Below please find a Vatican Radio translation of the Holy Father’s general audience catechesis:
Dear Brothers and Sisters ,
Today we begin a series of reflections on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the soul, the lifeblood of the Church and of every Christian: He is God’s Love, who makes our hearts his home and enters into communion with us. The Holy Spirit is always with us, always in us, in our hearts.
The Spirit himself is “God’s gift” par excellence (cf. Jn 4:10) a gift from God, and in turn communicates different spiritual gifts to those who welcome him. The Church identifies seven, a number that symbolically speaks of fullness, completeness; we learn these when preparing for the sacrament of Confirmation and we invoke them in the ancient prayer called the “Sequence of the Holy Spirit” the gifts of the Holy Spirit are: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude , knowledge, piety and fear of God.
1 . The first gift of the Holy Spirit , according to this traditional list, is wisdom. It is not merely human wisdom, no, the fruit of knowledge and experience. In the Bible we are told that, at the time of his coronation as king of Israel , God asked Solomon what gift he wanted to receive. Solomon did not ask for wealth, success, fame , or a long and happy life, instead he asked for “an understanding heart that knows how to distinguish good from evil” ( 1 Kings 3:9). This is wisdom: it is the grace of being able to see everything with the eyes of God. It is simply this: Seeing the world…situations, conjunctures, problems, everything with God’s eyes. This is wisdom. Often we see things as we want to see them or according to our heart, with love, with hate, with envy… no this is not God’s eyes. Wisdom is what the Holy Spirit does within us so that we can see everything with God’s eyes. This is the gift of wisdom.
2 . Obviously this gift comes from intimacy with God. For our intimate relationship with God. From our relationship as children with a Father. And the Holy Spirit – when we have this relationship – gives us the gift of wisdom. When we are in communion with the Lord , it is as if the Spirit transfigures our heart and helps it to perceive all his warmth and predilection.
3 . The Holy Spirit also makes the Christian “wise”. This is, however , not in the sense that he or she has an answer for everything, or knows everything, but in the sense that he or she “knows” of God, how God acts, they know when something is of God and when it is not. They know this, they have this wisdom that God gives our heart. The heart of the wise man has this taste of God. It is so important that our communities have Christians such as these! Everything about them speaks of God and becomes a beautiful and vital sign of His presence and His love. And it is something we cannot improvise, something we cannot obtain by our own merits: it is a gift that God gives to those who are docile to His Holy Spirit. We have the Holy Spirit in our hearts we can listen to him or not. If we listen to him he teaches us this path of wisdom, he gifts us wisdom which is seeing with God’s eyes, listening with God’s ears, loving with God’s heart, judging things with Gods’ judgment. These are the things that Holy Spirit gifts us and we can all have this. We just have to ask the Holy Spirit.
Think of a mother at home with her children. One does something and the other thinks otherwise and the poor mother is torn between the two with the children’s problems; when the mother is tired and she shouts at her children, is that wisdom? I ask you is that wisdom – what do you say? No! Instead when the mother takes her child to one side and gently rebukes him, and explains this is God’s wisdom! Yes! And this is what the Holy Spirit gives us in life.
In a marriage for example, the couple argue, then they won’t look at one another, or if they do it is with anger…Is that God’s wisdom? No! Instead when they say let the storm pass, let’s make peace! That’s wisdom, that’s the gift of wisdom, that comes to our homes, to children, to all of us! And it cannot be learned, it is a gift of the Holy Spirit! This is why we must ask the Lord to gift us the Holy Spirit and the gift of wisdom that teaches us to see with God’s eyes, to feel with God’s heart to speak with God’s words! And with this wisdom we can move forward, build the family, the Church and we can all be sanctified.Let us ask for this grace of wisdom today. Let us ask Our Lady, who is the Seat of Wisdom, for this gift.
Below please find the English language summary and greetings
Dear Brothers and Sisters: Today we begin a series of catechesis on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is himself the “gift of God” (cf. Jn 4:10), the presence of God’s love in the Church and in our hearts. Based on a messianic prophecy of Isaiah, the Church has traditionally distinguished seven gifts of the Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord. The first of these is wisdom. As a spiritual gift, this wisdom is an interior light, a grace enabling us to contemplate all things with the eyes of God and a heart docile to the promptings of the Spirit. Born of closeness to God in prayer and loving communion, it helps us to recognize with joyful gratitude his providential plan for all things. Christian wisdom is thus the fruit of a supernatural “taste” for God, an ability to savour his presence, goodness and love all around us. How much our world needs the witness of such wisdom today! Let us pray for this gift, so that, rejoicing in the Holy Spirit, we can be true men and women of God, transparently open to his own wisdom and the power of his saving love.
I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims present at today’s Audience, including those from England, Sweden, Norway, Finland, the Philippines, Zimbabwe, Australia and the United States. Upon you and your families I invoke the gifts of the Holy Spirit for a fruitful celebration of this coming Holy Week. God bless you all!