September 21, 2023
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It seems most appropriate to begin our exploration of gifts and charisms by examining the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The traditional list of the gifts of the Holy Spirit comes from the book of the prophet Isaiah. What are the gifts listed in this traditional list?  “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.” To this list the Church also adds piety.
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Last week we mentioned the invitation of God to King Solomon to ask for whatever he wants. And we know that Solomon asks for wisdom, and no one in all the land is wiser than he. And filled with this tremendous gift of wisdom, one would think that Solomon would be not only a great king, but one who always did what was right. But that is not the case. Why?

It is because there is an important thing to remember when we think of the gifts of God. Whenever we receive a gift of God, the reception of the gift is not completely sufficient. Why? Because if we receive the gift, but we never use the gift, then we do not receive as fully what it is God wants for us. Not only that, but if we do not use this gift in the way God intends us to use it, then we again we do not receive all that God intends for us. And so while Solomon receives the gift of wisdom, it is still the case that he has to use this gift of wisdom in the way God intends.

See, when we consider the life of faith, it ultimately is to see the way that God sees, and to strive to live that way in my own life too. For Solomon it could have been quite easy to look at something that was good, maybe even making a decision that reflected wisdom, but if it was not what God wanted then even if it was good for someone else, it is not good for us.

So when we consider this gift of wisdom, we must consider this question: “Lord, what do you want of me?” There are many instances where a version of this question is asked, but for me one very wonderful answer can be found in Micah 6:8. “You have been told, O mortal, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you: Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.

I like this verse so much because it provides important considerations for our life of faith. We must treat people the way God intends. We must love everything that is good. And in all this, we must always remember we are in the holy presence of God. Notice the focus of all of this is God. We are to center our lives on God. We must pray and reflect on what God wants. We need to ask God to help us to live in a way where we can very clearly see God’s actions and activities in the world.

And so, as we continue to consider the value of the gift of wisdom, let us start in the best place. Let us not only ask God to give us the gift of wisdom, but also to know how to use this wisdom in a way that pleases God.

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