By Kaelanne Jordan
Faithful will not come to the “fullness of our humanity” without the gifts of the Holy Spirit, said Bishop Clyde Harvey of St Georges-in-Grenada.
He stated the seven gifts are: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord are still being “poured out” for all time and Christians are “always” in need of these gifts.
The initial experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit was never meant to be a one-time historical event that occurred over two thousand years ago on the Day of Pentecost, one of the most important events in the life of the Church.
According to Deborah de Rosia of the Eternal Light Community, the Church was birthed in power of the Holy Spirit who gives to us the gifts to be used for the building up of the Body of Christ. These spiritual gifts, de Rosia emphasised “definitely” occur today.
Christianity.com classifies spiritual gifts into three categories: ministry gifts, manifestation gifts and motivation gifts.
Asked to expound on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, are there seven or nine, de Rosia responded, “it depends on what you’re looking at.” She explained the Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks of seven gifts, however the seventh gift, piety, is not listed in Isaiah 11.
The gift of piety, referred to as the gift of sonship, is the relationship between each baptised person and God and the willingness to worship and serve God. Because Jesus was Son of God, “there was no need for Him to have the gift of piety.”
However, de Rosia underscored Christians all “need” this gift to be able to relate to God as our Father, to relate as brothers and sisters in Christ and to cry out Abba Father.
She further explained there are more than nine gifts according to the Pauline teaching. She referred to 1 Corinthians 12, which speaks of nine gifts and in Romans 12, “a whole host of other gifts.”
“In Corinthians 12, there you have the spiritual gifts, beginning in verse 1. In verse 1, I call them the URP gifts: U- Utterance, R- Revelation and P- Power gifts.”
De Rosia expained under the Utterance gifts are: the gift of tongues, prophecy and the gift of interpretation; Revelational gifts – gift of discernment, word of knowledge and word of wisdom; Power – gift of healing, miracles and faith.
She added in Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians he speaks of other gifts – faith, hope and love,“And he says the greatest of these is love and he has a whole song on the gift of love in Chapter 13. Chapter 14 he says first you love and strive for the spiritual gifts.”
De Rosia highlighted when the Church was born at Pentecost, it was “overflowing” with graces. She referenced Jesus operated with spiritual gifts everywhere He went and preached.
His spiritual teachings, de Rosia emphasised, were always accompanied by “signs and wonders and miracles” that brought people into a place of recognising the presence and power of God.
Recalling Scripture, de Rosia mentioned the Holy Spirit worked in Peter, a shy guy, who later began his preaching ministry. “…and Paul himself would say I pray in tongues more than anyone of you,” (1 Cor 14:18).
Adding to the discourse, Bishop Harvey commented the gift of tongues has been “a real experience” for many. “What we know psychologically is that in any state of heightened excitement our speech can become garbled. That is a natural result. This is one reason why it must be interpreted,” the bishop said.
He however said to force tongues is “always wrong.” The bishop elaborated, “One may encourage tongue speaking if one knows that the gift is given, but one can never force somebody to create tongues in themselves.”
De Rosia cited that Luke’s Gospel Chapter 11 makes it “very clear” that there is no child who asks his father for a bread and the father will give him a stone or he would ask his father for an egg and the father will give him a serpent instead etc.
“So when we pray, we ask God at Confirmation to give us the gift of the Holy Spirit, the bishop’s hands are laid on us for the releasing of the Holy Spirit.”
She gave the example in the Acts of the Apostles when Paul went to Ephesus and encountered a group of 12 men.
“And he asked them in whose baptism have you been baptised? And what did they say, baptism of John and he said and what about the Holy Spirit and they said they have not even heard there was such a thing as the Holy Spirit. And what did Paul do? Paul laid hands on them, prayed with these guys and they all began to speak in tongues. It did not say they spoke in tongues another time but certainly they manifested in the speaking of tongues,” de Rosia said.
Responding to the question of whether these manifestations are more present in Pentecostal and Charismatic movements, de Rosia replied, “not really.”
“…I want to say we are dealing with a Church that is more hierachial than charismatic and while we are supposed to be one, in a sense that, that is the Church, the Church must have structure and the Church must manifest its gifts,” de Rosia stressed.
She shared of her experience having recently returned from Africa, where speaking in tongues and having long moments of praise and silence are the “norm” in their Eucharistic celebrations.
De Rosia observed persons are “more likely” to allow this gift to flow at a Mass for a Charismatic rally or healing service.
Asked to share some advice to persons who may be resistant or wanting to know more about the gifts of Spirit, de Rosia urged faithful to simply listen to the Holy Spirit in their lives, and seek knowledge and counsel from appropriate channels and communites within the archdiocese.
“I’ll like to see all of us really experience the grace and power of Pentecost in whatever way God wants us to renew the life of every individual,” de Rosia said.