The reception of the Holy Spirit’s gifts is not a one-time event on the day of Confirmation, so I like to look for the gifts every day. The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, described in Isaiah 11:2–3, are wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord. That’s a gift for each day of the week, so I use the calendar to organize my reflections on the Spirit’s influence in daily life.
On our home month-at-a-glance calendar, I write wisdom above the word Monday. Many people think wisdom is a gift of old age. A sage earns wisdom through life experience, right? Wisdom is much more than that; it comes from the mouths of children, teens, and all the baptized who experience the free gifts of God’s Holy Spirit. It could be an insight out of the blue. On Mondays, then, I ask myself what wisdom means to me. Who influenced me to seek God first since last Monday? God provides the insights of wisdom when we pay attention.
Tuesday becomes a day to notice the gifts of understanding we received that day. When I comprehend God’s message to me, I’ve received the gift of understanding. Who can I seek to understand as I begin Tuesday? It may demand some patience on my part. Empathy and compassion grow when I begin to understand another’s point of view.
By taping the word knowledge to a wall on Wednesday or setting it prominently on the kitchen counter, I’m reminded during meal prep to think of the Holy Spirit’s gifts to me. How does knowing the Good News make a difference to me today? Do I know Jesus well, or would today be an opportunity to seek him out more fully?
On Thursday, counsel is the word of the day. The Examen is a great tool for seeking God’s counsel. Discerning what is of God is easier if I’m not relying only on my reason, my will, and my thoughts. Whose counsel do I trust at times when I need a confirmation of a decision I’ve made? Having a spiritual director helps keep me from fooling myself, provides a sounding board for what I’m hearing in prayer, and gives my soul a friend to hold me accountable.
Friday is for fortitude, also known as courage. Some days demand more courage from me than others. How will God give me opportunities to be strong when tempted? When somewhere deep inside, I find the strength to carry out what I believe God calls me to do, that’s fortitude.
Saturday is often chore day, when I’m quietly cleaning or working outdoors. Many chores are solitary, offering me time to ask for the gift of piety. I think about the people who inspire me with their devotion to a life of prayer. I examine my daily prayer commitment and ask for the gift of devotion to God as my number one.
I think it’s fitting that fear of the Lord, also known as awe, falls on Sunday in my calendar listing, because we gather this day to share the Eucharist. What can be more awe-inspiring than Christ becoming flesh and living in me?
Before I know it, it will be Monday again, so Sunday night I check my calendar to see what’s ahead for the week. “Fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,” we read in Proverbs 9:10. Sunday’s gift is thus the start of Monday’s. As days fly by, I pray that the Holy Spirit’s gifts flow across my calendar and my year.