Colossians 1:28 states, “It is he whom we proclaim, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ”.
St. Paul is basing this through the Authority of Christ as he states, “Now I rejoice in my suffering for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions on Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church, o which I am a minister in accordance with God’s stewardship given me to bring to completion for you the word of God, the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past”.
As we search for this center of faith, an important clue comes from St. Augustine, “the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed, the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed”.
Jesus Commands the Church to “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).
Through the apostolic Ministry of the Catholic Church, “As they traveled from city to city, they handed on to the people for observance the decisions reached by the Apostles and presbyters in Jerusalem. Day after day the churches grew stronger in faith and increased in number” (Acts 6:4-5).
1 Corinthians 1:10 commands us, “I urge you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Chris, that all of you agree in what you say, and that there be know divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and purpose”.
Acts 14:22-23 encourages us “They strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God. They appointed presbyters for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they had put their faith”.
1 Corinthians 16:13 says, “Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong. Your every act should be done with love”.
St. Jude echos this writing “Beloved, although I was making every effort to write to you about our common salvation, I now feel a need to write to encourage you to contend for the faith that was once handed down to the holy ones. Keep yourselves in the love of God and wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. ON THOSE WHO WAIVER, HAVE MERCY; SAVE OTHERS BY SNATCHING THEM OUT OF THE FIRE; ON OTHERS HAVE MERCY WITH FEAR, ABHORRING EVEN THE OUTER GARMENT STAINED BY THE FLESH” (Jude 3,21).
St. James echos this teaching, “My brothers, if anyone among you should stray from the truth and someone bring him back, he should know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:19-20).
St. Paul writes, “I, then, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you o live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all”(Ephesians 4:1-5).
Titus 3:15 says, “All who are with me send you greetings. Greet those who love us in the faith”.
Having gone to many nations and meeting many people from around the world, I find St. Paul’s encouragement to “love us in the faith” really inspiring. The Catholic Church is truly universal and to meet people from all over has been a great blessing.
The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are (From Wikipedia):
- Wisdom: With the gift of wisdom, we see God at work in our lives and in the world. For the wise person, the wonders of nature, historical events, and the ups and downs of our lives take on deeper meaning. The matters of judgment about the truth, and being able to see the whole image of God. We see God as our Father and other people with dignity. Lastly being able to see God in everyone and everything everywhere.
- Understanding: With the gift of understanding, we comprehend how we need to live as a follower of Jesus Christ. A person with understanding is not confused by all the conflicting messages in our culture about the right way to live. The gift of understanding perfects a person’s speculative reason in the apprehension of truth. It is the gift whereby self-evident principles are known, Aquinas writes.
- Counsel (Right Judgment): With the gift of counsel/right judgment, we know the difference between right and wrong, and we choose to do what is right. A person with right judgment avoids sin and lives out the values taught by Jesus. The gift of truth that allows the person to respond prudently, and happily to believe our Christ the Lord
- Fortitude (Courage): With the gift of fortitude/courage, we overcome our fear and are willing to take risks as a follower of Jesus Christ. A person with courage is willing to stand up for what is right in the sight of God, even if it means accepting rejection, verbal abuse, or even physical harm and death. The gift of courage allows people the firmness of mind that is required both in doing good and in enduring evil, especially with regard to goods or evils that are difficult, just like Joan of Arc did.
- Knowledge: With the gift of knowledge, we understand the meaning of God. The gift of knowledge is more than an accumulation of facts.
- Piety (Reverence): With the gift of reverence, sometimes called piety, we have a deep sense of respect for God and the church. A person with reverence recognizes our total reliance on God and comes before God with humility, trust, and love. Piety is the gift whereby, at the Holy Spirit’s instigation, we pay worship and duty to God as our Father, Aquinas writes.
- Fear of the Lord (Wonder and Awe): With the gift of fear of the Lord we are aware of the glory and majesty of God. A person with wonder and awe knows that God is the perfection of all we desire: perfect knowledge, perfect goodness, perfect power, and perfect love. This gift is described by Aquinas as a fear of separating oneself from God. He describes the gift as a “filial fear,” like a child’s fear of offending his father, rather than a “servile fear,” that is, a fear of punishment. Also known as knowing God is all powerful. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Prov 1:7) because it puts our mindset in its correct location with respect to God: we are the finite, dependent creatures, and He is the infinite, all-powerful Creator.
The Fruits of the Holy Spirit are:
With these gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit this gives us the tools to fight the battle of life:
Wait upon the Lord
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