Father John Catoir

Father John Catoir

God loves you and gives you spiritual gifts. The Letter of James states, “Every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father” (Jas 1:17).

God gives you the Holy Spirit. Jesus tells his disciples that the Father “will give you another Advocate to be with you always” (Jn 14:16). His presence includes the gifts of the Spirit: wisdom, knowledge, faith, all of which inspire humility and fear of the Lord. This “fear” is actually not fear, but a respectful awe for God’s majesty. Other gifts include: mighty deeds, healing, prophecy, discerning of spirits and speaking in tongues.

What exactly are the gifts of the Holy Spirit that were given to you? We can all learn a great deal from St. Cyril of Jerusalem, who compares the gifts of the Holy Spirit to rain, which “comes down in the same form, yet its effects are manifold — thus it takes one form in the palm tree and another in the vine.”

Rain, St. Cyril continues, “adapts itself to the nature of the things that receive it and it becomes what is appropriate to each.” So it is with the Holy Spirit, who is “of one nature and indivisible, but he apportions his grace as he wills to each one.”

For instance, if you pray for more self-control, the very fact that you have such a desire opens your soul wider to receive an increase in willpower. Expand your spiritual desires and trust God’s love — this is the formula for achieving sainthood.

St. Cyril adds that the Holy Spirit “uses the tongue of one man for wisdom, he illumines the soul of another by prophecy, to another he imparts the power of driving out devils, to another the gifts of interpreting the sacred Scriptures … he prepares another man for martyrdom.”

In each person, the Holy Spirit reveals his presence in a particular way to help both the individual and the whole church at the same time. The Holy Spirit awakens your natural gifts, enabling you to serve the common good more effectively.

Your good example helps everyone around you. Self-control and the spirit of mortification may be stronger in others than in you at this time, but this disparity does not mean that the Spirit is absent.

We grow slowly in wisdom, age and grace, just as Jesus did. We are saints-in-training; though not quite there yet, we are preparing ourselves day by day.

Trust that God will strengthen you. Expect the best.