Fifth rung of the Ladder Gift Counsel/ Virtue Prudence Beatitude Blessed are the merciful From the ‘Soul Institute’

Saint Thomas shows how each of the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit are linked to a particular virtue or virtues, and how this leads to one of the Beatitudes. St Thomas is showing us how to grow in virtue. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us, “The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord. They belong on their fullness to Christ, Son of David. They complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them. They make the faithful docile in readily obeying divine inspirations.”

Father Brain Bransfield in his book, ‘The Human Person’ describes the Holy Spirit gift of Counsel this way, “The person who lives as a child of God and treats others as such lives by a distinct knowledge of faith of courage. His fortitude, however, must be guided in daily actions so that his witness is directed and led according to God’s plan. The Holy Spirit’s gift of counsel inspires us to live the virtue of prudence so that the knowledge of the faith may be applied in particular circumstances…The gift of counsel guides the Christian directly to the moral good, especially through the choppy water of the passions. When inflamed by the passions, the appetites can easily tilt us in the wrong direction. So the journey to God requires special aid.”

Cardinal Maria Martini in his book, ‘The Gifts of the Holy Spirit’ writes, ” Often because of the complexity of life we are unsure and doubtful, even anguished, when faced by certain serious decision. The gift of counsel allows us to see all in the light of eternity and in what God the good Father desires. Thus it placates anguish, restores peace of heart and gives a clarity in action. Again St Thomas wrote a pregnant phrase: thanks to the gift of counsel in our acting our anxiety of doubt which was making us continually postpone without arriving at any decision is relived, calmed and soothed. Many times it happened to me that I come face to face with these paralysing doubt, particularly in young people who are confronted with important decisions (what type of studies to undertake, which person to marry.’ Naturally the gift of counsel is not a magic one, but shows us the light and peace, to make authentic decisions with courage without frittering away one’s time in months and years of frustrating waiting. When one puts off decisions because one does not know what to do and prefers not to think about it, when one goes ahead under the illusion that sometime someone will tell you what to do, all this signifies that the gift of counsel is lacking.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines prudence this way, “Prudence is the virtue that disposes practical reason to discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it, ‘the prudent man looks where he is going.’ ‘Keep sane and sober for your prayers.’ Prudence is ‘right reason in action.’ writes St Thomas Aquinas, following Aristotle. It is not to be confused with timidity or fear, nor with duplicity or dissimulation. It is called auriga virutum (the charioteer of the virtues); it guides the other virtues by setting rules and measure. it is prudence that immediately guides the judgement of conscience. The prudent man determines and directs his conduct in accordance with this judgment. With the help of this virtue we apply moral principles to particular cases without error and overcome doubts about the good to achieve and the evil to avoid.” Antonio Royo Marin OP in his book, ‘The Great Unknown The Holy Spirit And His Gifts’ writes, ” The intervention of the gift of counsel is indispensable for perfecting the virtue of prudence, above all in certain sudden cases that are difficult to solve yet require an immediate judgement…The gift of counsel is necessary, it will provide the instantaneous solution as what should be done by that kind of instinct or connaturality characteristic of the gifts.”

Pope Francis writes in ‘The Joy of the Gospel’ “keeping our missionary fervor alive calls for a firm trust in the Holy Spirit, for it is he who ‘help us in our weakness.’ (Rom 8:26) But this generous trust has to be nourished, and so we need to invoke the Spirit constantly. He can heal whatever causes us to flag in the missionary endeavor. It is true that the unseen can cause us to feel disoriented: it is like being plunged into the deep and and knowing what we will find. I myself have frequently experienced this. Yet there is no greater freedom than that of allowing oneself to be guided by the Holy Spirit, renouncing the attempt to plan and control everything to the last detail, and instead letting him enlighten, guide and direct us, leading us wherever he will. The Holy Spirit knows well what is needed in every time and place. This is what it means to be mysteriously fruitful!”

Jesus tells us, “Blessed are the merciful. Jesus told St Faustina, “Let the greatest sinner place their trust in My Mercy. They have the right before others to trust in My bottomless mercy. My daughter, write about My Mercy towards tormented souls. Souls that make an appeal to My Mercy delight me. To such souls I grant even more graces than they ask. I cannot punish even the greatest sinner if he makes an appeal to My compassion, but on the contrary, I justify him in My unfathomable and inscrutable mercy. Write: Before I come as a just Judge, I first open wide the door of My Mercy. He who refuses to pass through the door of My Mercy must pass through the door of My Justice.”

Here is a prayer that I made up and pray every day
Mary our lady of good counsel pour the gift of counsel upon me so that in every circumstance I may choose the quickest and surest way of gaining Heaven and saving my soul. Our lady of good counsel pour out the gift of counsel on anyone who is making a decision that affects me, even if they have no idea that it will affect me, even they are on the other side of the planet. Our lady of good counsel pour out the gift of counsel on them so that whatever decision they make will have the effect of putting me in the place that is most advantageous to my salvation

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