We started our last class with a surprise discussion – a talk about Holy Souls. The month of November is special month to us Catholics as we remember and pray for all souls, especially family members and those who have no one to pray for them. The Church has many recorded stories of assurances of people who have gone to heaven, and it is a treasure to have such a story in our families. I had such a story in my family. I forgot to tell you about it. If you remind me, perhaps I’ll share it with you.
Speaking about Holy Souls, how do souls become holy? We spent much of our time talking about the Holy Spirit. We spoke about how St. Patrick explained the Trinity to the pagan people of Ireland by using a clover. He would show that one clover consisted of three leaves, representing the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, yet they were all were one. Oh, and we talked about how four leaf clovers were good luck because some took it as having a close relationship with Trinity.
So how does the Holy Spirit help us to become holy? The Holy Spirit comes to us in a special way through the sacrament of Confirmation. We want you to be very prepared for this great sacrament, so that when the time comes you can be receptive to all the graces it offers. In class, we used a powerful memory technique from medieval times to help people remember their catechism; namely, story imagery. Do you remember our story? Take a few moments to remember to recall all the details, and how we used it to remember the 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
How did you do? Were you good on the story? How about all of the words? Just to review, here they are once again. The 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit are…
- Fear of the Lord
We also talked about the abundance – that is, the great generosity – of God’s gift-giving. When we give a typical gift, it’s just that – the one gift. When God gives a gift, it bears fruit. The example we made was the difference between giving someone an ordinary houseplant, versus giving them a pear tree. The gift of a tree goes well beyond the tree itself, but includes it’s beauty, its shade, the song birds it attracts, each of the flowers it produces, each of the fruit season after season – and if those fruit are used wisely, a vast orchard that will last for generations. The Fruit of the Holy Spirit are…
So, now that you’ve memorized the Gifts of the Holy Spirit (and I thought the recall by those who were in class was amazing), think of someone in your family who you believe has this gifts. Here’s a hint. Think of someone who takes their Faith seriously. Take a few moments to do that now…
Now revisit the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. Would you say that the person you thought of bears these fruit? If the Gifts you noticed truly came from the Holy Spirit, you will see many of the Fruits as well!
These are all Gifts and Fruit which you want to receive in their fullness as well. The more you are prepared to be receptive to these Gifts through an open heart, the greater your ability to allow these Gifts and Fruit to shape your character and your life for the better. And people will notice this goodness about you. And when your nieces and nephews are in 6th Grade Religious Education and are asked “Who would you say in your family has received the Gifts of the Holy Spirit?”, I pray that they will think of you!