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The gifts of the Holy Spirit

“Seek the things that are above...set your minds on the things that are above, not on those of the earth” (Col 3,1-2)

6/26/2017

Time is ticking away quickly, science is making huge strides, technology advances at the speed of light, and the life of man itself has become an unstoppable race toward...nothing.  The risk, ultimately, is that of having led an existence without foundation, satisfied only by the achievement of goals on which the world has fixed its gaze, yet empty.

How often do we not hear these complaints:  It’s as if something is missing in my life!.  How many unsatisfied creatures, in the search for something undecipherable, do not find themselves!  Creatures that have (had) everything in life, but distracted by this “having”, still do not know true wealth, that which fulfills and endures forever.  That wealth which consists of nothing material, yet has always invisibly hovered over the world in search of beings to rest upon: the Spirit of God that recreates, regenerates and, taking residence in the hearts of those who welcome Him, acts internally, silently.

In her diary, Jesus speaks to Luisa of this invisible acting and of how much the soul in His imitation must render herself similar.  And if He took on matter in His assumed Humanity, He did it to resemble man in everything and to give him an example of how to spiritualize matter, but in Him there is no matter, everything is most pure spirit.  All that is invisible, or Spirit, can be absorbed in another object in order to form one alone.  What fortune would there not be for the soul who, rendering herself invisible, absorbs in herself the divine Spirit and receives from It a form all divine, forming only one being!

 

Even before His Passion, through a close connection between the mission of Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit, Jesus had announced and promised to the Apostles, still unaware of the divine truths, that He would send them the Spirit which will have the task of teaching and reminding the community of disciples of His words:  “The Helper, the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring you to remembrance of all that I told you” (John 14:26).  “To teach and to remind.  And this is what the Holy Spirit does in our hearts” (Pope Francis, May 1, 2016).

 

On the day of Pentecost, the faith of the disciples reaches its fullness and perfection.  Having become new wineskins, they were able to contain new wine: the Love of God, finally understood, assimilated, diffused, not simply made known.  They were able to manifest, through language, that unity which Jesus always makes reference to and which never sees the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit separated.  It was said that they were drunk because they were speaking different languages.  Everyone heard them speaking of the great works of God in their own native tongue (cfr Acts 2:5-13).  In reality, they were speaking one language only: that of Love.  Principle of the Holy Spirit is, in fact, unity, the cohesion of souls in a multitude that would otherwise be reduced to a simple conglomeration of people, different and divided among themselves.  Sacred Scripture, speaking of those that had received the Holy Spirit, says that they had but one soul and one heart stretched out toward God.

 

The Holy Spirit is the greatest gift, together with the Son, that God has given to man.  It is His own power, His own active strength at work.  It is His energy that He directs wherever He desires, to accomplish His Will from which the Spirit cannot be separated.  In her letters, Luisa suggests to her niece Josephine to do everything united to Jesus and to always let pass between her Jesus “that electricity” of love which binds together the Creator with His creatures and that passes through all of Creation.

 

In the Bible, the word “spirit” (in Hebrew ruah and pnèuma in Greek) refers to God’s active strength, but it also assumes other meanings such as: breath, wind, with which the spirit often manifests itself. 

It is also referred to as “finger of God”.  The law that God dictated to Moses was written with the finger of God on stone tablets, whereas the finger symbolizes the Spirit, God no one has seen and we cannot look for fingers of flesh in Him, and the stone tablets represent the hardness of the heart of the Jews.  But God continues to write His law always with His Spirit, no longer on tablets of stone, but rather in the hearts of Christians, of those who, endowed with faith, receive it and it endures forever.

 

“The Holy Spirit constitutes the soul, the lifeblood of the Church and of every single Christian:  It is the Love of God that makes our hearts His dwelling place and enters into communion with us.  The Holy Spirit is always with us, in our hearts.  It is the gift of God par excellence (cfr John 4:10) and in turn communicates various spiritual gifts to those who welcome Him.” (catechesis of Pope Francis)

 

The Church identifies seven of them: wisdom, understanding, council, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of God (which we will discuss in sequence), for seven indicates the completeness and the fullness of the Spirit, perfection.  This reflection on the number seven, which is found with great frequency in the Sacred Scriptures, 600 times, had already echoed in the first centuries, but reaches its climax in the Middle Ages.  The prophet Isaiah (11:1-3) establishes, with his prophecy, the basis of this reflection: “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, a flower will sprout from its roots. The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit of counsel and of fortitude, a spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord”.

 

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 1830-1832, we find: “The moral life of Christians is sustained by the gifts of the Holy Spirit ... the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them”.

 

They are all necessary on the path to holiness for every Christian who wishes to live in imitation of Jesus, in imitation of His Life.  In Him these gifts operate perfectly and His virtues reach the maximum degree of maturation, because only in Him do we find the highest model of Holiness, for in Him there is the continual, constant and permanent presence of the Holy Spirit.

 

As such, we receive the gifts as they are and, unlike fruits, they do not grow, but rather the sensitivity in recognizing and utilizing them grows in those who receive them.  These gifts reflect the spiritual life and in order to receive them, it is necessary to continually invoke the Holy Spirit who distributes them to whoever He wants, but all have received at least one. “To he who asks of the Holy Spirit it will be granted” and we ask Mary, His Spouse - no one has penetrated the mystery of Trinitarian Love more than Her - to intercede for us.  We receive the gifts through faith.  The Sacrament of Confirmation expresses the confirmation and the strengthening, through the descent of the Holy Spirit, of baptismal grace. We are administrators of the gifts that the Holy Spirit gives us, so that they may be oriented toward the service of the Body of Christ.

They are gifts that He gives in order to refine us, so that our life may come to be more and more conformed to that of the Risen Christ.  They depend on obedience, for they only manifest themselves if we obey the initiative of the Holy Spirit.

 

Luisa, chosen by Jesus to imitate the perfection of His life, follows a pedagogical path during which Jesus, the Master, is always at her side in order to embellish her and enrich her with new gifts.  In Luisa, “Lady Obedience”, as she herself defines her, acts as mother to the virtues that the Holy Spirit, with His action, raises to perfection.  Jesus explains to her that many things can be said about virtue and perfection, but they all end up at one single point, which is in the consummation of the human will in the Divine.  So those who are more consumed in this, one can say they contain everything and are more perfect than everyone.  The only consummation (of the human will) is the one that renders the creature one with God and puts in his hands the divine power.

Life is a continuous consummation, but there are those who consume for pleasures, those in order to sin, those for other interests.  But those who form their consummation all in God can say with certainty that their life was consumed all by love for God.  And the measure in which the soul is consumed by love for God, equally they acquire the divine within themselves.

 

 

In the second the mystical marriage, Luisa receives “the indwelling of the Trinity”.  The three Persons of the Most Holy Trinity, inseparable from each other, come to confirm her as Their possession and to dwell in her heart.  Luisa senses a radical change.  She feels divinized and, like the apostle Paul, she no longer lives, but “They live” in Luisa. (The Sun of My Will).

 

Thus following the example of Luisa, and even before her that of Mary, let us allow the Holy Spirit to espouse our soul so that, in forgetting the things of the earth, we may deserve to be elevated from earth to Heaven (St. Augustine) to the glory of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

 

 

FIAT!

Riccardina
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- 7/3/2017
Fiat !!!