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What Happens at the Rite of Confirmation: The 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit Explain

Apr 19, 2016 By Laura Jean Rabiipour

The Sacrament of Confirmation is a sacrament of anointing by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is one of the three Persons of the Holy Trinity; he is the comforter and helper that Jesus promised to send his Apostles, who came to them on the day of Pentecost.

The sacrament of Confirmation is the bestowal of Pentecost into the soul of every baptized Christian, and it is final sacrament of initiation into the Catholic Church. The bishop or priest prays for those being confirmed to receive the Holy Spirit and his Seven Gifts.

What are the "Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit" and what do they mean?

During the Rite of Confirmation the bishop or priest who administers the sacrament lays their hands upon those who are to be confirmed and says:

“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.”

The 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit

This rite marks each person with a spiritual seal. The Seven Gifts that are bestowed “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."

Why are there seven? The answer is that God has revealed this about the nature of the Holy Spirit in Sacred Scripture: "And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: the spirit of wisdom, and of understanding, the spirit of counsel, and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge, and of godliness. And he shall be filled with the spirit of the fear of the Lord. (Isaiah 11:2-3)."

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The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit Explained

 

a3The Gift of 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.

 

a2The Gift of 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.

 

a1The Gift of 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.

 

a6The Gift of Courage/Fortitude 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.

 

a8The Gift of Knowledge is awareness of 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 the temptations that we face, and to discern whether to give in or live a life worthy of God’s approval.

 

a7The Gift of Piety or reverence is our obedience to God and our willingness to serve him. It is not just obedience through a sense of duty or obligation, but rather obedience out of love and devotion. It facilitates a deeper respect and honor for God and His Church.

 

a4The Gift of Wonder and Awe/Fear of the Lord makes us aware of the glory and majesty of God. This gift is also synonymous with the "Fear of the Lord", in which we dread sin and fear offending God. We fear displeasing God and losing our connection with him because of our love for Him. Wonder and awe increases our desire to draw closer to God and depart from sin.

If you've received the Sacrament of ?Confirmation?, you have these seven supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit. Remember whose you are!

 

This article has been updated and was originally published in April 2014. © The Catholic Company. All rights reserved.

Comments

Ultimate Axolotl says
Jan 26 2019 4:05PM
Thank you sooo much! Easy to understand and helpful for my Religious Education HW! (This may be helpful when doing my confirmation!). All I wonder is at what age can I...
Ana Maria says
Dec 30 2018 2:39AM
Thanks so much for this easy resource to teach and understand the gifts of the holy spirit. I teach Confirmation class and this is always a difficult subject.
Nicole says
Nov 23 2018 10:16AM
Great article! I really learnt a lot on this subject. Love the interpretations of each gift. Thank you for being specific and detailed, everything was simple and deep at the same time!

Please continue writing about these sort of subjects : )
christina marie ross says
Nov 28 2017 12:06AM
i dont see where is two posted are missing about " the gift of fear of god and fortitude are not there " ?
Hi Christina, there are different ways of describing the same gifts. The post has been updated to clear the confusion!
Bert Dayego says
Nov 22 2017 8:40PM
Praise God for this article. Now i know the difference between the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit Amd that weitten under corinthian 1. This is really helpful in living a spiritual life
Josie says
Oct 15 2017 3:39PM
Hi! I am 53 years old and preparing for confirmation next Spring (although I was baptized as an infant, I was raised a Jehovah's Witness so feel "new" to Catholicism). Thank you for the beautiful explanation of the gifts. I will leep a copy in my wallet. ?
Sarah says
Aug 30 2017 3:54PM
Hey there! Great post! Our school is working to put together visuals about the Holy Spirit this year and I was wondering where you found the image of the dove with flames explaining the Gifts of the Holy Spirit? I'm looking for the source to see if we can get a copy printed. Thank you for your help.

Peace, Sarah
David says
Jul 31 2017 3:05AM
Hi

I am trying to help my son complete his confirmation homework. He has these two questions we are stuck on and are struggling to decipher. Maybe you can help.

In relationship to confirmation why is pentacost so important.

What is the effect of recieving the gifts of the holy spirit.

Thanks
Hi David, the answer is mentioned in this post: "The sacrament of Confirmation is the bestowal of Pentecost into the soul of every baptized Christian, and it is final sacrament of initiation into the Catholic Church. The bishop or priest prays for those being confirmed to receive the Holy Spirit and his Seven Gifts." What happened at Pentecost to the Blessed Mother and the Apostles is what happens in the soul at Confirmation. As far as the effects of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, you can read our post on that here: https://www.catholiccompany.com/getfed/5-effects-sacrament-confirmation/. Hopefully this helps!
Ppp saint Saint says
Jun 29 2017 9:36AM
This teaching will satisfy most people. And make them feel like they know more. But really the 7 gifts is the ability to function as a prophetic voice with varying applications. Or as saint Paul said. Edification exhortation and comfort. A rahma word .

But catholics are not taught to be prophetic . so these revelations are not realized by most people.
Allan Boyd says
May 22 2017 9:43PM
What the gifts of the Holy Spirit in the Book of Corinthians.
Hi Allan, the gifts of the Holy Spirit mentioned in Corinthians are spiritual gifts - that is, special graces that are given to certain individuals in a greater measure than others, for the benefit of others. The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit given at Confirmation, as discussed in this article, are given to all Christians by virtue of receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation. Both have their origin in the Holy Spirit; the difference is that the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit is actual sanctifying grace in the soul of the person who receives it. The other spiritual gifts mentioned in Corinthians are actual graces that some are given as God sees fit to distribute his gifts for the sanctification of the Church in general.
Thank you for the teaching on the gifts of the Holy Spirit - the reference made however is not correct. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are explained in 1 Corinthians 12: 7-11 this is the correct reference to the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

We also know that Isaiah 11:2 also speaks however of the seven spirits of God ( this is confirmed in Revelations 1:4 ; 3:1;4:5; and 5:6.....however these 7 spirits of God are one Spirit of God
Hi Gugu, the reference is correct. The Catholic Church teaches that there are 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit (mentioned above) which are bestowed in the Sacrament of Confirmation. They are different from the gifts mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12: 7-11 in that Confirmation bestows sanctifying grace, that is, a participation in God's divine life.
Thank you for this post in your email, My name is Gary and this coming Easter i shall be making my holy commuinion & confirmation, baptism & reconciliation. I am so very Happy to become of a wonderful Catholic christian Family! Again thank you for this post as i am still learning the Catholic fath. May GOD continue to Bless you and all your works forever, Amen :)
Stewart Martinson says
Mar 23 2017 10:59AM
Someone is totally confused. Where is any of this in the Bible? Where, in scripture, is any of this stated or shown to occur when a person gives his life to God? If teachings can not be substantiated by the Bible then they are more than likely the traditions of men and Jesus condemned the traditions of men, especially when they contradict with His Word and in this case, this teaching does.
Hi Stewart, to better understand the doctrine of the Catholic Church, which originates with the Apostles, please read the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In this book you will find copious references to Sacred Scripture and explanations for what the Catholic Church teaches and why. You can find the Catechism of the Catholic Church online at the Vatican website, or you can purchase a copy here: https://www.catholiccompany.com/catechism-catholic-church-osv-hc-sc-i713/.
Steven Sallwasser says
Mar 20 2017 9:34AM
I am well aware of the CCC being part of the teaching Magisterium of the Catholic Church. I have read it cover to cover more than once and like one of our Cardinals has stated can be done in a year's time if you simply read two pages per day. Failing to include the Biblical references from CCC 1831 make it appear that this is man made teaching when it is anything but.

We need to pray for people to receive the gift of faith the most important gift from the Holy Spirit.
Richard Elbert says
Feb 18 2017 12:15PM
A big thanks to Laura Jean Rabiipour for her article of April 19, 2016, regarding the Rite of Confirmation, that has increased my desire to become a better sponsor for my candidate.
The seven spirits you speak of in Isaiah are referring to Jesus Christ Himself (read and understand verse 1) and the nine gifts of the Spirit given to us are found in ICor 12:8-10. We must consider the context of the scripture we are studying.
Hi Michael, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Sacrament of Confirmation "increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us" (CCC 1303) and these gifts are seven in number: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. They belong in their fullness to Jesus Christ (CCC 1831) and are increased in the Christian in a special way through Confirmation.
Girl says
Sep 1 2016 12:55AM
Thank you so much! Really helped!
James says
Jul 29 2016 12:49AM
This was great for me it helped me learn how to to the seven gifts
Stephen says
Jul 28 2016 11:08AM
This article saved me. I didn't have time to prepare my confirmation lesson today. Thank-you for such a great article.
Thank you Stephen, that's what we're here for!
What does it mean that when, as adults, you go to receive the Holy Spirit and the Priest/Bishop (not sure who he was in this instance) states that the Holy Spirit denies you? Or doesn't want you? Can they say that?? Curious! Thanks!
Hi Joanna, where does this happen? It is not part of any rite in the Catholic Church.
AShely Berioso says
Jul 20 2016 7:18AM
Thank you
Marlee Lee says
Jun 17 2016 1:10AM
ths ws vry usful

thnk yu

sincryly

Marlee-Lee
kiplimo jacob says
May 6 2016 1:44PM
thank u much. this siplicity helped me to teach my pupils well.
Thanks for this article...I am sharing it on the Detroit Mass Mob facebook page..
how to receive above . please guide me.
Hi Sai, the gifts of the Holy Spirit are bestowed in the two Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. If you have not received both of these Sacraments, please talk to a Catholic priest!

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Commentary by

Laura Jean Rabiipour Laura Jean Rabiipour

Laura Jean is a cradle Catholic who grew up in the frozen tundra of Minneapolis, MN. Searching for warmer weather she flew south and attended Belmont Abbey College. There, she cultivated a deeper love for Our Mother Mary, southern life, and a boy named Nicholas who will soon be her husband. She was instructed by her loving folks to grow her faith and when possible to share it, a mission she is now working to accomplish at The Catholic Company.

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