Gifts of the Holy Spirit Series - COUNSEL
The Holy Spirit’s subtle “whispers” play like background music throughout our lives. Like sails on a ship, the Gifts make us available and open to the Holy Spirit’s breath.
So far, I’ve written three articles on the Gifts of the Spirit: Wisdom, Understanding, and Knowledge. Through Wisdom, we become intimate with Christ. Through Understanding, our faith is deepened. Through Knowledge, we see the human condition as it really is: beautiful, profoundly broken and sinful, but redeemed by Christ. This article is about the Gift of Counsel. Life is full of impasses and impossible situations, thanks to Adam’s fall. At times, we do not know what to say or do. We struggle to carry our own virtue. Our best judgment, and all the best advice, falls short. But God knows exactly what we should say or do, and what we should not say or not do, in any given situation. Through the Gift of Counsel, the Holy Spirit puts God’s thought in our mind, God’s action in our heart, and God’s word on our lips. Through Counsel, the Holy Spirit moves us to not only do or say the right thing, but to do or say it at the right time. Our words and actions fall fruitfully into the fertile soil of another person’s soul, with life-giving effect. When the Holy Spirit works through Counsel, we may or may not perceive it. However, if we pray daily for this Gift, we become powerful instruments of God’s grace and providence.
Counsel is a practical Gift. Pray for it especially when you are in difficult or troubling circumstances, or before important discussions, giving advice, teaching, or dealing with a “tough case.” Counsel perfects the virtue of prudence (good judgment). It produces the Beatitude, “Blessed are merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” Counsel blossoms into mercy.
A shoot will sprout from the stump of Jesse.
From his roots a branch will blossom.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of Wisdom and of Understanding,
the Spirit of Counsel and of Courage,
the Spirit of Knowledge and Fear of the Lord—
and his Delight is Fear of the Lord.