When I was from the writings of St. Catherine of Siena (her dialogues with God) today, one phrase, in particular, struck me:
“RECEIVING FULLY THE HOLY SPIRIT”
In the First Book of Kings, King Solomon is told by God to ask him for anything, and it will be given to him. Solomon asked for the gift of Wisdom/Understanding, and it was given to him. As a result, Solomon has been considered for centuries to be the epitome of Wisdom. The Wisdom of Solomon is often cited.
But, if we read further in Scripture, we find that Solomon didn’t always use this gift and, as a result, made unfortunate life decisions that distanced him from God. The influence of his pagan wife drew him away from the one true God. By not “fully” using his gift had he “received fully the Holy Spirit?”
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus speaks of a man who found a treasure/a pearl and hid it in a field he had bought. What good did the treasure–the pearl–do him hidden away in a field? Often times pearl is used in analogy for wisdom.
In Catholic theology Wisdom, along with Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, and Wonder, are called the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Further, in Catholic theology, we are said to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit in Baptism, and we receive the fullness of these gifts in Confirmation. That said, if we have received the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, we have already received the “Wisdom of Solomon.” In Baptism and Confirmation, we have been endowed with that precious gift; we have already received the Pearl that is without price along with the other six gifts of the Holy Spirit, which flow naturally from the first gift of Wisdom.
The question remains: “Do we use them?” Have we received “fully” the Holy Spirit? It might be good that we meditate on these gifts we have received. Do we fully use them allowing them to become part of who we are? Or do we leave these precious gifts unwrapped to be opened at a later date?
When my father-in-law died, we found countless gifts under his bed and in his dresser still in their gift boxes to be used later – later never came. Is that what we are doing with our gifts of the Holy Spirit – leaving them unwrapped until later? Or do we make an attempt to understand them and make them a living part of our lives?
Gifts may be given to us, but if they are not used, they are useless. Don’t let that happen with your Holy Spirit gifts from your Baptism and Confirmation – understand them! use them! make them who you are!