Saturday, May 26, 2007

Seven gifts to open

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are seven in number, according to theology. Here they are in their original Hebrew Scriptural context, Isaiah 11:1-2:

The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of power,
the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD -
and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.

These seven gifts are given in baptism and quickened in Confirmation. They are given to help us get closer to God and be more useful to Him. As a Protestant I was really more familiar with the lists of gifts in the New Testament, primarily in 1 Corinthians 14 and Ephesians 4. however,looking at all three lists the corinthians grouping is really talking about functions or activities and the author of Ephesians is really speaking about offices or functions in the CHurch. Both are given "for the common good." And that's great.

But these gifts are given to each Christian personally so that she or he might fulfill God's will in life. They function in Isaiah as descriptors of the Messiah, God's annointed. That helps explain how they got into the liturgy and life of the Church at Pentecost. Jesus was God's annointed, and so are we, through our baptism and gift of the Holy Spirit.

I'll be blogging more about that later, since this is one of the primary themes in the first part of Benedict XVI's new book, Jesus of Nazareth. More on that later.....

But in the meantime, I've been praying this Litany the last week, from Benedictine Daily Prayer . It's a cool summary ofwhat we're seeking on Pentecost.

Through Christ Jesus, the blessing bestowed on Abraham shall descend on the Gentiles, enabling us to receive the promised spirit through faith, Alleluia!

Father, every good gift comes to us through your son Jesus, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Give is wisdom to rejoice in your saving deeds.
Give us understanding to deepen our faith.
Give us counsel to guide us to the right path.
Give us fortitude to conquer our weakness.
Give us knowledge to see you wherever you show yourself.
Give us piety to love and trust you as our Father.
Give us fear to revere and praise you as our God.

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