We’re preparing ourselves to receive the Holy Spirit in a new way at the celebration of Pentecost, the day we recall the gift of the Holy Spirit given to the disciples who were in one place together in Acts 2. There are so many ways we could prepare. This series is focusing on the gifts the Holy Spirit will provide for those who are prepared to receive them, which will allow us to live entirely for the Lord by prayer and action. For more information about this series, click here to find the original post.
Let’s continue our preparation with the gift of Fortitude. (Some translations of the Bible call this strength or might or power)
How does this gift help?
Have you ever had to go up against something that seemed impossible, whether it was persecution, overcoming some sinful habit, standing up for your faith, or even health problems, such as cancer or some other serious matter that threatened your health? Are you going up against something like this right now? The gift of Fortitude can be of great service to you! This gift gives us a certain energy to do great things joyfully and fearlessly despite all obstacles. It brings with it determination, assurance, joy, the certain hope of success, and so brings about greater results. It allows us to act heroically and endure courageously.
We become willing to take on the most strenuous tasks: consider the saints who have gone off to missionary lands preaching the Gospel in the midst of persecution, or those who have the ability to not get caught up in human praise and only seek to bring glory to God. We also become willing to endure courageously the various sufferings that may be encountered during this life, such as bodily illnesses or suffering through the battle of giving our entire life for the sake of the Gospel – even to the point of martyrdom!
Who needs this gift?
Perhaps you can notice a trend with all of these gifts: Everyone needs the gift of Fortitude! If we are serious about being disciples of Jesus Christ and remaining in a state of grace, we will have to do heroic actions. It is the gift of Fortitude that will enable us to perform these heroic actions with a spirit of generosity.
How do I prepare myself to receive the gift of Fortitude?
This begins with a humble recognition of our weaknesses, because it is in acknowledging our weaknesses that we also acknowledge the strength that may be provided by the Lord. God wants to use our greatest weaknesses to reveal his greatest strength. For an example of this, look to the Cross of Jesus Christ. The Father was most powerful when Jesus was at his weakest point.
After that, it is principally in the reception of the Holy Eucharist – the Body and Blood of our Savior – that we can seek the necessary strength from Jesus in order to overcome all obstacles. The reception of the Eucharist brings the strength of Jesus into our bodies. St. John Chrysostom has this to offer concerning the reception of the Eucharist:
Let us return from that table as lions breathing fire, terrible to the devil.
Another great way to prepare to receive the gift of Fortitude: look for ways to use it. Examples: don’t complain about the weather, think before you speak, be attentive to daily prayer, be kind to those you don’t enjoy, don’t defend yourself when someone complains about you, strive to overcome your bodily passions. Do these things not once, but everyday.
Come, O Blessed Spirit of Fortitude, uphold my soul in time of trouble and adversity, sustain my efforts after holiness, strengthen my weakness, give me courage against all the assaults of my enemies, that I may never be overcome and separated from you, my God and greatest good. Amen.