During the Rite of Confirmation the bishop and the priests who are administering the sacrament lay their hands upon those who are to be confirmed and say:
“All powerful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by water and the Holy Spirit
you freed your sons and daughters from sin
And gave them new life.
Send your Holy Spirit upon them
to be their helper and guide.
Give them the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of right judgment and courage,
the spirit of knowledge and reverence.
Fill them with the spirit of wonder and awe in your presence.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.”
It is here that 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit are listed. These 7 gifts “complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them” (CCC 1831). According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “the effect of the sacrament of Confirmation is the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost.”
The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Wisdom is our ability to value spiritual things over worldly ones. It enables us to desire the things of God and correctly order the things in our life. This gift helps us view the world through God’s perspective and the light of our faith. It instills a desire to contemplate the things of God.
Understanding helps us grasp the truths of the faith more easily and profoundly. Our human intellect cannot grasp all of God’s mysteries, but through the gift of understanding we can be lead to truth, even when we do not fully comprehend. This gift strengthens our insight through prayer, scripture, and the sacraments.
Right Judgment/Counsel acknowledges the difference between right and wrong and bestows proper judgment. A person with right judgment avoids sin and leads a life for Christ. Counsel inspires us to speak up and encourage others to do the correct thing. It bestows upon us prudence, allowing us to act promptly and rightly in the face of difficult situations.
Courage sustains our decision to follow the will of God in any situation. It allows us to stand up and defend our faith, even when threatened by bodily injury or death. This gift allows us to be steadfast in our decisions to do well and to endure evil even when we do not want to.
Knowledge is awareness to God’s plan. It is not simply an accumulation of facts but rather an understanding of God’s purpose and how we ought to respond. Knowledge helps bring to light temptations and to discern whether to give in or live a life worthy of God’s approval.
Reverence is our obedience to God and our willingness to serve him. It is not just obedience through a sense of duty but rather obedience out of love and devotion. It facilitates a deeper respect for God and the Church.
Wonder and awe makes us aware of the glory and majesty of God. This gift is also synonymous with “Fear of the Lord”, in which we dread sin and fear offending God. We fear displeasing God and losing our connection with him. Wonder and awe increases our desire to draw closer to God and depart from sin.