Excerpts from I AM HIS TEMPLE
Mother M. Angelica
The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit are given to me to enhance His Temple—my soul.

The foundation of this Temple is Faith, Hope and Love, and the Seven Gifts are the tools and material used by the Spirit to construct a fit dwelling place for Jesus to abide in.

At Baptism I was made a child of God and the Temple of His Spirit. This is the Good News. Jesus merited this undreamed of privilege for me.

Is this Presence of God in my soul static or is it alive? It must be alive and active if its power to transform is going to accomplish its task.

However, a power that I am not aware of is no power at all, so I must see what the Divine Presence of the Trinity means in my everyday life.

Love must manifest itself, and the God who dwells in my soul is Love. He give me powerful helps called "Gifts" to aid me in my relationship with Him and with my neighbor.

It is the work of the Holy Spirit to make me holy. He it is Who diffuses grace into my soul and slowly transforms me into Jesus.

He covers the wounds made by the Father's pruning shears with the balm of love, peace, and joy.

He upholds me in times of temptation with Fear of the Lord, giving me the sense of fear springing from love, a spirit of reverence that prevents me from yielding to temptation.

He gives me patience by the Gift of Piety when my neighbor demands more time and love than I possess.

He strengthens me with Fortitude when I feel too weak to accomplish the tasks He has given me.

He helps me discern, with the Gift of Counsel, when I must decide what is His Will for me.

He detaches me from the things of this world with the Gift of Knowledge.

He increases my Faith by giving me light through the Gift of Understanding.

He thrills my soul with a deep awareness of the Presence of the Lord through the Gift of Wisdom.

In order to keep my soul in a perfect balance between fear and love, the Holy Spirit increases in my soul the Virtue of Hope.

Hope is that marvelous virtue that keeps me from despair and presumption.

Without Hope, I would never see the end of the road or the Joy when I finally arrive.

There are times when, after a fall, my fear of having offended God becomes out of balance. I think my sin is too great for Him to forgive. Hope comes to the rescue and assures me that in His Love and Mercy He forgives and forgets. He lovingly awaits my return and all of Heaven rejoices.

There are other times my fear of offending God almost disappears and I feel a certain lethargy in staying away from occasions of sin, thinking and rationalizing that, since God is loving and merciful, He really doesn't care about sin at all.

Now it is that Hope brings back my Gift of Fear of the Lord. Somewhere out of the gray clouds of presumption comes the light of God's Justice, and I realize no matter what I think, God's holiness detects the shadow of sin and I run the risk of losing everlasting happiness for the sake of self-indulgence.

It is an invisible strength that is not overpowered by the faults and sins of others. It manages in some mysterious way to see God's Essence in the worst and most depraved, and God's Presence in the good and holy.

This Gift seems to bring with it a certain amount of honesty. It doesn't cover over my neighbor's sins or defects or peculiarities; it sees them all clearly. These very weaknesses elicit greater love and compassion, for Piety sees in all this misery the opportunity to imitate the Father and Jesus, whose love is given to all.

Piety will help me to think more of my neighbor's good than my own, and give me the power to continue to seek His good in the face of insult and ingratitude.

I will love, not because I will be loved in return, but because, like Jesus, I will be filled with love and love reaches out to give.

I will grow in the Gift of Piety by bringing to mind in difficult situations the fact that God is in my neighbor and I must treat him on that level, not on the level of his merits.

I need a generous portion of patience to accept the imperfections of my neighbor without lessening my love for him.

My inability to love my neighbor at times is caused by my lack of patience. I think he should grow immediately, but I give myself time and excuses to rise and fall in my journey to holiness.

I will use the tool of Piety and see beyond my neighbor's imperfections—not because it is easy, but because I have the Holy Spirit within me and His Power can accomplish all things in me.

Each Gift seems to blend and support the other Gifts and so it is with the Gift of Fortitude.

I tend to become discouraged when after exerting so much effort to love my neighbor and stay away from sin, I fall repeatedly.

The real problem at times is not so much that I doubt God's forgiveness, but whether or not I have the strength to continue fighting what seems to be a losing battle.

To keep on fighting for Christian principles when everyone around me tells me to follow the crowd, demands a power from God Himself and that Power is Fortitude.

It is one thing to accept the cross; but when there is no end in view and the cross gets heavier, the Spirit of Fortitude gives me the power to endure the things I can neither change nor eliminate.

I can accept a headache with comfortable ease knowing it will be better tomorrow, but if it were a painful cancer, I would have to ask for the Spirit of Fortitude.

I can accept a difficult personality for an hour or so, but if it is for a lifetime, I need the Gift of Fortitude.

I can accept privation for a month or so, but if it goes on for years, I need the Gift of Fortitude.

I can accept misunderstanding for a little while, but when it turns into hatred and I am helpless to correct it, I need the Gift of Fortitude.

I can accept injustice, knowing all do not think alike, but when it deprives me of freedom, I need the Gift of Fortitude.

I can accept prejudice once in awhile, realizing some don't understand, but when it takes away my dignity, I need the Gift of Fortitude.

"My Power is at its best in weakness," said Jesus to Paul—and this is Fortitude.

(2 Cor. 12:9)

This brings me to another aspect of Fortitude—the ability to wait.

It takes an inner power to wait and maintain any semblance of serenity.

When I must wait for:

the conversion of a friend
the return of health, mine or others
the recognition of a job well done
the arrival of a loved one
the settlement of a dispute
the forgiveness of a friend
the reconciliation with an enemy
the cessation of pain
the control of my own weaknesses
the time when all men with be brothers
and
the journey's end
Then
I need the Gift of Fortitude.

There are times in my life when I must make decisions, discern what is from the Holy Spirit, my own spirit, or the evil spirit, be prudent in my dealings and works, be strong enough to see myself as I really am, and recall the life of Jesus—in order to draw courage for my daily life.

There are false doctrines, capable of destroying my soul and I need the light of discernment to penetrate the beautiful exterior and see the darkness of error.

There are people who keep encouraging me to take the easy road and their arguments seem reasonable, but I must discern that the road to holiness is difficult to travel and take courage from Jesus who walked it before me.

The Tempter will cross my path many times and I must discern his tactics, his presence and his temptations to be hateful, unforgiving, jealous, greedy, ambitious for worldly things, and proud. I must see these things as they really are—temptations. I cannot rationalize them and blame other people. I must discern that no matter what occasion or person causes these feelings, it is the tempter who makes them linger and eat at my soul.

I must stay very close to my Friend, the Spirit, in order to have both light and strength to discern good from evil, right from wrong, the human spirit from the Holy Spirit, and an opportunity to practice virtue from an occasion to sin.

I need to be detached from my own opinions in order to be open to the quiet inspirations of the Holy Spirit. Only then will I be able to discern what He is saying and what He desires.

The Gift of Counsel clears the fog of uncertainty and gives me a clear picture of the right course to take and the determination to follow that course to a successful conclusion.

Because the Gift of Counsel can give me a great impetus to go all out for God, the Spirit joins Prudence with Counsel. Prudence guides me and permits me to discern the difference between and action that may be foolhardy and one that is inspired.

I will look deep and see that:

my pride makes me rebel against ingratitude and insult
my impatience refuses to wait
my anger seeks excuses to vent its fury
my lack of faith makes me doubt His Love
my ambition makes me pretentious
my lethargy makes me give up

so

Whenever anything happens that hurts me and I notice it begins to occupy my mind, I must have immediate recourse to prayer, be it ever so short. I must raise my thoughts to God's Mercy, Love and Patience or recall the life of Jesus in order to calm my imagination and emotions.

If I permit my memory to constantly recall the incident and incite my imagination to exaggerate everything out of proportion my understanding becomes unreasonable and my will weak—the incident is in control of me and not I in control of it.

I must quiet my imagination and memory by prayer and looking at Jesus. The Holy Spirit will then give me the light to see my own weakness and the tactics of the tempter in different situations so I can rise above them, offer them to the Father in union with Jesus, and overcome them through the power of the Spirit.

It is of prime importance that I see God in everything and hear His Voice as He calls me to repentance, humility, love, patience, and kindness.

Every trying situation is an appeal from God to imitate His Son.

Every person in need presents an invitation to call upon the

power of His Spirit.

Every weakness is an opportunity to depend upon His strength.

Every pain is a call to imitate Jesus and to endure with patience.

The Gift of Knowledge helps me to find the pearl of great price hidden in the soil of adversity. It sees the true wealth of life—the riches that no moth consumes or rust destroys—the love and friendship of God through Jesus, His Son.

It sees that—

Though I gain the whole world and do not have the love of Jesus in my heart, that wealth would be nothing.

Though I gave all my money to the poor, without the love of Jesus in my heart, it would be nothing.

Though I made great discoveries in the field of science but for selfish motives and not the love of Jesus and my neighbor, it would be nothing.

Though I conquered the world but never conquered myself, it would be nothing.

Though I make others walk the straight and narrow path but never controlled myself, it would be nothing.

Though I practiced heroic virtue but only to be seen by men and not for love of Jesus, it would be nothing.

Though the world applauded me but at the expense of my soul, it would be nothing.

Though I were an intellectual and possessed great knowledge but never knew God, it would be nothing.

There are many kinds and ways of prayer, and I use them all at different times and stages in my life of union with God, because—

Sometimes I talk to God as a friend speaks to a friend, and that is conversational prayer.

Sometimes I memorize a prayer and repeat it over and over to discipline my mind, and that is formal prayer.

Sometimes I talk out loud and praise His Name in word and song, and that is vocal prayer.

Sometimes I think of an incident in the life of Jesus and imagine myself there at the time it happened, and that is mental prayer.

Sometimes I am distraught and in such desolation of soul that I merely cry out, "God help me", and that is prayer of anguish.

Sometimes I am so cold and in such darkness that I merely look to Heaven and plead for light, and that is the prayer of faith.

Sometimes I am perplexed by suffering and pain, and without comfort, and I cry out "Thy Will be done", and that is the prayer of resignation.

Sometimes I am aware of His Divine Presence in the depths of my soul—something unseen yet almost tangible—and that is the prayer of understanding awareness.

"I have loved you with an everlasting love" (Jer. 31:3)


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