Spiritual Gifts – Why?

Background

As one goes through life, condition sometimes places one in the crosshair of the multi-dimensional model of the physical and spiritual world.

One takes a measure of what is going around oneself.  What tools is one using, which ones are one’s contemporaries using, which ones is Satan using, and which ones are his minions employing.

What tools is God grooming in you?

How does that groomanship relate to your current encumbrances.

When one lives in communities, as Christians should, how does one’s toolset help clear the bushes for his cohabitat.

 

Scripture

Let us use scripture to identify some of these spiritual gifts.

Romans

Humble Service in the Body of Christ

( Romans 12:6-8 ) [ Link ]

Scripture

You will be able to test and approve what God’s will is

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Listing

  1. Prophecy
  2. Serving
  3. Teaching
  4. Encourage
  5. Giving
  6. Lead
  7. Show Mercy

 

1st Corinthians

Humble Service in the Body of Christ

( 1st Corinthians 12:7-11 ) [ Link ]

Scripture

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.  There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.  To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit,  to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.  All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

Listing

  1. Wisdom
  2. Knowledge
  3. Faith
  4. Healing
  5. Miraculous Power
  6. Prophecy
  7. Distinguishing Between Spirits
  8. Speaking in Different Kind of Tongues
  9. Interpretation of Tongues

 

Commentaries

St. Thomas Aquinas

Link

The nature of the seven gifts has been debated by theologians since the mid-second century, but the standard interpretation has been the one that St. Thomas Aquinas worked out in the thirteenth century in his Summa Theologiae:

  1. Wisdom is both the knowledge of and judgment about “divine things” and the ability to judge and direct human affairs according to divine truth
  2. Understanding is penetrating insight into the very heart of things, especially those higher truths that are necessary for our eternal salvation—in effect, the ability to “see” God
  3. Counsel allows a man to be directed by God in matters necessary for his salvation
  4. Fortitude denotes a firmness of mind in doing good and in avoiding evil, particularly when it is difficult or dangerous to do so, and the confidence to overcome all obstacles, even deadly ones, by virtue of the assurance of everlasting life
  5. Knowledge is the ability to judge correctly about matters of faith and right action, so as to never wander from the straight path of justice.
  6. Piety is, principally, revering God with filial affection, paying worship and duty to God, paying due duty to all men on account of their relationship to God, and honoring the saints and not contradicting Scripture. The Latin word pietas denotes the reverence that we give to our father and to our country; since God is the Father of all, the worship of God is also called piety.
  7. Fear of God is, in this context, “filial” or chaste fear whereby we revere God and avoid separating ourselves from him—as opposed to “servile” fear, whereby we fear punishment.

 

Rooted

Isaiah

( Isaiah 11:1-3 ) [ Link ]

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.

The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord
and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.

He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;

 

( Isaiah 11:4-5 ) [ Link ]

but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
    with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
    with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
Righteousness will be his belt
    and faithfulness the sash around his waist.

 

Why?

Why this gifts? Is a good question.

FRANK X. BLISARD

Spiritual Warfare

Establishing this kingdom entails thought, planning, work, struggle, courage, endurance, perseverance, humility—that is, getting one’s hands dirty. This earthbound perspective is a profitable one from which to view the role the seven gifts play in the life of mature (or maturing) Christians.

There is a strain within Catholicism, as within Christianity in general, that focuses on the afterlife to the exclusion—and detriment—of this world, as if detachment from temporal things were alone a guarantee of eternal life. One of the correctives to this kind of thinking issued by Vatican II was the recovery of the biblical emphasis on the kingdom of God as a concrete reality that not only transcends the created order but also transforms it (Dei Verbum 17; Lumen Gentium 5; Gaudium et Spes 39).

The seven gifts are indispensable resources in the struggle to establish the kingdom and are, in a sense, a byproduct of actively engaging in spiritual warfare. If a person does not bother to equip himself properly for battle, he should not be surprised to find himself defenseless when the battle is brought to his doorstep. If my classmates and I never “acquired” the “mysterious powers” we anticipated, perhaps it is because we never took up arms in the struggle to advance the kingdom of God!

The seven gifts are an endowment to which every baptized Christian can lay claim from his earliest childhood. They are our patrimony. These gifts, given in the sacraments for us to develop through experience, are indispensable to the successful conduct of the Christian way of life. They do not appear spontaneously and out of nowhere but emerge gradually as the fruit of virtuous living. Nor are they withdrawn by the Spirit once they are no longer needed, for they are perpetually needed as long as we are fighting the good fight.

The seven gifts are designed to be used in the world for the purpose of transforming that world for Christ. Isaiah 11 vividly portrays what these gifts are to be used for: to do what one is called to do in one’s own time and place to advance the kingdom of God.

The specific, personal details of that call do not come into focus until one has realized his very limited, ungodlike place in the scheme of things (fear of the Lord), accepted one’s role as a member of God’s family (piety), and acquired the habit of following the Father’s specific directions for living a godly life (knowledge). This familiarity with God breeds the strength and courage needed to confront the evil that one inevitably encounters in one’s life (fortitude) and the cunning to nimbly shift one’s strategies to match—even anticipate—the many machinations of the Enemy (counsel). The more one engages in such “spiritual warfare,” the more one perceives how such skirmishes fit into the big picture that is God’s master plan for establishing his reign in this fallen world (understanding) and the more confident, skillful, and successful one becomes in the conduct of his particular vocation (wisdom).”

 

Referenced Work

  1. FRANK X. BLISARD
    • The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit
      • Catholic Answers
        Link

 

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