By CJ Kallevig
Hey, guys! We just celebrated Pentecost a couple of weeks ago, when the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles. In my previous post, I talked a little bit about what the gifts of the Holy Spirit are, but I thought, hey why not go a little further into it? So here we are!
First, a little bit of background. Every one of these gifts is given to each believer. At Confirmation, the bishop or presider calls down the Holy Spirit upon each person getting confirmed. This happens through the laying on of hands, which is how priests have called down the Holy Spirit ever since the founding of the Church. Everyone has these gifts, but not all of them will be shown at the same time or in the same way. The Holy Spirit can work through us in any of these ways but in His timing, not ours.
The nine gifts of the Holy Spirit listed in 1 Corinthians 12 are: knowledge, wisdom, prophecy, faith, healing, miraculous works, discernment of spirits, tongues, and interpretation of tongues.
Knowledge: This gift is really simple but also super cool. Basically to have the gift of knowledge is to know things that you would not be able to come to on your own. This can be shown as knowledge of the spiritual world or of the physical world. And it doesn’t have to be something huge either! It could be something as simple as having just the right words for a friend who is going through a rough time, or discerning your vocation in this life. This gift does ask that you be open to the knowledge the Holy Spirit wants to give you, so you have to listen.
How will you know if this knowledge is from the Holy Spirit? As weird as it sounds, you just know. When He speaks directly to you, it can be like you got hit upside the head, or it can just be accompanied by the sense that you could not have come up with it by yourself.
Wisdom: Now you might be asking, “CJ, what’s the difference between knowledge and wisdom?” Well, it’s application. With the gift of knowledge, you know what to do or what to say. With wisdom, you know how to take that knowledge that the Holy Spirit gave you and use it. Let’s use the example of a friend that’s going through a hard time. Maybe you received some knowledge on what you can do to help them, but you’re not sure how to do that. That’s where wisdom comes in and helps you to see just what is the best way to be there for your friend.
Wisdom and knowledge go hand-in-hand, and these gifts are ones that we all can ask for every single day.
Prophecy: This gift is one of the flashier gifts of the Holy Spirit. I don’t mean flashy in a bad way; it’s just one of the more obvious gifts of the Spirit. A prophecy is when you receive something directly from the Lord to be given to another person (as a prophet acts as God’s “mouthpiece”). It could be about anything at all but it will be for a specific purpose. Prophecies can be about anything, but if it doesn’t line up with Scripture, then it is not a true word from the Lord. But once it has been discerned to be true (discernment of spirits can help here, which will be discussed in a later post), don’t ignore it! The Lord should never be ignored.
Faith: We all have faith. If we didn’t, then we wouldn’t have found the Lord. But our faith doesn’t stay the same; it grows as we grow in our relationship with God. Sometimes though, there are hard times in our lives where faith is difficult, or maybe we know that our faith is not enough. That is when we ask for the Holy Spirit to grow our faith to where it needs to be for God to work in us more completely.
For example, say you felt a prompting from the Lord to go witness to a random person, but that is completely out of your comfort zone. That’s when the Holy Spirit can work through you and grow your faith to where you are no longer nervous to go and talk to that person. Or even if you’re nervous for a job interview or for athletics, you can ask the Holy Spirit for the faith to go and do whatever you need to do.
Healing: This, like prophecy, is one of the more obvious gifts of the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit can work a healing through anyone. It doesn’t matter if people have been healed through you before or not.
There are different types of healing gifts as well. The Lord will heal whoever he wants, however he wants. One person may have the gift of healing, but that particular gift may show itself in cancer patients. Or another person may have the gift of healing broken bones. Sometimes, a person may have a gift that is related to one or more of the various types of inner healing (emotional, psychological, spiritual, etc.).
So here’s the first five gifts! Honestly, it’s super cool to me to see how the Holy Spirit works in us. As I wrote this, I spent a lot of time thinking of how I’ve seen these gifts manifested in myself and in others. In each of these gifts, it is important to note that there is nothing even close to what may be called “magic” involved. None of these gifts come about as a result of our own wills or power. Rather, it is the will and power of God that can work through the members of the Mystical Body of Christ as he sees fit to do in his providence. Therefore, any use of any of these gifts should not inflate one’s pride, nor should it be a source of jealousy or comparison of any kind, as the Holy Spirit dwells in the hearts of the faithful by virtue of Baptism and Confirmation, not because anyone “earned” it (as it is Christ who merited that grace for us).
I hope you guys learned a bit, and next month I’ll write about the last four. If you want to read in Scripture where it talks about this, it’s 1 Corinthians 12:4-11.
God bless you all, and I will see you in the Eucharist.