Father Peter Clarke

From the Diocese of Bridgetown

The Spirit Is Blowing: The Seven Gifts Of The Holy Spirit Part 4: The Gift Of Counsel

The Spirit Is Blowing: The Seven Gifts Of The Holy Spirit               Part 4: The Gift Of Counsel

We have already seen how God, through the Gifts of Wisdom, Knowledge, and Understanding, INFLUENCES OUR CONSCIOUSNESS about the things of this earth and of supernatural realities. We thereby share in God's perspective and appreciation.

It is through the Gift of Counsel that the Holy Spirit MOVES OUR CONSCIENCES so we make godly, prudent, decisions about what God wants us to do or avoid doing. Thus we are more than SPECTATORS on the boundaries who know everything but don't have to do anything.We are PLAYERS on the field who have to make decisions and take the consequences.

Through the Gift of Counsel the Spirit enables us to discern what God expects of us and to act accordingly.

The schooner with its sails hoisted is our metaphor for our being responsive the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. From this it follows that if the sails are in tatters, though hoisted, they will be useless.

FOR THE MOST PART WE ARE ONLY OPEN TO THESE GIFTS WHEN WE ARE IN A STATE OF GRACE.

Exceptions would have to be those leading a life of squalid foolishness, as did the Prodigal Son. They are not excluded from the impulse of the Holy Spirit. Prompted by the Spirit, he "Came to his senses," and resolved,"I will leave this place and go to my father and say: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you;" (Lk.15.18).

The Holy Spirit gave him the courage (Gift of Fortitude) to journey back home – no matter how his father might receive him. You see how several of the Gifts come into play at the same time according to the circumstances.Think of our schooner hoisting sails of various shapes and sizes according to the waves and the wind.

When speaking of the Gift of Counsel the Church refers to that occasion when Jesus said to His disciples, "You will be brought before governors and kings for my sake, as evidence to them and to the gentiles. But when you are handed over, do not worry about how to speak or what to say; what you are to say will be given to you when the time comes, because it is not you who will be speaking; the Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you," (Mtt.10.18).

On such occasions the Holy Spirit enables us to draw upon a deeply imbedded awareness that has become second-nature to us through our habitual closeness to God. He finds for us the appropriate words and the courage to voice them.

To shift our attention from crisis situations to the everyday living of you and me I quote Paul writing to the Colossians, "We ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will, with all wisdom and understanding that His Spirit gives. Then you will be able to live as the Lord wants and always do what pleases Him," ( Col.1.9).


Peter Clarke, O.P.

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