Defending the Faith of our Fathers!
Christ's Faithful People

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Class 22

We have a few more comments on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. When we recognize these interior instincts, this leads to the deepening of our relationship with the Father and opens the relationship with the three persons, opens prayer, and the response to these inspirations leads to sanctity. The important thing in our life is to be led by the Holy Spirit. The supernatural life of faith is always subject to a certain doubt and insecurity. We don’t have the clarity of logical conclusions in the light of faith. Faith needs the gifts, as Marie Eugene de L’enfant Jesus said. The theological virtues establish contact with God and precede the gifts which derive from them. Since the gifts dispose to a generous following of the virtues, they precede the moral virtues. The gifts make all the faculties of the soul amenable to the movements of the Holy Spirit. Saint Thomas says all the human faculties are born, created to follow the divine instincts. The effects of the gifts of the Holy Spirit descends into the emotions, to the spiritual and bodily part of our being. This is an important truth not only for theology, but for psychology, education, and medicine, for all these parts of the human person are interconnected. So the supernatural life has consequences on our whole being. In our spiritual life we should strive to reach the stage whereby we give ourselves to the Holy Spirit and trust him as a wise guide. He purifies us so that we will entirely be led, which is sanctity. We should treat the Holy Spirit as a trustworthy friend, and we can invoke his help for whatever need. If we are transparent to the movements of the Holy Spirit, we will be of real help to the Church. It is what characterizes the saints. The movements of the Holy Spirit doesn’t deny the dignity of our faculties, for they are transformed from within. Our action is enriched form within by God. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are like radio receptors, which catch the waves of the Holy Spirit, and urges the person to the acts of the virtues, infused or acquired.

The apostles knew Jesus and were sent on missions by him during his lifetime. They were scandalized at the Cross, and came back to Christ after the Resurrection. They were told to wait for Pentecost, even though they were close to Christ.

When we live the theological virtues, they’re all together; the separation occurs only when we reflect on them. St. Térèse says that we must keep our openness to God in humility, "to be little is not attributing to oneself the virtues one practices, thinking oneself capable of anything, but recognizing that God places His treasure in the hands of his child to be used well. A child is too small to hurt himself very much by misuse [paraphrase]." We should be humble before God and not attribute to ourselves the virtues he has given to us. If we’ve sinned, we shouldn’t be too discouraged as if there’s no mercy, but we should react like a little child. The child should go with love to get the boo-boos kissed. Even though we may have committed serious sins, we shouldn’t go as a hopeless forlorn creature. We should come back with faith and then to continue in the obligations of our state. We have our sins, which we should take to Christ, but we should focus more on good works rather than our sins.

The theology of the apostolate was expressed by St. Terese ask asking God to put into her hand what the novices need. She also expressed the growth in virtue as looking at God at the top of the stairs, lift up your little foot, placing trust in God, who loves your effort, and eventually comes down to take you in his arms and carry you to the top of the stairs.

The fruits and the beatitudes

Saint Thomas in the prima secunda has already described what is essential to moral action. We have had a section on human acts, emotions, virtues, the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We added a section on conscience and the divine indwelling. We can end our section on the supernatural interiority of actions. The beatitudes are the divine response to our hunger for happiness. In a faithful, generous life God responds to our hunger granting us his beatitude, which flows out into our lives. There were twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit enumerated in the Vulgate. The fruits and the beatitudes are the same, flowing out of the movement of grace. He does introduce a distinction. The fruits are special acts involving a particular joy, whereas the beatitudes are special acts flowing out of the infused virtues by the Holy Spirit. The beatitudes are fruits, but acts which are more perfect, granting eternal happiness. The terminology is not very precise. Since the beatitudes are the more perfect fruits, all of the beatitudes can be called fruits, but not the other way around. Saint Thomas says that the beatitudes are not a special habit. The beatitudes are acts. Happiness is attained through action. It is important to have our moment of action in the process of beatitude. Many think heaven is just lazy. Beatitude is action, and not just action for action but action for the gift of self. Saints are people of action.[28] The fruits are concrete acts in which the fecundity of the Holy Spirit is expressed. Saint Thomas defines the beatitudes are paradoxical acts, which are also promises.

Saint Thomas quotes St. Augustine where he ties together the beatitudes, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the Lord’s prayer. If we try to see the logic in a purely speculatively way, it will seem absurd. But if we look at them in faith, we will be open to the Holy Spirit. The fear of God are how the poor in spirit are happy we should ask that God’s name be hallowed by men in a chaste poor. If it is by piety that the meek are blessed, we should ask "thy kingdom come." If it is through the gift of knowledge whereby they who mourn are blessed, we should pray "thy will be done" so that we may mourn no more. If it is through the gift of fortitude that the hunger are strengthened, we should pray "give us our daily bread." If it is counsel whereby the merciful are blessed, we should forgive the trespasses of others so that our own might be forgiven. If it is understanding whereby the poor in heart are blessed, we should pray lest we have a double heart seeking after worldly things, and that through the gift of understanding we can look at people in the light of truth. If it is wisdom whereby the peacemakers are blessed, we should pray to be delivered from evil, so that we may find peace.[29]

We have come to a conclusion describing spiritual fecundity in our acts. We still have to discuss the contradiction of everything we’ve said, in sin. Finally we will have a section on how God helps us from without as well, by giving us the moral law.


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