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The Holy Spirit’s Seven Gifts to the Soul

One of the best analogies given in years past describing the Presence, Power and Perfection of the Holy Spirit is a sailboat. This was before electricity, motor-driven vehicles, or the electronic world. The sailboat is an analogy used in the Middle Ages or earlier.

Imagine that you wanted to cross a lake and the distance was five miles. Ruminating upon the various options, these surfaced in your mind. Swimming? You would have to be in top shape, with great stamina, knowing how to swim against the current. A canoe? Maybe more likely than swimming! A rowboat with two rowing? More manpower and direction.  Finally, the following occurs to you. A massive Sailboat with an excellent captain and crew, but most important: seven strong, robust sails. Bingo! Of all the options, the sailboat wins the prize. However, the key to maneuvering the massive ship to shore would be detecting and discerning where and when the wind was blowing. Then the Captain would have to raise the sails to catch the wind, of course with the strength and ability of the crew men.

The Fathers of the Church offer us a symbolic interpretation of the Sailboat and Sails related to the working of the Holy Spirit and His Seven Gifts. The Sailboat is our soul. The shore is eternal life to which we all aspire and yearn! The uncertain and sometimes rough waters symbolize our struggles with the world, the flesh, and the devil that we must conquer with the help of God’s grace.

Now the Seven Sails are the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: Wisdom, Knowledge, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Piety, and Fear of the Lord. Unless these sails are raised in the right time and place, they are practically useless. The wind is the Breath of God, a term to define the Holy Spirit. The Captain of the Sailboat might be considered our will that must be directed toward the Will of the Heavenly Father. The other crew men are our spiritual friends on earth, as well as our friends in Heaven—we call them the saints.

The analogy explained, now let us strive to the best of our ability and the help of God’s grace, and the workings of the Holy Spirit, to understand the seven sails—the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

The nature of God is goodness and generous giving to all of His creatures, especially man and woman. Among the many Gifts bestowed upon us from God are the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. These Gifts God generously gives to those who want to receive them as a powerful means to arrive at the goal and purpose of our existence—Our Heavenly Home. God gives generously of Himself, but He respects our freedom. We must willingly and with docility open our hearts to these wonderful Gifts.

Read more at Catholic Exchange 

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