In Part 1 of the Prologue to this series of meditations you were given the names of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Now we are going to attempt to deepen our understanding and appreciation of their role in our lives. At Baptism we received these gifts. When we were Confirmed these gifts perfected and activated so as to enable us to lead fully Christian lives.
The idea of being endowed with spiritual gifts is to be found in the writings of the Prophecy of Isaiah. The recipient of these gifts would be the One Almighty God promised sent to His Chosen People.
“A shoot will spring from the stock of Jesse, a new shoot will grow from his roots. On him will rest the Spirit of the Lord, the spirit of wisdom and insight, the spirit of counsel and power, the spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord: his inspiration will lie in fearing the Lord. His judgement will not be by appearances. his verdict not given on hearsay, (Isaiah 11).
Elsewhere Isaiah tells us this person would claim to be anointed by the Spirit of God: “The spirit of the Lord is on me for the Lord has anointed me. He has sent me to bring the news to the afflicted, to soothe the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, release to those in prison… to comfort all who mourn,” (Is.61).
These prophesies become exciting as we realize that according to the Hebrew text of the Old Testament “Messiah” was the word used of one anointed as king, priest or prophet. The equivalent word in Greek of the New Testament is “Christ.”
Of all the passages from Sacred Scripture Jesus could have chosen to read in the Synagogue in Capernaum He selected, “The spirit of the Lord is on me, for he has anointed me to bring the good news to the afflicted...” Dramatically He exclaimed, ‘This text is being fulfilled today even while you are listening.(Lk.4). Through and through His humanity was briskly alert to the impulses of the Holy Spirit in the service of His Heavenly Father.
The Church would have us know that we ourselves are caught up in this Messianic thrust of energy – like the schooner opening its sails to the wind. After the water of Baptism had flowed over our brows we were anointed with Chrism, ‘As Christ was anointed Priest, Prophet, King, so may you live always as a member of his body, sharing everlasting life.’
Loaded with such spiritual Gifts it is up to us to let God do great things in us and through us!
Peter Clarke, O.P.