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Maria V. Gallagher reviews a new book on the gifts of the Holy Spirit by Walter Farrell, O.P. and Dominic Hughes, O.P.

Perhaps you have felt it too—that feeling that, the closer I draw to Jesus, the more I notice my own faults and failings. It is as if I have been handed a spiritual magnifying glass which details the many ways I fall short of the glory of God.

I realize that it is only through God’s grace that I am able to accomplish anything in life. It is only by virtue of God’s life within me that I can reach out in love to my neighbor. It is by Christ’s stripes that I have been healed.

As a result of my own starts and stops in the spiritual life, I was eager to read The Seven Steps to Sanctification: How to Awaken the Gifts of the Holy Spirit within You by Walter Farrell, O.P. and Dominic Hughes, O.P. These two Dominican priests are highly knowledgeable, and they are sharing their vast storehouse of knowledge with readers hungry for a deeper relationship with God.


Seven Steps to Sanctification

As I read through the book, I found myself longing for a greater portion of the gifts of the Holy Spirit: understanding, knowledge, wisdom, counsel, piety, fear of the Lord, and fortitude. These gifts are critically important in the journey toward a greater appreciation of God and neighbor. They can help to increase our joy and serenity, knowing that we are walking side by side with the Lord.

The authors wisely point out,

In obeying God and overcoming themselves, Christians open their hearts to others. As the sons of God, they are instructed to "Be merciful, as your heavenly Father also is merciful" (Luke 6:36); in fulfilling that command, they attain their own happiness, since "blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” (Matthew 5:7) 


As the back cover of the book attests, the gifts of the Holy Spirit help us to demonstrate charity toward God and others; help us to practice temperance; enable us to enter into “loving communion with God”; and provide us with the assistance we need for final victory.

The authors note:

The very thought of the Gifts as not only something pleasant to have but something absolutely necessary is a humbling and yet edifying experience.


The Seven Steps to Sanctification also includes summaries from St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica, which further explain the various gifts. The entry on piety is especially illuminative: “By the Gift of Piety a man pays worship and obligations not only to God but also to all men on account of their relationship with God.”

At one point, in a discussion of fear of the Lord, the authors point out: “We become what we love.” In loving Christ, we become more Christ-like, which is our gift to the world.

May we all grow in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, so that we can share our love with a society badly in need of it.  



Copyright 2022 Maria V. Gallagher
Images: Canva