The Gifts of the Holy Spirit in General

by Rev. William G. Most

Grace is any gift from God to us. There are two great categories or groups of graces: sanctifying and charismatic.

Sanctifying graces are those that are aimed at making the recipient holy. They include: actual grace, a grace He sends me at this moment, to lead me and to enable me to do a particular good thing here and now, and habitual grace (also called sanctifying) which actually does make the recipient holy. It gives the soul the radical ability to take in the face to face vision of God in the next life. Increase in sanctifying grace means an increase in that capacity -- for since the vision is infinite, our capacity can never reach the limit of growth.

The other category is called charismatic. These graces are not aimed directly an making the recipient holy. They are for some other sort of benefit to the individual or the community. There are two kinds of charismatic graces: ordinary and extraordinary.

Where do the Gifts of the Holy Spirit fit in? There are two groups of them, one in the sanctifying, one in the charismatic category.

In the "sanctifying" category, we find the seven gifts, which are given along with sanctifying (habitual) grace.

In the "charismatic" category, we find both the ordinary gifts -- e.g, the gift to be a good parent or a good teacher -- and the extraordinary gifts, those which are or seem miraculous, such as the gifts of healing, tongues or miracles.