The other night, my wife and I were praying for our children. There were a couple instances of family conflict weighing heavily on my heart. I prayed that the Holy Spirit would teach my children how to love as Jesus loved. Then I had sudden inspiration. I prayed that my children would receive a greater share in the Gift of the Holy Spirit known as Counsel. I prayed that Counsel would help them make good moral choices. I also prayed that it would help them to see the beauty of God’s law. I wanted my children to understand that God gave us the moral law because He loves us and wants what’s best for us.
What does the Gift of Counsel do for us? First, the Holy Spirit gives us another form of practical wisdom. He helps us to know what is right and good, especially in circumstances where the truth is difficult to see. Second, the Holy Spirit reveals God’s care for us as He lends us His aid in knowing and choosing goodness. Third, the Gift of Counsel helps us to recognize the moral law as a gift from God that leads us to true goodness. Fourth, the Gift of Counsel shows us how following the moral law is an act of love. This is especially true when doing so requires sacrifice and hardship. By following the moral law, we return the love that God shows to us in giving it to us. Fifth, the Gift of Counsel gives us the desire to love more selflessly as Jesus loved and to grow in holiness.
The Gift of Counsel is a great example of how God invites us to take part in the Divine Life. He even wants us to cooperate in the conversion of our own hearts. The moral conscience is a human intellectual ability. It’s our ability to apply God’s moral law to specific circumstances, to choose the best possible good. Knowing and choosing what is right and good is difficult for children. We adults have to admit as well that we sometimes struggle in this area. Thankfully, God doesn’t leave us to struggle alone. Through the Gift of Counsel, our conscience becomes a place where the human heart meets the Holy Spirit.
Can you see how the Gift of Counsel is an exchange of love? The Holy Spirit leads us to goodness by helping us follow God’s moral law. We respond in love by following His commands and promptings.
How can we live the Gift of Counsel in our everyday life?
• Learn more about the moral law and the moral teachings of the Church. Learn how they help us to live a more fully human life and how they help us to follow the two Great Commandments of love.
• Pray for a deeper appreciation of the moral law as a sign of God’s love for you.
• Make turning to the Holy Spirit a habit whenever you struggle to know what is right in a particular situation.
• Pray that the Holy Spirit would lead you beyond simply avoiding the “big sins.” Pray for a thirst for excellence, selfless love and holiness.
So I pray for a greater share in the Gift of Counsel for my children. But I also pray that you and I will receive a greater share in this beautiful gift as well. I pray that we will all recognize God’s great love in giving us the moral law. I pray that we will accept His invitation to return His love by following His commandments, even to the point of sacrifice.
Natural Family Planner Educator
“The Gift of Counsel is received when we are willing to let God in and transform us. The transformation can come through a relationship of prayer where we are intentional in listening and asking to hear God’s voice in our lives. With the craziness of college, I don’t always hear God’s voice directly, but in these moments God places family, friends and mentors in my life to help grow closer to Him.”
– Madison Zloto Viterbo University Sophomore Biochemistry Major Hometown: Grand Blanc, MI
The Gift of Counsel is a gift of the Holy Spirit through which God speaks to each of us personally and tells us how to behave in order to glorify Him. With the Gift of Counsel, I hear God through the people He puts into my life. Every person I meet is someone sent to me by God in order to show me how present He is in my life.
– Therese Dehnert Viterbo University Sophomore Dietetics Major Hometown: Apple Valley, MN
As a college student, I am continuing to use the Gift of Counsel through determining healthy choices in various aspects of my life.
– Nolan Gundlach Viterbo University Nursing and Spanish Major Hometown: Racine, WI
“Through the Gift of Counsel and the Holy Spirit we are able to judge the best way to act in any situation that we may find ourselves in.”
– Trista Milner 9th Grade St. Mary Parish Altoona, WI
The Gift of Counsel helps people to judge what is right to do, especially in difficult situations. The Gift of Counsel is a super important and awesome gift to have in high school because you are faced with lots of choices everyday, some big and some small. With the Gift of Counsel the Holy Spirit helps me choose to do what is right.”
– Kendall Alexander 9th Grade St. Mary Parish Altoona, WI
“The Gift of Counsel, also known as right judgement, corresponds to the virtue of prudence. In short, it is the Holy Spirit that guides an individual’s thoughts and actions towards positive spiritual choices.”
– Emily Casey 10th Grade St. Mary Parish Altoona, WI