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Chaplain’s Corner

The Power of the Holy Spirit

May 14, 2024

Those who study Sacred Scripture will admit that what happened on Pentecost was a game changer. Just look at the behavior of the disciples before and after Pentecost. Before the descent of the Holy Spirit, the early Christians were timid and afraid. After the coming of the Advocate, they were fearless even to death.

Before the death of Jesus, the Divine Savior, speaking of the Holy Spirit said, “When the Counselor comes, whom I shall send you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me; and you also bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.” (John 15:26-27) After the reception of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the disciples fearlessly bore witness to Jesus despite the cost. We are called to do the same.

Like the disciples who were present in the upper room, we too receive the fullness of the Spirit when we receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. This includes receiving the fullness of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. What are these seven gifts? The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. They belong in their fullness to Jesus Christ. They complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them. They make the faithful docile in readily obeying divine inspirations. (CCC 1831)

Simply put, virtues are habits that lead us to God. These seven-fold gifts complete and perfect the virtues. Wisdom is the first listed because it is the most important. It helps us find where the truth is. Knowledge helps us acquire and possess the truth. Understanding helps us gain further insight into the truth. Counsel, helps us know what to choose. Piety helps us love God first and most. Fortitude helps us make difficult decisions regardless of the cost. Fear of the Lord helps us grow in awe and reverence before God.

Like the disciples after Pentecost, it is our job to likewise bear witness to the Gospel. In humility, when we cooperate, the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit will come alive and assist us in carrying out this mission. For Catholic doctors, this means fearlessly practicing medicine from a Christian standpoint by imitating the Divine Physician Jesus Christ. My prayer is that all of the members of the Catholic Medical Association will grow in the grace of God.

May God the Holy Spirit vivify each and every one of you until the day you hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:21)