Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Using Our Gifts

Mid-January, 2017 – the Christmas decorations are down, the carols have been sung, and presents received may have already been forgotten or put aside.  While these gifts are always fun to give and receive, their use and the joy they bring are generally temporary.

Other gifts, unearned and unmerited, are permanent--the spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Unfortunately, like the presents received at Christmas, they too are often forgotten and unused.  Truth be told, I knew I received these gifts at Baptism and Confirmation but never really thought about them.  Last year, after being introduced to the Chaplet of the Holy Spirit which consists of invocations for each of the seven gifts, I began to think more about them.  What value could they add to my daily life and how could I use them?

How could I fit another devotion into my prayer life?  A Daughter of St. Paul shared with me that she prayed the Chaplet every morning with her coffee, asking the Holy Spirit for an increase in His gifts during the day.  I thought, I can do that!  If not in entirety, I could pray it during the day as time permits and especially when I needed help from the Holy Spirit.

This devotion is now part of my daily prayer.  Praying and reflecting on the gifts of the Holy Spirit has enhanced me personally and spiritually; it has become my “go to” prayer, especially when an urgent intention is requested. 

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful with (name of gift) and enkindle in them the fire of your Love.  Send forth Your Spirit, O Lord, and they shall be created and You will renew the face of the earth.  (3X for each gift)

These gifts can help us overcome our fears to bring others to Christ; they can help us to “put on Christ.”  Some personal thoughts:

WISDOM:  Holy Spirit, fill me with words of wisdom.  When I may not know what to say; come to my aid.  Even one word of encouragement to a hurting person can make a difference.  When faced with a problem, let me slow down and turn to God for wisdom.  Part of the Serenity Prayer comes to mind:  God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

KNOWLEDGE:  Lord, give me the knowledge to better understand my faith and share it with others to bring them closer to you.

COUNSEL:  Lord, help me to discern good from evil; enlighten me to be able to counsel others who may ask for advice.  Help me to make the right decision in difficult situations.

FEAR OF THE LORD: During his general audience on June 11, 2014, Pope Francis spoke on the gift of the Fear of the Lord.  He said that it does not mean being afraid of God, but a reminder to do the right thing.  Lord, grant me the grace to always respect you and to avoid sin.

UNDERSTANDING:  Lord, give me an understanding heart in all situations; let me not judge.  Let me be a better listener and give others the gift of my time – a free gift that cannot be returned.  Recently I read an interesting post on Facebook:  “I never cared about the material things someone gave me.  I care about their time, attention, honesty and loyalty.  Those gifts mean more than anything money can buy.”

PIETY:  Lord, again let me always respect you as my loving Father.  Let me not approach prayer as a burden but as a joyful conversation between daughter and Father.  Let me not be overly pious but a good example to my family, friends and others I encounter in my daily life. 

FORTITUDE:  Lord, give me courage, a strong sense of morality and integrity.

It is not too late to make a New Year’s resolution.  I seldom make one since I don’t keep it.  However, I am committed to praying daily to the Holy Spirit, especially for a gift I may need that day. 

Thank you Holy Spirit!


Maryann Toth has been a Pauline Cooperator for eight years. Semi-retired as a credit/AR manager in NJ, she is a wife, a mother of two daughters, and a grandmother of four. She serves as a Eucharistic minister and belongs to a Divine Mercy Cenacle group. Maryann assists at Pauline book fairs and J-Club events, schedules meetings and prayer times for local Cooperators and friends of the Pauline Family, and accompanied a candidate in the Cooperator formation program. She participated in a Pauline Cooperator pilgrimage to Italy in 2010.

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