Monday, May 16, 2005

Fear of God—beginning of Wisdom

Last Sunday was the Feast of Pentecost. For the first time in many years, thanks to Angry Twins, I found out about the Novena to the Holy Spirit for the Seven Gifts.

I am not one who is familiar with Novenas, not having grown up steeped in Catholic tradition, and everyday it never ceases to amaze me to learn how rich is the Catholic worship tradition. EWTN explains that this Novena to the Holy Spirit is the 'oldest of all novenas' since it was first made at the direction of Our Lord Himself when He sent His apostles back to Jerusalem to await the coming of the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost. It is also still the only novena officially prescribed by the Church. Encouraged by such devotion of two thousand years, I took up the nine-day prayers.

Looking at the 'table of content', I saw that the novena first begins with a prayer to the Spirit of Fear (of God), and ends with a prayer to the Spirit of Wisdom. Forgive my naivete, for this is the first time I learned of this novena, and I think it is very, very "POD" to start such devotion rooted in the fear of God, and leading all the way to Wisdom.

"Fear of God": Fear of God is truly the beginning of our road back to Heaven, for why are we endeavoring to avoid sin and grow to know, serve, and love God, if we are not afraid of Him? Afraid of displeasing Him? Him who is all Goodness?
"Piety": St. Francis de Sales wrote that devotion to God made the martyrs of age embrace pain and torture. Piety sweetens and perfects our affection in service to God.
"Fortitude": The spirit of fortitude strengthens in times of trials and gave us courage to continue carrying our crosses after our Lord.
"Knowledge": The spirit of knowledge reveals to us the Ultimate Knowledge—that is the Truth Himself, above all the vainglory pursuit of worldly knowledge.
"Understanding": Enlightenment by the spirit of understanding nourishes our faith as we grasp the meaning of the Truth revealed to us.
"Counsel": The gift of supernatural counsel, the compass of Truth, may you always guide me to do Thy will.
"Wisdom": The gift of gifts, the apple of King Solomon's eye, wisdom reveals the mystery of the divine, increases our knowledge and love, fills our heart with joy as we strive to be united eternally with the Holy Spirit in the love of the Father and the Son.

Veni, Sancte Spiritus, veni!

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