Friday, June 06, 2014

Why Ask for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit?

Today's piece of the Pentecost sequence:

On the faithful who adore
And confess you evermore
In your sevenfold gift descend

Da tuis fidelibus
In te confidentibus
Sacrum septenarium

Give to the faithful who trust in you the sacred sevenfold gifts.

This puts me in mind of a very basic truth of Christianity that was lost on me as a Protestant. I mean, I had been taught the concept, but I found too many (theo)logical loopholes in the rest of what I was taught so that this truth had no ability to grip my heart and convince my life. And that is simply that the point of living on earth as Christians is to live as Jesus did.

In fact, just a few days before I met the people who were to become instrumental in my experiencing the Holy Spirit in His charismatic dimension, I wrote a song called "We See But Darkly." And in the song I asked the question that plagued me in those days:  "If Jesus is my Lord, and God my Father/Why should I have to even bother with this earthly life?/Why can't I just go to heaven now?/What difference would it make, anyhow?"

The answer to that question is in what we beg for in this piece of the sequence.

We beg for the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit primarily because our life in Christ before entering heaven is about practicing love, and getting used to Divine Love. That entails being sanctified. Being sanctified has to do with embracing God's will, so that all of our energies are trained on what God most desires for us: Love of God and love of neighbor.

When wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, fortitude, piety and the fear of the Lord fill us, we are true to our name: Christian. Jesus is the Christ, the Anointed One, because He is in perfect union with the Holy Spirit, making visible the invisible God. We as His Body are called to do the same: make visible the invisible God.

God forms a people to live in the world and make Him known. That's what I missed as a Protestant, and that's why we ask for these gifts of the Holy Spirit.

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