The Holy See
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Sunday, 7 May 1989


1. Continuing the reflection on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, today let us consider the gift of Counsel. It is given to the Christian to enlighten the conscience in moral choices which daily life presents.

A need that is keenly felt in our days, disturbed by not a few crises and by a widespread uncertainty about true values, if that which is called "reconstructing consciences". That is to say, one is aware of the necessity of neutralizing certain destructive factors which easily find their way into the human spirit when it is agitated by passions, and of introducing healthy positive elements into it.

In this commitment to moral restoration the Church must be, and is, in the forefront; hence the prayer that arise: from the hearts of her members - of all of us - to obtain especially the help of light from on high. The Spirit of God responds to this plea through the gift of Counsel, by which he enriches and perfects the virtue of prudence and guides the soul from within, enlightening it about what to do, especially when it is a matter of important choices (for example, of responding to a vocation), or about a path to be followed among difficulties and obstacles. Infact experience confirms that "the deliberations of mortals are timid, and unsure are our plans", as the Book of Wisdom says (9:14).

2. The gift of Counsel acts like a new breath in the conscience, suggesting to it what is licit, what is becoming, what is more fitting for the soul (cf. St Bonaventure, "Collationes de septem donis Spiritus Sancti", VII, 5). Thus the conscience becomes like the "healthy eye" of which the Gospel speaks (Mt 6:21), an eye which acquires, as it were, a new pupil, by means of which it is able to see better what to do in a given situation, no matter how intricate and difficult. Aided by this gift, the Christian penetrates the true meaning of gospel values, in particular those expressed in the Sermon on the Mount (cf. Mt 5:7).

Let us therefore ask for the gift of Counsel! Let us ask for it for ourselves and, in particular, for the pastors of the Church, so often called, by the demands of their work, to make arduous and agonizing decisions.

Let us ask for it through the intercession of her who, in the litany, is greeted as "Mater Boni Consilii", Mother of Good Counsel.