In Dr. Kevin Vost’s newest book, The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Every Spiritual Warrior’s Guide to God’s Invincible Gifts, he illustrates with eloquence yet practical relevance the Thomistic (St. Thomas Aquinas) and Bonaventurean (St. Bonaventure) understanding of each spiritual gift as it relates to the infused and acquired virtues.
Most of us recognize, at least nominally, the seven gifts from Scripture as fear of the Lord, piety, knowledge, fortitude, counsel, understanding, and wisdom. What’s beautiful about Dr. Vost’s style of writing is that he superbly breaks down some very dense theology, mainly from Aquinas’ Summa Theologica and also from St. Bonaventure’s writings. Even well-catechized Catholics might be unfamiliar with intense theological explanations, but Dr. Vost explains each gift so that it is not overwhelming to the reader. Yet the reader will grasp the beauty and depth of the message.
Essentially, Dr. Vost explains that each gift builds upon the subsequent gift. Therefore, the foundational gift of the Holy Spirit is fear of the Lord. From it springs forth piety (a deeper love for God as our Father), knowledge (also a virtue), fortitude (a cardinal virtue), etc. As he defines each gift, he relates it back to the others in such a way that brings the entire realm of spiritual gifts into a richer scope of comprehension.
What I probably loved most about Dr. Vost’s book is that he includes several charts that offer a visual representation of how each gift relates to virtues and beatitudes. Truly, the reader could spend an inordinate amount of time perusing and pondering these charts for new discoveries yet. (My hope is that Dr. Vost will write something on the beatitudes next.)
Even more, The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit will encourage the reader to grow in a more authentic prayer life, so that s/he might desire for the gifts of the Holy Spirit to be made manifest in his/her life more fully.
This book is for the reader who may know nothing or little about the gifts of the Holy Spirit, or it may be for the advanced Catholic who longs for a compact, yet accessible, perspective on this aspect of his/her interior development. I found Dr. Vost’s book to be inspirational, encouraging, and informative. It is well-suited for both individual and group study.
I guess, all-in-all, one could say I grew in knowledge and understanding. I’m certain that this book will touch your heart and soul in such a way that you will appreciate the incredible love that God has for us through the gifts of His Spirit.
Text Copyright 2016 Jeannie Ewing.