By CJ Kallevig
And we’re back! I hope that you guys are having a great summer so far. I know I am!
So in my last post, I started talking about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. In this post, we’re going to finish them up. These ones are some of the coolest gifts. Now, just let me say, all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit are amazing; these ones are just more outwardly amazing. You’ll see what I mean.
Miraculous Works: First things first, what is a miracle? A miracle is something that transcends natural laws and is a divine act by which God reveals himself to people. Some examples of miracles in the Bible include the Parting of the Red Sea and the Wedding at Cana (where Jesus turned water into wine). These examples transcend natural laws because: 1) dry land appearing in the middle of a sea is impossible by human standards, and 2) water cannot be changed in wine in an instant via normal scientific means.
If you look at the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation God is working miracles for his people. And God does not change, so what does that mean? It means he’s still working miracles right now for us. Often we see these miracles through the intercession of saints, but miracles can be done through anyone, and they can be anything. So pray!
Discernment of Spirits: This gift is a very heavy gift. When we are speaking about spirits, we are talking about three categories in particular: angelic, demonic, and human. Through this gift, the Holy Spirit gives a person the ability to see what is going on “behind the scenes,” in a sense. These people are given a glimpse into the spiritual world and can see the battle between good and evil in our world. This discernment of spirits aids one in making decisions, in pursuing a life of holiness, and in following the will of God over their own will and over that of the enemy.
I want to give you just a brief glimpse into how this gift can be used for each category of spirit.
With demonic spirits, sometimes people with this gift will be able to tell if something is working for evil and sin beyond what flows from fallen human nature. Whether that be through some physical or inner sense, it depends on the person.
With angels, they can appear to and/or influence humans. However, demons often disguise themselves as angelic in order to attract people. So test them! Don’t believe what they say without making sure that they are truly God’s angels. Angels always draw you to what is good, true, and beautiful, pushing you toward holiness and conversion away from sin.
Human spirits can have two different types of discernment: the discernment of what is your own human ‘voice’ inside your head and the discernment of the influence on us of the other people around us. Human influence can be for good, for evil, or neutral. It is important to distinguish what is human from what is angelic and from what is demonic so as to be able to know what we are naturally drawn to, so that we can choose the voice of God, working through his angels, more clearly and easily.
Tongues: To have the gift of tongues is to be able to speak in a foreign language that you would have no natural knowledge of. For example, if the Spirit gave me the sudden ability to start speaking in Mandarin Chinese, that’s the gift of tongues because I don’t know a single word of Mandarin.
There is some speculation regarding exactly how this gift can work, but there are two fruits that it should bear if it is truly of the Spirit of God: personal growth in charity and holiness, and the building up of the Church (whether by evangelizing in a foreign tongue, as did the Apostles at Pentecost, or by speaking the good that those already in the Church need to hear).
Interpretation of Tongues: This gift is exactly what it sounds like. Those with this gift have been given the ability to understand what people are saying when they would have no natural ability to understand the language that the other person is using. Again, the fruits that should come from this are personal growth in love and holiness and/or the edification of the Church due to some furtherance of evangelization, conversion, etc.
So there you go, my first little series on what the gifts of the Holy Spirit are. I hope you guys learned something from my writing. I know I sure did while researching these gifts.
Also, I’m always looking for ideas on what to write next, so if you guys have ideas, tell me! I’d love to hear from you.
God bless you all, and I will see you in the Eucharist.
To find these gifts of the Spirit in Scripture, see 1 Corinthians 12:4-11.