN UNTAMED HURRICANE
WITH NO PREDICTABLE PATH
So, let us ask God, as the Psalmist does, to send the Spirit to us and to our world that both we and the world might be renewed -and give glory to the Creator.
Fr. Max Oliva, S.J.
May 23, 2021