Tuesday, 9 August 2016



"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me,"
(Philip. 4. 13)
St. Paul’s confident words sum up what the Holy Spirit’s Gift of Fortitude is all about. Surprisingly, he wrote this while he was imprisoned in Rome, waiting possible execution. And throughout his ministry he was certain that absolutely nothing could destroy God’s love for him, his love for God. He had to cope with opposition from within and from outside the Christian community -persecution, stoning, flogging and shipwreck. And yet he did not give up. Resolutely he pressed on to the goal of eternal life and happiness in Christ Jesus.
Paul would have been the first to admit that in himself he was weak and that he was utterly dependent upon a God-given strength, which we would call the gift of fortitude. With this we cease to depend upon our feeble human efforts but place our trust in God. As we draw on His infinite power we can, as Jesus promised, move mountains.
Through the gift of fortitude we receive a confidence that with God’s help we can attain the eternal happiness to which He has called us. We are not daunted by the difficulties and temptations that may threaten our eternal salvation. The gift of fortitude prevents us from sinking into a spiritual lethargy or becoming quitters. It gives back-bone, stamina and resilience to all the virtues. It gives us a divine momentum, a dynamism towards the Kingdom of heaven. It gives us a special Christ-like courage and inner strength to resist retaliating when attacked and provoked. We’re prepared to risk being thought a coward and weakling.
Like all the other gifts of the Holy Spirit, it flows from our receiving a share in God’s own life at baptism. It raises us beyond our creaturely limitation so that we can instinctively draw upon God’s own strength. The closer we are to Him, the more in tune are we with God and the more powerful are His gifts. Like all the other gifts of the Holy Spirit, that of fortitude is essential to our eternal salvation. We all need God to help us not to be intimidated by the crosses we have to carry, the strength to overcome the difficulties and temptations, the stamina to keep moving on our journey to the Kingdom of Heaven. We certainly need the Spirit of Fortitude.
As we receive this gift our spontaneous reaction must be that of the psalmist,
"Not to us, LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness,"
(Ps. 115. 1).
Isidore Clarke O.P.

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