The Gifts of the Holy Spirit are our topic today and how they help develop the Theological and Cardinal Virtues. First we had better define our terms in case people do not know what we are talking about. Name the Theological and Cardinal virtues and state their purpose.
The Theological Virtues are Faith, Hope, and Charity. They are called theological because they are gifts that come from God that are for the purpose of leading us back to God.
The Cardinal Virtues are Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, and Temperance. The word Cardinal means, hinge, like a hinge in a door. These four virtues are a hinge to all of the other virtues.
What are the Gifts of the Holy Spirit?
I have made an acronym to help remember these, it is KFCPUFWings. Kentucky Fried Chicken Puf Wings.
It is kind of silly but it helps remember them. These are Knowledge, Fear of the Lord, Counsel, Piety, Understanding, Fortitude, and Wisdom.
The Gifts of the Holy Spirit are connected to the Virtues – How so?
CCC 1831 … They complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them. They make the faithful docile in readily obeying divine inspirations.
Let’s go through each one and see how these are connected exactly.
The Holy Spirit gives us the gift of Understanding to nourish the virtue of Faith. Understanding helps us to have insight into the truths of our faith and be confirmed in our belief. When you have that Ah-ha moment when you hear a good program on this radio station and say – so THAT’s how it all fits together. That is the gift of Understanding strengthening your faith. We can exercise this gift through studying the faith.
DRA Psalm 118:73 Thy hands have made me and formed me: give me understanding, and I will learn thy commandments.
Piety is the gift of the Holy Spirit to strengthen our Hope. Piety turns our feelings, or affections to God and Religion so that we can have a holy joy. This gift develops respect, love, and obedience toward God and things that belong to God like Mary, the Angels and Saints, the Bible, the Church and the Pope. We can develop this gift by meditating on the parts of the Bible that reveal his goodness and mercy toward men. Another way to develop this gift is to take your ordinary actions and then do them to show God that you love Him.
RSV Romans 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, "Abba! Father!"
The next Gift of the Holy Spirit is Wisdom which perfects Charity. This gift of wisdom, like Charity perfects all of the others gifts. Wisdom shows us that all things come from God and that all things lead us to God. We can cultivate this gift by begging for it, pursuing it, and longing for it continually.
Wisdom 9:1 "O God of my fathers and Lord of mercy, who hast made all things by thy word, 2 and by thy wisdom hast formed man, to have dominion over the creatures thou hast made, 3 and rule the world in holiness and righteousness, and pronounce judgment in uprightness of soul, 4 give me the wisdom that sits by thy throne, and do not reject me from among thy servants.
What gifts help us develop the Cardinal Virtues.
Prudence is given to us to help us choose the good and avoid evil. The Holy Spirit gives us the gift of Counsel so that we can make these decisions promptly and correctly especially in hard situations. We can help this gift grown by humbling ourselves and recognizing our weaknesses. Then we must listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit who will send us little promptings and if we are docile to those then we will be accustomed to listening to him in larger matters as well.
RSV Psalm 25:4 Make me to know thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths.
The cardinal virtue of Justice is strengthened by the gift of Knowledge. This kind of knowledge is very specific because it communicates to us how things are related to God. This gift helps us to see clearly what will help us and our neighbor get holy. We can help this gift grow by looking on creation and created things and creatures as God sees them.
The gift of Fear of the Lord helps us be temperate. This fear is not a fear where we are afraid of hell or something like that. This is a fear where we are afraid to hurt God’s feelings because we love Him. We can practice this in three ways. 1st Know that God is great and that he loves you more that you could ever imagine. 2nd Have a sorrow for your sins that offend him. 3rd Take care to avoid persons, places, and things that make you fall into sin.
We can help this gift by making a frequent examination of conscience – Most books that I read recommend every night. Also meditate on the Greatness of God.
Psalm 118:120 120 Pierce thou my flesh with thy fear: for I am afraid of thy judgments.
Finally the gift of Fortitude helps us practice fortitude. The virtue of fortitude helps us to do hard things and stick with them. The Gift of Fortitude helps us do those same things joyfully and fearlessly. To help this gift grow we must keep our eyes fixed on Christ and know that the Holy Spirit has been poured out on us to helps us to do all things.
Understanding - - Faith
Piety - - - - - - - - - -Hope
Wisdom - - - - - - - Charity
Counsel - - - - - - - Prudence
Knowledge - - - - - Justice
Fortitude - - - - - - Fortitude
Fear of the Lord - Temperance