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But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness,

godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. ~ 1 Timothy 6:11

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit

here is a list of the 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit:
  • Wisdom 
  • Understanding 
  • Knowledge 
  • Fortitude 
  • Counsel 
  • Piety 
  • Fear of the Lord

Keep Pursuing

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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. ~ CCC 1830

Please note, the Gifts of the Holy Spirit should not be confused with the Fruits of the Holy Spirit.

[The 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. (CCC 1831)

The Church gets the list of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit from the following Bible passage:
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
Here are some additional Bible verses that speak to the Gifts of the Holy Spirit:
Now in regard to spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be unaware. ~ 1 Corinthians 12:1

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. ~ 1 Corinthians 12:4-6

To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. ~ 1 Corinthians 12:7

To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom; to another the expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit; to another mighty deeds; to another prophecy; to another discernment of spirits; to another varieties of tongues; to another interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes. ~ 1 Corinthians 12:8-1

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The 12 Fruits of the Holy Spirit

The 12 Fruits of the Holy Spirit are:
  • Charity 
  • Joy 
  • Peace 
  • Patience 
  • Kindness 
  • Goodness 
  • Generosity 
  • Gentleness 
  • Fidelity 
  • Modesty 
  • Self-Control 
  • Chastity

Keep Pursuing

Additional Resources

Please note, the Fruits of the Holy Spirit are not the same thing as the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Here is a great Bible verse that speaks to the Fruit of the Holy Spirit:
Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.  
In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. ~ Galatians 5:19-23

The fruits of the Spirit are perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as the first fruits of eternal glory. ~ CCC 1832

The Prayer to Saint Michael

The prayer to Saint Michael is one of my favorite prayers.  I cannot help but be moved by its power each time I pray it.

This is how you say the prayer to Saint Michael:
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
And do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God,
cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.
The original version of the prayer was penned by Pope Leo XIII in 1884 and was much longer.  The current version of the prayer was penned by Pope John Paul II in 1994.

Saint Michael is one of the three archangels mentioned in the Bible.  Here are some of the verses about Saint Michael the archangel:
"Fear not, Daniel," he continued; "from the first day you made up your mind to acquire understanding and humble yourself before God, your prayer was heard. Because of it I started out, but the prince of the kingdom of Persia stood in my way for twenty-one days, until finally Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me. I left him there with the prince of the kings of Persia, and came to make you understand what shall happen to your people in the days to come; for there is yet a vision concerning those days." ~ Daniel 10:12-14
"At that time there shall arise Michael, the great prince, guardian of your people; It shall be a time unsurpassed in distress since nations began until that time. At that time your people shall escape, everyone who is found written in the book.  Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; some shall live forever, others shall be an everlasting horror and disgrace. But the wise shall shine brightly like the splendor of the firmament, And those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever. ~ Daniel 12:1-3
"Then war broke out in heaven; Michael 8 and his angels battled against the dragon. The dragon and its angels fought back, but they did not prevail and there was no longer any place for them in heaven." ~ Revelations 12:7-8

Keep Pursuing

Saturday, November 17, 2012

My Favorite Bible Verse

The discovery of my favorite Bible verse was a transformative experience.  It was one of the first times in my life when I could actually feel God's presence.

It was a cold winter morning in the second semester of my freshman year in college.  Sunlight was pouring through the window of my dorm room.  I rolled out of bed, grudgingly, to read my Bible and go running before class.  I started reading John 15 and the following line woke me up:
I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. ~ John 15:5
That was it!  For years I had been searching for a simple way to summarize what I thought my relationship with Christ should be.  And this visual nailed it!  It was like finding a puzzle piece you have been looking for.

That's not my favorite Bible verse...

But it got my attention.  I was now fully awake and longer grudging.  I kept on reading. Every single verse built on the one before it...I get my power from Jesus...bearing fruit glorifies God...God loves Jesus...Jesus loves one another as Jesus loved us...

And then it all culminated in this:
No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. ~ John 15:13
I stopped reading, stunned.  This verse meant infinitely more when taken in the full context of John 15. (Go read it, it all goes together.)

The full meaning of this verse really sank in. The greatest love one can have is to sacrifice one's life for another. And everyone knows Jesus gave his life for us. Jesus died for me...because of me.

I put down the Bible, numbly got dressed, and went running. I ran, not seeing anything, my mind focused on the fact that Jesus, this man I didn't know, had died for me because he loved me. What used to be just words became real to me for the first time. And it didn't compute.

The Bible verse drifted through my head again and I thought of my brother, Garrett. I thought of how much I loved him. Would I give my life so that he might live?  The answer, I was surprised to find, was yes...that was terrifying.

The discovery slowly began to dissolve into understanding. Jesus loved me like I love my brother. That made Jesus' love tangible. I knew what Jesus felt for me. I experienced it in the love I had for my brother. 

That was incredible. The most powerful love I knew and that was how Jesus felt about me...even when I was ignoring Him. And this love led to His death. He sacrificed His life because of the love I felt now.

It made my heart long for Jesus. For the first time in my life, I really loved Jesus back.

I ran until my eyes cleared. Exhausted, I started walking back to my dorm. I started seeing the people around me again. And I was shocked to see the purple backpack in front of me had "John 15:13" stitched into the back of it!

I couldn't believe it. I wanted to tell her, but I was scared.  (Yes, I've always loved talking, but I had never talked about my faith before.) I decided that this couldn't be a coincidence and it warranted overcoming the trepidation I felt.

I tapped her on the shoulder. I bumbled my way through a brief chat about our shared favorite Bible verse and how amazing God was for lining her up in front of me on the day I discovered the verse. It was the first time I shared my faith, something we are all called to do.  And it was rewarding!

And that is the story of how I discovered my favorite Bible verse: John 15:13!

Post Script 

You might be reacting with disbelief. I know that this might be the most famous and widely quoted verse in the Bible, but I was really uninformed about my faith at that time. I really didn't know it.  And, being that uneducated allowed this verse to hit me with all the force of someone discovering it for the first time.

It is so nice being able to have a clear answer (and a great story) when people bring up favorite Bible verses. Do you know your favorite Bible verse? If not, you should go find it.

Keep Pursuing