Today we celebrate Pentecost Sunday, the birthday of the Catholic Church with the coming of the Holy Spirit. In today’s Solemnity, we celebrate the love of God being poured into our hearts, since the moral life of Christians is sustained by the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Today we also celebrate the day the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Most Holy Trinity bestowed its gifts upon the apostles as we heard in the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles chapter 2, verse 1 to 11, which said, “When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.” This was an extraordinary experience for the apostles who prior to the coming of the Holy Spirit, were scared and in hiding for fear of the Jews. Due to this fear and worry about the Jews, they were unable to witness to Christ in the world. But with the reception of the Holy Spirit, they were given the power and courage to fearlessly fulfill their mission. As soon as they received the Holy Spirit, they were transformed; they were strengthened; they were reinvigorated; they were energized; and they became fearless that they immediately stormed out of the room and started proclaiming the resurrected Christ to everyone they encountered.

So what are these gifts of the Holy Spirit that the apostles received that transformed them, strengthened them, reinvigorated them, energized them and made them fearless? These gifts of the Holy Spirit they received are seven in number and they are as follows: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. These gifts according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church belong in their fullness to Christ and they complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them. They in fact make the faithful docile in readily obeying divine inspirations. One of the very simple and concise explanations of the gifts of the Holy Spirit I read was by Msgr. Arthur Tonne and it goes as follows: -Wisdom is that gift which helps us raise our minds above the passing things of this earth to focus on things that are eternal. -Understanding leads us to search and discover the truths God has revealed to us. It also helps us know the meaning of those truths. -Counsel is like a divine compass that helps us know what will work best for the glory of God, the saving of our souls and that of our neighbors in times of problems and uncertainties. -Fortitude means courage, the courage needed to keep the laws of God and of His Church. -Knowledge is that gift which helps us judge correctly regarding created things and our correct relationships with them. -Piety is the desire, love and devotion to please God in everything we do. -Fear of the Lord is a gift which helps us dread to offend God, who loves us.

Having known what the gifts of the Holy Spirit are, what are the fruits of these gifts, that is, what actions do these gifts of the Holy Spirit produce in us? Though Saint Paul in his Letter to the Galatians chapter 5, verse 22 to 23, today’s second reading points out 9 fruits of the Holy Spirit, the tradition of the Catholic Church teaches us that there are 12 fruits of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and they are: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, and chastity.

My dear friends in Christ, the gifts of the Holy Spirit that we received in Confirmation truly purifies us and penetrates our lives as God’s love for us. These gifts also help us understand the teachings of Christ by sanctifying our souls and strengthening us to fulfill our mission of witnessing to Christ and proclaiming His gospel to the world. So let us pray that the gifts of the Holy Spirit we have received in Confirmation may bring about docility in our lives; help and assist us to pray better, and unite us with Christ who suffered to saved us.