High School & the Holy Spirit

Good morning students of St. John Vianney!
We are, in these next couple weeks, in a very interesting time in the Church year. Sunday we will celebrate the Ascension of the Lord: for 40 days after he rose from the dead, and really it was yesterday that he ascended. Jesus has been with his apostles, teaching them more, eating with them, teaching them how to offer Mass – But Our Lord then ascended to heaven, and for 10 days they waited for the next step. They waited for the Holy Spirit to come, to bring them alive in Faith and determination and willpower. The Holy Spirit did come, on Pentecost, and he totally changed those apostles; they had been afraid of what was ahead.
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But when the Holy Spirit came, they not only felt the courage and joy to the next step, but they also helped many others on the path to heaven.
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There is something for us to learn here; our 8th grade prepares for graduation in just over a week. Then to high school: other students, new friends, perhaps harder classes – in many ways, unknown territory, maybe some fears. These students who will begin a lot of new things in their life should realize that, like those apostles who were at first afraid of the next step, they have a special power to help them. For our 8th grade, as long as they are living in the State of Grace, the power of the Holy Spirit is with them, in them .
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The Holy Spirit gives us his Gifts – what are they? They are 7: Knowledge, Understanding, Wisdom – Counsel, Piety, Fortitude, and Fear of the Lord. How will these Gifts help our 8th graders in their new mission?
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Well – the 3 intellectual Gifts obtain for us the equivalent of experiential knowledge. They can help us to know things higher than us, not through a process of reasoning, but by means of a higher light. We are thereby able to know things almost as if we had experiential knowledge of them. This illumination gives us a sort of “intuition” or instinct to know.
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Francisca del Valle was only a poor dress-maker in the 1800’s. Yet her writings are admired by great theologians. Why? She was taught directly by the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
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Knowledge is the Gift which helps us to see the events of our lives according to the plan of God. Knowledge allows us in a moment to recognize what things will help us to find holiness.
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The Gift of Understanding allows us a sudden insight into a concept, or gives us those ‘Aha!’ moments, when the light-bulb comes on, and we get it, we finally understand.
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The Gift of Wisdom makes us love what God loves, and want what God wants. Our life then is directed only to God’s glory.
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The Gift of Counsel gives us a certain ‘instinct’ to make the right decision in difficult circumstances. This will be very helpful in high school, when the Holy Spirit will speak to our heart, and help us have good instincts for right decisions.
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The Gift of Fortitude gives a supernatural impulse to the will, enabling us to do great things joyfully and fearlessly despite obstacles. This will be very useful when peer pressure tries to pull us from God.
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The Gift of Piety helps us to love God as our dear Father, to have a child-like trust in his guidance. It leads us also to a trusting love of Mary and the saints, who are all part of the family of God.
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The Gift called Fear of the Lord is not a fear of God in the bad sense, but a fear of disobeying or displeasing God out of love for him. It makes us SO good.
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So we have the power inside to live good lives; the Holy Spirit is alive in us, and it is by his help that we can become great, no matter the situation. Every baptized person here has the Holy Spirit, 7th and 8th grade has even the special helps of the Holy Spirit from Confirmation. But let us all, this summer vacation, and in the step to high school, put all our fears aside, and call on this good Holy Spirit often.

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