The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit & Their Meaning

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The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit is a concept in Catholicism. The gifts refer to the seven graces bestowed upon Catholics who follow their faith correctly. The gifts -- wisdom, piety, fear of the Lord, understanding, counsel, knowledge and fortitude -- are outlined in the Bible in Isaiah, chapter 11, verses 2-3. Catholics are encouraged to use these gifts in daily life. Gifts come as a byproduct of living a spiritually pure life, and also through the sacrament of confirmation, a Catholic rite of passage.

1 The Gift of Wisdom

Isaiah teaches that followers of Christ will enjoy wisdom, which is the ability to discern right from wrong and to seek justice. Wisdom speaks to the ability to use good judgment, and is grounded in life experience, reflection and integrating life's hard lessons. Catholics believe that one way to practice this gift is to view the body as the sacred property of God.

2 The Gift of Understanding

Understanding is the gift of discernment and insight. It helps followers to correctly perceive situations. Catholics teach that understanding can be practiced through learning their faith, and praying for, and carrying out God's purpose in life.

3 The Gift of Counsel

Counsel refers to the ability to both give and receive good advice, to guide and be guided by others, to encourage and be encouraged. Followers of the faith are taught that if they remain spiritually righteous, others will look up to them and seek their counsel. A way to benefit from this gift is to seek out church elders and priests who can provide spiritual guidance in time of need.

4 The Gift of Knowledge

Knowledge refers to being able to educate oneself and build up a base of information from which to operate in the world. The Bible encourages followers to employ knowledge for the good of all humanity. One way Catholics encourage exercising the gift of knowledge is to know and stay true to long-term goals.

5 The Gift of Fortitude

Fortitude is another word for strength and refers to spiritual rather than physical strength. Fortitude is the ability to commit to God despite temptations or external pressures to the contrary. Fortitude is also the ability to endure suffering and hardship in the name of following God's commandments. To exercise fortitude, Catholics put their relationship with Christ first in their lives, no matter what arises.

6 The Gift of Piety

Piety is another word for devotion and is the demonstration of commitment to faith. A pious person is one who lives a sin-free, moral life, and who surrenders his own will to that of God. Catholics believe that piety involves stepping out of your own way in order to follow God's calling.

7 The Gift of Fear of the Lord

Christians believe that a certain degree of fear of God will help followers lead a moral life. Fear can also be interchanged with awe or reverence, which encourage followers to pay devotion to God. Fearo of the Lord is apparent when followers try not to do anything that would cause them to separate from God.

Parker Janney is a web developer and writer based in Philadelphia. With a Master of Arts in international politics, she has been ghostwriting for several underground publications since the late 2000s, with works featured in "Virtuoso," the "Philadelphia Anthropology Journal" and "Clutter" magazine.