Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit

Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit

The Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are gifts which Anglicans, Roman Catholics, and Lutherans believe the Holy Spirit gives to people to further their sanctification and help "complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them." [ Catechism of the Catholic Church - PART 3 SECTION 1 CHAPTER 1 ARTICLE 7 ] ]

This should not be confused with what the bible says about the ninefold fruit of the Spirit:

These gifts are identified in I Corinthians 12:8-11 "For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will."

Enumeration of the seven gifts

These gifts are enumerated (approximately) in [ Isaiah 11:2-3] .

Here are the names of the seven gifts, as given in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, along with a description of each gift, as defined [ [ SUMMA THEOLOGICA: Secunda Secundae Partis ] ] by St. Thomas Aquinas in the Summa Theologica:

* Wisdom - The gift of wisdom perfects a person's speculative reason in matters of judgment about the truth, Aquinas writes.

* Knowledge - The gift of knowledge perfects a person's practical reason in matters of judgment about the truth, Aquinas writes
* Counsel - " The gift of counsel perfects a person's practical reason in the apprehension of truth and allows the person to respond prudently, "moved through the research of reason," Aquinas writes.

* Fortitude -The gift of Courage allows people the "firmness of mind [that] is required both in doing good and in enduring evil, especially with regard to goods or evils that are difficult," Aquinas writes.

* Understanding - Also called "Common Sense." The gift of understanding perfects a person's speculative reason in the apprehension of truth. It is the gift "whereby self-evident principles are known," Aquinas writes [] .

* Piety-." Piety is the gift "whereby, at the Holy Spirit's instigation, we pay worship and duty to God as our Father," Aquinas writes.

* fear of the Lord-This gift is described by Aquinas as a fear of separating oneself from God. He describes the gift as a "filial fear," like a child's fear of offending his father, rather than a "servile fear," that is, a fear of punishment. Also known as knowing God is all powerful.

Aquinas says the first four of these gifts (wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and counsel) direct the intellect, while the other three gifts (fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord) direct the will toward God.

In some respects, the gifts are similar to the virtues but a key distinction is that the virtues operate under the impetus of human reason (prompted by grace), whereas the gifts operate under the impetus of the Holy Spirit; the former can be used when one wishes, but the latter operate only when the Holy Spirit wishes. The former are like the oars of a boat; the latter, the sails.Fact|date=February 2007

Another related but distinct notion are the spiritual gifts that St. Paul describes in, for example, 1 Cor 12-14, which are, by contrast, given for the upbuilding of others. These are also part of the Catholic tradition but more commonly known as "charisms" or "charismata".cite encyclopedia
title = Holy Ghost
encyclopedia = Catholic Encyclopedia
date = 1910
url =

In Summa Theologica II.2, Thomas Aquinas asserts the following correspondences between the seven Capital Virtues and the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: [ [ SUMMA THEOLOGICA: Secunda Secundae Partis ] ]

* The gift of wisdom corresponds to the virtue of charity.
* The gift of understanding corresponds to the virtue of faith.
* The gift of knowledge corresponds to the virtue of faith.
* The gift of counsel corresponds to the virtue of prudence.
* The gift of fortitude corresponds to the virtue of fortitude.
* The gift of piety corresponds to the virtue of justice.
* The gift of fear of the Lord corresponds to the virtue of hope.

Representations in art

The seven gifts were often represented as doves in Medieval art, and especially figure in depictions of the Tree of Jesse which shows the Genealogy of Jesus. In many such depictions the doves encircle a bust of Christ.

In The Annunciation, an oil painting by Early Netherlandish master Jan van Eyck, from around 1434-1436, the Annunciation by the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she will bear the son of God (Luke 1:26-38) depicts the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit descending to her on seven rays of light from the upper window to the left, with the dove symbolising the Holy Spirit following the same path. [cite web|title=Jan van Eyck, Netherlandish, c. 1390 - 1441, The Annunciation, c. 1434/1436|url= |publisher=National Gallery of Art|quote=The Holy Spirit descends to her on seven rays of light. This is the moment God's plan for salvation is set in motion. Through Christ's human incarnation the old era of the Law is transformed into a new era of Grace.]


* [ Gifts of the Holy Spirit] , by Fr. William Saunders, "Catholic Education Resource Center" (Accessed 3 April 2008)

External links

* [ Novena to the Holy Spirit for the Seven Gifts"]

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