The Virtues and the Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit

I’m planning to write a bit about the connection between the virtues and the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit, as it’s not something I’ve thought about in great depth before. For today, the important points from the Catechism, well worth the read:

“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”62

A virtue is an habitual and firm disposition to do the good. It allows the person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of himself. The virtuous person tends toward the good with all his sensory and spiritual powers; he pursues the good and chooses it in concrete actions.

The goal of a virtuous life is to become like God.63


Human virtues are firm attitudes, stable dispositions, habitual perfections of intellect and will that govern our actions, order our passions, and guide our conduct according to reason and faith. They make possible ease, self-mastery, and joy in leading a morally good life. The virtuous man is he who freely practices the good.

The moral virtues are acquired by human effort. They are the fruit and seed of morally good acts; they dispose all the powers of the human being for communion with divine love.

The virtues and grace

Human virtues acquired by education, by deliberate acts and by a perseverance ever-renewed in repeated efforts are purified and elevated by divine grace. With God’s help, they forge character and give facility in the practice of the good. The virtuous man is happy to practice them.

It is not easy for man, wounded by sin, to maintain moral balance. Christ’s gift of salvation offers us the grace necessary to persevere in the pursuit of the virtues. Everyone should always ask for this grace of light and strength, frequent the sacraments, cooperate with the Holy Spirit, and follow his calls to love what is good and shun evil.


The moral life of Christians is sustained by the gifts of the Holy Spirit. These are permanent dispositions which make man docile in following the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. They belong in their fullness to Christ, Son of David.109 They complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them. They make the faithful docile in readily obeying divine inspirations.

Let your good spirit lead me on a level path.110For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God . . . If children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.111
The fruits of the Spirit are perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as the first fruits of eternal glory. The tradition of the Church lists twelve of them: “charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity.”112

I’ll leave you with this thought, which has been the source of much reflection for me of late:

“The virtuous life and the happy life are synonymous.” ~ Fr Emmerich Vogt

Sts Simon and Jude, pray for us!



I’m a Christian and my house just burned down

Not my house, but Joel Hollier’s. He wrote this heartrending reflection on Facebook, and it was subsequently published on the Bible Society’s website. The following is a snippet, but you should read it all.

“Over the past 72 hours I have been forced to come to terms with the immensity of what it means to lose one’s home. Standing in the smouldering rubble of violently twisted metal and blackened walls which only the other day provided such unappreciated security is a sobering reality check, the likes of which one never imagines would happen to them. The barrage of well-meaning pop grief psychology is a constant reminder that what we have lost is just stuff- my canon camera is replaceable, as are the library and laptops. But no amount of reassurance can disguise the fact that that house was full of ‘stuff’ that I loved.”


During times of disaster, when a piece of positive news is heard- for example a property was spared- a Christian will often automatically (and rightly so) exclaim that God is good. However I can’t help now but ponder the implications of this statement. Had that property been taken in the blaze, would that in some way render God ‘less good’? 

If it is a fundamentally true statement that God is good as the Bible claims, then his goodness is true no matter what my personal circumstances may be. I may be on the brink of losing all, but God is still good.