Confirmation-The Seven Fold Grace of God -Fortitude
In the Catechism of the Council of Trent we read: Quote “In Confirmation is contained the true and proper nature of a Sacrament has always been acknowledged by the Catholic Church.” the Catechism goes on to say, “The truth of this doctrine St. Clement could not confirm in stronger terms than when he says, 'All should hasten without delay to be born again (baptized) unto God, and afterwards to be signed (confirmed) by the Bishop.” that is to receive the seven fold grace of the Holy Ghost; for, as has been handed down to us from St. Peter, and as the other Apostles taught in obedience to the command of Our Lord, he who culpably and voluntarily, and not from necessity, neglects to receive this Sacrament, cannot possibly be a perfect Christian.' To be a perfect and complete Christian one needs to be sealed at the day of their confirmation with the seven fold grace of the Holy Ghost.”
What is the seven fold grace of the Holy Ghost? And what is it used for in our Christian life?
The seven fold grace of the Holy Spirit that, initially, is magnified in us at our confirmation, and has unique skills and abilities given by the Holy Spirit, to faithful followers of Christ, to serve God for the common benefit of his people, the Church, and for reaching others, out side of the Church, for Christ. The seven fold grace, referred to by the Catechism, is described in Isaiah 11:1-3, where it mentions wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, and Piety and the fear of the Lord.
The seven fold grace of the Spirit, mentioned in Isaiah, are simply God empowering faithful Christians to do what He has called us to do.
The Catholic Church list them as:
6. Piety -Godliness
7. Fear of the Lord
In our last lesson we discussed one of the parts of the seven fold gift of the Holy Ghost called Counseling. And we said, that simply put, this gift, as it is called in the Bible, is defined as- To give advice or deliberate opinion to another. To exhort, warn, admonish, or instruct. To recommend.
Understand that everyone is given the seven fold graces at our baptism. But what our confirmation does is enhance certain ones in our lives and it is different for everyone. Romans 12:4-8, says “For as in one body we have many members, but all the members have not the same office: So we being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. And having different gifts, according to the grace that is given us....” One of those gifts or graces that is mentioned in the Douay Rheims version of the bible is carefulness, or as in other versions, diligence, which in Isaiah 11:1-3, otherwise uses the word fortitude.
Now Concerning the grace of fortitude sometimes called endurance:
Fortitude is the inward strength to withstand stress to accomplish God’s best. Fortitude is associated with the physical stamina required for a race. However, the character quality of Fortitude is much deeper than physical stamina. It includes the strength that comes by rejoicing in the reproaches that come as we follow the ways of God.
It is described as, “to undergo hardship, to hold oneself up against, to put up with to endure with patience.”
To have fortitude is to tenaciously hold on until a goal is accomplished. Jacob clung to the angel and declared, “I will not let thee go except thou bless me.” God not only blessed him but affirmed, “Thy name shall not be called Jacob, but Israel: for if thou hast been strong against God, how much more shalt thou prevail against men?” (Genesis 32:28).
What Are We to Endure?
The following passages explain the types of trials we are to endure:
- Endure hardness—“Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus” (II Timothy 2:3).
- Endure in all things—“But be thou vigilant, endure in all things...” (II Timothy 4:5). “Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation, which is in Christ Jesus, with heavenly glory.” (II Timothy 2:10).
- Endure persecutions and tribulations—“… that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which also you suffer. ” (II Thessalonians 1:5).
- Endure undeserved suffering—“For this is thankworthy, if for conscience towards God, a man endure sorrows, suffering wrongfully.” (I Peter 2:19).
- Endure chastening—“Persevere under discipline. God dealeth with you as with his sons; for what son is there, whom the father doth not correct? ” (Hebrews 12:7).
- Endure temptations—“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he hath been proved, he shall receive a crown of life, which God hath promised to them that love him. ” (James 1:12).
How Do We Endure?
Endurance is based on hope. A runner will endure rigorous and painful training because of the hope that he will win the race. Jesus endured the cross and despised the shame associated with it for the joy of knowing that His death would conquer Satan and bring redemption to mankind for all eternity. (See Hebrews 12:2.) The believer’s hope is that by enduring trials he will experience a greater measure of spiritual power in this life, as well as rewards in heaven.
How Does Truth Motivate Endurance?
Truth sets us free from the destructive attitudes and influences that diminish endurance. When trials and temptations come, we are to meet and endure them with the following four responses:
- Thank God for each trial.
We can be thankful for all things, because all things come from the hand of God. They are for our benefit and can teach us character. They also “work together unto good, to such as, according to his purpose, are called to be saints.” (Romans 8:28). Job endured a great affliction, and he understood this important point: “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away: as it hath pleased the Lord so is it done: blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21)
2. Rejoice in all things.
Once we recognize the benefits that God intends through our trials, we can rejoice in them. If we lack wisdom to discern these benefits, we can ask God for it and He will give it to us. (See James 1:5)
3. Cry out when necessary.
Some situations cannot or should not be endured and require us to cry out to God for deliverance. “And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” (Psalm 50:15).
4. Overcome by doing good.
“Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil by good.” (Romans 12:21).
Personal Evaluation: How Strong Is Your Fortification?
- Do you live as a soldier who is in the most critical spiritual war ever waged, or as a civilian in a time of peace, prosperity, and pleasure?
- Do you rejoice when rejected by those who do not follow the ways of God, or do you complain that you have to suffer because of your identification with God?
- Do you rejoice in being falsely accused and blamed for things you did not do, or do you become reactionary, defensive, and bitter toward those who question your integrity?
- Do you accept God’s chastening for things you have done wrong, or do you become discouraged and want to give up on the Christian life?
- Do you resist temptation and bring every thought into captivity, or do you easily surrender to the lusts of the flesh and the lusts of the mind?
I pray that our lesson today on gives you deep thoughts about the Gift of Fortitude from the Spirit of the Lord. the basic point I want us to get about the Gift of Fortitude from the Spirit of the Lord is this-God wants us to look to Him for what we cannot do ourselves.
Let us pray. Father, I repent of all my sins. Forgive me Lord. I trust you Lord. Help me, your child, as you have helped many. Rest the gift of fortitude on me so that I can stand against all evil that try to weaken me. As your child, I do not want to be spineless in your ways. Spinelessness does not glorify you. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.