How can we simplify what we have learned and make it more practical so we can be sure to apply it every moment of every day in our duty and in our quest for the holiness God requires of us? We can’t…..unless we have the direct help of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Great Director, the Great Simplifier, our Greatest Friend! We can do absolutely nothing in the spiritual realm by ourselves, and until we accept and embrace that Truth, we progress very, very slowly even with our good will and effort.
Our preeminent guide Archbishop Luis Martinez teaches us from “The Sanctifier”: “The Holy Spirit brings about our sanctification in two ways. The first is by helping us, moving us, directing us, but in such a way that we are actually doing our own work….God has given us a wonderful and terrible gift of freedom (of will), by which we ourselves are the artisans of our own happiness or our own ruin. But the Holy Spirit has another way of directing. It is His personal direction of our deeds, when He no longer merely illuminates us with His light or warms us with His Fire to show us the road we must follow. In this second way, He Himself deigns to move our faculties and to urge us so that we may perform His Work.”
Archbishop Martinez continues by showing us that at Baptism, all the supernatural realities are placed within us. First, Grace or an actual share in the Divine Life of God (we will live forever); next the Theological Virtues, which allow us to touch the Divine Persons through Faith, Hope and Love so we can know, desire and love God, the Infinite Reality of Charity; the rest of the Virtues, which allow us to regulate our life and move our soul toward removing all sin and self-love; and finally the Gifts of the Holy Spirit (and Charisms for serving others in love), which allow us to actually perceive, be properly disposed toward and then allow the Holy Spirit to work and move within us in a Divine way. This is the reality of our soul in a state of Grace illumined by the Light of the Holy Spirit….we all have these realities within our souls!
The Archbishop uses this analogy to help us see the necessity of the Gifts: “Let us imagine a great artist creating a masterpiece. He arranges for the preparation of the canvas and the way in which the colors are to be combined. He then calls on his best pupils to share the work. He permits them to do the least important, or least perfect, part of it. But when it comes to the delicate, finest part, where he will reveal his genius, where the inspiration will be crystallized, the pupils put down their brushes and the master takes over. So it is with the Holy Spirit. He is going to accomplish a Divine work in us: to trace in our hearts the living image of Jesus…”
Here is the key distinction to remember: when we work under the influence of the virtues, we have a supernatural norm but imperfect one, since we, as humans, are still thinking and acting. It is the norm of man illumined by God. But when we work under the influence of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, the norm is the norm of God given to man through the Holy Spirit acting within us.
So, what are these Gifts of the Holy Spirit? They are the spiritual realities of the Holy Spirit coming upon and filling the Messiah from The Book of Isaiah, which influence all our faculties, our memory, our intellect and our will. They are Fear of (offending) The Lord, Fortitude, Piety, Counsel, Knowledge, Understanding and Wisdom. These are the Gifts which allow us to think and act as God does to the extent possible for a creature in this life. We must spend real time and effort learning all we can about these Gifts, because we CANNOT be sanctified without them!
So, from a practical standpoint, we must first develop and nurture the Virtues and then the Gifts. Each must be nurtured in order to grow to perfection. As our Virtues grow, so will the Gifts of the Holy Spirit; and when we reach the point of giving up our self-love, then the Gifts can be truly be perfected within us.
We recall from this series on the Holy Spirit that we must do three things in order to be certain we are fulfilling our duty to know and love the Holy Spirit as the Third Person of the Holy Trinity in order to glorify the Father through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. First, we must pray each day throughout the day to know and love the Holy Spirt as the Love between the Father and Son by begging the Father and Son for the Holy Spirit and to activate from our Baptism and Confirmation all His Virtues, Gifts and Chrisms. Second, to read and learn all we can about The Holy Spirit. Third, to pray each day to the Holy Spirit through our dear Mother, His Spouse for the Grace of the Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary: the Transforming Union and Mystical Incarnation, so we may imitate her by perfectly forming Jesus within us through our loving relationship with the Holy Spirit and Mary, since it requires both Artisans to perfectly form Jesus within us for the Glory of the Father!