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68. The Gifts of the Holy Ghost

1. The gifts of the Holy Ghost are distinguished from thetheological virtues. The gifts dispose us to obey divine influenceand inspiration, whereas the virtues enable us to carry out theworks of this obedience.

2. The gifts render a man amenable to the promptings ofgrace. Where there is need of such prompting, there is need of agift. Man, working to attain his supernatural end, often needs theprompting of grace as well as the actual use of grace; hence thegifts are necessary to man.

3. The gifts are not merely acts, nor are they passions;they are habits that abide in a man and make him tend to obeyGod.

4. The gifts of the Holy Ghost are: wisdom andunderstanding, which perfect the speculative reason; counsel andknowledge, which perfect the practical reason; piety, whichperfects the appetitive powers with reference to other persons;fortitude, which perfects the appetitive powers with reference todanger threatening oneself; fear of the Lord, which perfects theappetitive powers by keeping them from inordinateness in theirtendency to pleasures.

5. Just as moral virtues are united and focused inprudence, so the gifts are focused in charity. Without charity-thelove and friendship of God in the soul-no one can enjoy the activepresence of the gifts.

6. In the soul in heaven the gifts will remain asperfections, but theywill not render the service which theyrendered on earth. For the soul which has the beatific vision andis confirmed in grace has no longer any need of habits to disposeit to obey God. When the end is attained, helps to attain the endhave completed their service.

7. The gifts of the Holy Ghost are adequately listed byIsaias in their order of dignity (11:2-3): wisdom, understanding,counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety (or godliness), and fear ofthe Lord.

8. When we compare the theological virtues and the gifts(and both come directly to the soul from God), it seems that thetheological virtues are in themselves more excellent than thegifts, for they regulate the gifts. But the gifts are moreexcellent than all virtues other than the theological virtues.

"When the devil has failed in making a man fall, he puts forward all his energies to create distrust between the penitent and the confessor, and so by little and little he gains his end at last."
St Philip Neri

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"Happy is the youth, because he has time before him to do good. "
St Philip Neri

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"A person who rails at God in adversity, suffers without merit; moreover by his lack of resignation he adds to his punishment in the next life and experiences greater disquietude of mind in this life."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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