file0001338037375Yesterday we celebrated when the Holy Spirit poured Himself out onto the Church, bestowing His gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord. We ourselves received these gifts at baptism and later were strengthened in them at confirmation. So, let’s take a closer look at one of those gifts that's been given to us: fortitude.

We’re all familiar with natural fortitude. That’s the virtue needed to stick to it, stay the course, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, chin out and head down, and onward! Every parent has exercised fortitude.

The supernatural virtue of fortitude, the gift of the Holy Spirit, is very similar to this but is raised to a supernatural level. This is the gift employed by the martyrs who rely on it in order to offer themselves up to Christ in the ultimate sacrifice. This gift of the Spirit allows us to rise above the evil of our times in order to live our Christian faith in a heroic way. The gift of fortitude is responsible for making us “blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation” among whom we might “shine like lights in the world” (Phillipians 2:15).

A question for us that we might ponder with our spouses and families is this: how do we make space in our hearts to better receive this gift? What’s tying us down, individually, as a couple, or as a family, that’s keeping this supernatural gift from shining like it ought to in our lives? What are we holding onto that the Holy Spirit is begging us to drop so that He can give us something so much better?

The family is such a natural place for the gift of fortitude to take root as it provides an abundance of ways to sacrifice for others and for God, even at times in supernatural ways. Let’s pray that the gift of fortitude light up our family life as God so ardently desires it to.

Copyright Meg Matenaer (2015).
Photo by o0o0xmodso0o0 (2006) via Morguefile.