When I was baptized on September 29, 1940, I became an adopted son(daughter) of the Father. Naturally, I did not know what was happening, but, consistent with my human nature, I received seven gifts from the Holy Spirit, gifts I still use to this day.

My Holy Spirit (notice how the Holy Spirit has become my go-to person when I am weary and heavily burdened) has a neat way of keeping me humble (fear of the Lord) and obedient (conversio morae) to what God is telling me if I but can listen with the ear of the Heart.

I share with you some of those gifts I have used to help me walk through the minefields of worldly temptations and false promises.

A MAP — Jesus gave me a map of sorts to help me move from my false self to that of one which elevates my humanity to what it is intended by its nature. This map is one that Christ gave me at Baptism, although it is a book, The Sacred Scriptures. The thing about a map is one needs to know how to interpret it. Because humans are tainted with original sin, everyone can say what it means and think it comes from God. Not so. Everyone receives a map at birth. Baptism is the time when we get the code to interpret it. Of course, I couldn’t use it until I had endured the effects of original sin through all those years. This code is The Christ Principle, the stone rejected by the builders who have become the cornerstone. This map has primacy for each one to die to self so that we can rise again and again with Christ. Not everyone knows how to read it correctly. That is the purpose of the Church, which does not look back to the time of the Apostles and ask, “What does the bible mean?” but instead views what people meant in each age as this gathering of diverse believers moved forward, sometimes with great peril and confusion about the way, what is accurate, and what life will get us to heaven.

A CANDLE– I have always been associated with candles, although I cannot say I have been aware of their presence. The Holy Spirit has provided me with a single candle, one that lasts a lifetime. When this candle burns down to nothing, my life will have been concluded, and a new candle is lit before it goes out. This is the Lumen Christi, the light of Christ. It is the eternal flame that is indeed infinite. Christ lit my candle at Baptism in my heart, and it is fueled by me each time I receive the Eucharist, seek forgiveness for my sinfulness, or place myself in the presence of Christ, the eternal light. Christ has only one request of me; don’t let your light go out, even in the midst of the winds of unbelief and the rain of false beliefs. This candle burns as the eternal vigil light next to each tabernacle as a sign that we continue to wail for Christ, the second Elijah, to come again in glory. This is the light that shines inside each believer as a result of Faith so that people may see your good works and glorify their Heavenly Father. (Matthew 5:16)

A PAIR OF GLASSES — At Baptism, there is the equivalent of a polar shift, where I must plunge into the unknown (unless I am an infant) and come up with a whole new perspective on life. I am now a pilgrim in my former physical and mental universe. All words, all events, each day becomes one where my reconsecrated purpose is to seek God where I am, as I am. When I look out at reality, I now struggle each day to “have in me the mind of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5) The Holy Spirit has given me a gift at Baptism, one made operational through my Lay Cistercian spiritual blanket of practices, a pair of glasses with which I can see not only the physical and mental universes (the World) but also what is invisible to the eye but accessible through Faith. I use these glasses in my Lectio Divina, Liturgy of the Hours, Eucharist, Penance, and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament to go to a level of abandonment impossible for those who do not see, such as the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

A SHOVEL — Aa a newly Baptized person, the Holy Spirit gives me a shovel to dig away the dirt of unbelief. Once Christ has accepted me, I begin the lifelong task of keeping Christ-centered in my life. Original Sin, although Baptism has removed this stain and allowed me to begin to gradually practice what it means to be an adopted son (daughter) of the Father, does not take away the toil and struggle to keep my Christ Principle centered. The Devil works 24/7 to wear down my resolve to love others as Christ has loved me. This shovel allows me to dig down (up) deeper into what I call vertical prayer. There are layers upon layers of depths to sitting next to Christ in my upper room (Matthew 6:5) and just being there with Christ. Even just sitting there next to Christ is part of the intelligent progression of time and finality. I now realize that sitting next to Christ in silence and solitude, I dig deeper with my shovel to discover that Christ’s heartbeat and my heartbeat are one. This is giving to the Father the gift of my free will, my heart, my obedience, my silence, and my consecration through Lay Cistercian promises to become more like Christ and less like my false self. Shovels are indispensable.

CREDIT CARD — God’s credit card is a gift I receive at Baptism. I use it throughout my lifetime to buy gas, and food, to fix things broken, and to help me when I need roadside service or go to the hospital (the Sacraments). I am unable to transverse the dangers posed by Original Sin by myself. I need God’s credit card to provide me with the energy that my human nature is not designed to produce. This comes from doing good works (Chapter 4 of St. Benedict’s Rule) so that I have the strength to give glory to the Father, through the Son, with the energy of the Holy Spirit. This is the card I stick in the gates of heaven to gain admittance. It records all the thoughts and things I do each day to try to become more human as my nature intended.

There are more gifts, to be sure, but these are five that I use frequently.


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