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According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the gifts of the Holy Spirit are “specially intended for the sanctification of the person who receives them.” They are supernatural qualities that make us attentive to the voice of God and susceptible to grace – in accordance they make us love the things of God, and render us more obedient to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit.
“The moral life of Christians is sustained by the gifts of the Holy Spirit. These are permanent dispositions which make man docile in following the promptings of the Holy Spirit. The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit … belong in their fullness to Christ, Son of David. They complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them. They make the faithful docile in readily obeying divine inspirations.” – Catechism of the Catholic Church § 1830-1831
What are the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit? They are traditionally outlined in the Book of Isaiah:
“The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD, and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.” – Isaiah 11:2-3
1. The Gift of Wisdom
Piously considered the first and greatest of the gifts, according to Saint Bernard it is the “supernatural Gift of the Holy Spirit which enables us to know God and to rejoice in perfect love.” The gift includes not only illumines the mind, but the heart as well, directing it to a purer and deeper love for God.