Wisdom engages us first
The seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit play a pivotal role in our response to and use of our unity with Christ in the Church. We can especially give evidence to our action with Christ in His Church through Baptism. In Baptism, by the very ritual itself, we are claimed for Jesus Christ by the sign of His Cross. This signature, the Catechism teaches us (CCC 1272 ff.), is known as a sacramental character or an indelible mark on our immortal souls. It can never be removed; it marks us for all eternity as a child of God. The Holy Spirit marks us with the “seal of the Lord for the day of redemption.”
Three of the seven sacraments are known as Sacraments of Christian Initiation. They are Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Eucharist, each fortifying us in our lifelong faith that Jesus Christ is Lord and that we are Children of God. Baptism and Confirmation are two of the sacraments that implant indelible marks on our souls. Holy Orders is the third. The Sacrament of Confirmation completes the action of initiation and seals us in the Holy Spirit, imparting the Spirit’s seven gifts as an “energy source” for our spiritual journey in life.
The first Gift of the Holy Spirit is Wisdom. Wisdom that comes from the Holy Spirit directs the mind and heart to judge things from God’s perspective. Thus we can observe and value the things of God above earthly things.
Scripture, especially Psalm 14, teaches us that it is “the fool who says in his heart there is no God.” The lament, repeated in Psalm 53, teaches about the world from two basically different standards: “the fool” and the “company of the just” also called “my (God’s) people.” The wicked persecute the just, but the Psalm proclaims the hope that God will punish evil-doers and reward those who choose and act upon the good in their lives.
The Gifts of the Holy Spirit, especially the Gift of Wisdom, lead us to virtuous living—living life and following the perspective of God’s plan.
Wisdom enlightens the mind and directs the heart to a purer, deeper love of God. Seeking God allows us to value human life in our daily actions, namely, seeing Jesus in all people and valuing them as brothers and sisters in the divine family with God as our Father.
As we begin this new year, we gain important new opportunities to reshape our lives, seek new directions and plan goals for the ways in which we want to renew our lives. The hope that comes from knowing Jesus and following His commandment of love allows us to put forth a clear choice for the value of our own lives as well as the value of the lives of those around us.
Wisdom inspires the virtue of courage and promotes the strength of God’s grace in us. We choose to stand with Christ, choosing good and rejecting evil. This is not always an easy choice in our world and it is becoming more difficult each day.
This year, we will be reflecting on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit and the challenge of virtuous living. It stands to reason, therefore, that we begin with the Gift of Wisdom. We celebrate our Christian calling to value human life. We strive to see the world more clearly from God’s perspective. We live experiencing God’s personal gift of love in this world and long to be united with Him completely in eternity.
MOST REVEREND WILLIAM PATRICK CALLAHAN
is the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of La Crosse.
List one spiritual goal for this year.
How often do I pray for the gift of wisdom when making decisions?
What is God’s purpose for my life?