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Friends, today’s Gospel declares that the Son of God does not ration his gift of the Spirit. At the cathedral in Chartres, the figure of Jesus is surrounded by seven doves, symbolizing these seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. The Messiah will be filled up with all of the powers and energies of God’s Spirit.

These seven gifts have played a prominent role in our tradition, appearing in theologians as diverse as Gregory the Great, Augustine, and Thomas Aquinas. These gifts are signs that the Christian is participating in Jesus Christ. In holding up this image, therefore, the Church is asking us to meditate on the people that we are called to be: participants in Jesus.

How does one come by these gifts? We can’t really earn them or work our way toward them. But they do come from Jesus Christ, and therefore from our proximity to him through the Church and the sacraments. As we wait in joyful hope for the coming of the Lord, pray for the conformity to him that consists in the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.