Spirituality for Today – May 2013 – Volume 17, Issue 10

Touch Of Chrism

Rev. Raymond K. Petrucci

A photo of pink tulips

The thumb of the bishop touches your forehead and traces the sign of the cross with a mixture of blessed oils known as Chrism. He says, "Be sealed with the Holy Spirit." You have received the sacrament of Confirmation and stand taller as a witness of Christ. You might have felt a measure of anxiety that day because of the customary practice of the bishop questioning the confirmandi about the sacrament. Maybe you were racking your brain trying to recall all of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Regrettably, that may have been the last time that you thought of them. What a shame!

Whether someone thinks of these gifts as spiritual blessings or as virtues to incorporate into everyday living, these seven ingredients infused in the mind and soul are of immeasurable worth. Either as the theme of prayer or as the curriculum for a time of meditation, one would be hard pressed to find a more fitting way of strengthening one's character. What a society we would have if, generally and consistently, people lived by these seven blessings.

Gifts of the Holy Spirit
  1. Wisdom
    The appreciation of the presence of the highest realization of truth in faith. This gift opens a clear path to living in the world, but not being of the world.
  2. Understanding
    This gift affords us the capability of knowing how to apply the truths of wisdom. Completing any job, you not only need the right tools, but also the skill to use them.
  3. Counsel
    The influence of the Holy Spirit is the greatest counsel we can receive. By this gift we are capable of using the presence of the Holy Spirit to inspire our own good judgment in helping others.
  4. Fortitude
    Life is full of pressure; some of it originates from our self and some from outside forces. When pressure is motivated by evil intentions, the gift of fortitude provides strength to resist and to follow God's will.
  5. Knowledge
    This gift instills the ability to be faithful in following the teachings of God and to be aware of what pitfalls may be present and how to avoid them.
  6. Piety
    There are few gifts that others can discover in a person more readily than a strong desire to worship God and to witness to that desire in a caring and loving way. Piety is a gentle and beautiful quality revealing God in a person.
  7. Fear of the Lord
    The gift of a silent, quiet awe in the presence of God. Fear of the Lord awakens humility before the overwhelming love and power of God. Implied is the desire never to choose a way of life that disdains and rejects that awesomeness, but one that maintains a respect for God and an awareness of his justice and mercy.

There they are – clearly and simply stated (as profound truths usually are). Using these gifts as a treasure trove of precious gems for us to give enrichment to the lives of others is a task to discern and a task to fulfill. If our desire is to live a life pleasing to God, the study and practice of these gifts would go a long way to achieving that goal. Success in life often requires the discovery and development of innate and acquired talents. Success in one's spiritual quest requires the inspiration and application of these spiritual "talents" in daily living.

The gift of the Holy Ghost closes the last gap between the life of God and ours. …When we allow the love of God to move in us, we can no longer distinguish ours and his; he becomes us, he lives us. It is the first fruits of the Spirit, the beginning of our being made devine.

Austin Farrer

If you were to be given a check for one million dollars and you put it in a drawer, enclosed in a locked box and left it there for the rest of your life, what a waste it would be. You never cashed it and, perhaps, invested it wisely, shared some with loved ones, helped the needy, or supported worthwhile projects. It just sat there unused. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are priceless. What a waste it would be to do the same with these gifts.