The Gift of the Spirit

St. Hilary of Poitiers, bishop and doctor of the Church (310-368 AD) De Trinitate:

“The human mind has the ability to know God, but unless the human soul receives the gift of the Spirit, it lacks the light which is necessary to absorb that knowledge.

 “The gift of the Spirit is offered to everyone, but it is given in proportion to each person’s readiness to receive it.” 

What is the gift of the Spirit? The best way to understand this is by looking at St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans: “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Rom 5:5)

Therefore, the gift of the Spirit is God’s love which has been poured into our hearts.

  1. It makes perfect sense because God is Love and God’s first gift to us is love. (1Jn 4:8, Rom 5:5), (CCC 733)
  2. For those of us who have been baptized and who want to deepen our relationship with God, it is most helpful to understand the effects of the gift of God’s love:
    • The first effect of God’s gift of love is the forgiveness of our sins. (CCC 734)
    • It follows that the Holy Spirit gives us the “pledge” or “first fruits” of our inheritance: a participation in the very life of the Holy Trinity, which is to love as “God loves us.” (1Jn 4:12; cf. Rom 8:23; 2Cor 1:21), (CCC 735)
    • This new life in Christ becomes possible because we have received “power” from the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:8; cf. 1 Cor 13), (CCC 735)
    • In this new life in Christ, we can bear the fruits of the Spirit: . . . love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. We “live by the Spirit”; the more we renounce ourselves, the more we “walk by the Spirit.” (Gal 5:22-23, Gal 5:25; cf. Mt 16:24-26), (CCC 736)
    • Ultimately, we are led back to the Kingdom of heaven, and as adopted children we call God “Father”, share in Christ’s grace and given a share in eternal glory. (CCC 736)

How does one maintain this new life in Christ? Regular confession, participating in Mass at the very least on Sundays and holy days of obligation, and Prayer.

How to find time to pray? An essential part of prayer is a person’s interior disposition.

There is no substitute for devoting time to pray, but in those days where you can’t devote time to prayer, pray as you work. Begin and end your work with a short prayer.

    • Offer praise and thanksgiving to God while you work.
    • Be mindful of God while you work.

It is from the gift of love from the Father to the Son and from the Son to the Father, that the Holy Spirit proceeds, thus completing the Divine Life in God. For this reason, Holy Mother Church attributes to the Holy Spirit the works of grace and sanctification.

Each time we experience grace in our lives, God embraces us with love. Each time we experience the gift of the Spirit, the Holy Spirit takes possession of our souls.