Advent: a time of acquiring gifts

The natural life of Christ
Unadulterated, radiating pure
On in to transcendence
A solitary life lived, a solitary death endured
Beyond the sublime image and likeness
Through a simple birth mystical
Unknown secrets whispered into the soul
Angels appearing, prophecy portending, never hearing
The gifts of wonder blessed upon the earth
No need any more to consummate follies
Emptiness illuminating, lacking prevailing, longing eternal
A presence expands, shining forth,
Unafraid of death, loving life, fearing the Lord

The necessity of the gifts of the Holy Ghost…springs from the imperfect mode of even lofty Christian virtues in our souls. Consequently the more the soul advances toward perfection, the more the gifts must intervene; so much so indeed that their superhuman mode must end by prevailing, in an order superior not only to the processes of casuistry, but also to those of asceticism and to methods of prayer. This is the very foundation of our doctrine.

St Thomas teaches that the gifts of the Holy Ghost are necessary to salvation. “Of all the gifts,” he says, “wisdom seems to be the highest, and fear the lowest. Each of these is necessary to salvation: since of wisdom it is written: ‘God loveth none but him that dwelleth with wisdom’ (Wisdom 7:28): and of fear: ‘He that is without fear cannot be justified’ (Eccles 1:28). Because our Lord knew the profound needs of our souls, He promised us to the Holy Ghost, from whom we have received the sevenfold gift. –Father Reginald Garrigou Lagrange ‘Christian Perfection and Contemplation According to St Thomas Aquinas and St John of the Cross’



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