In my family we have the tradition of Pentecost gifts. On little pieces of paper, we have multiple copies of the Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit. On Pentecost, we each draw one Gift and one Fruit from baskets. Whatever we receive, we have for the year.
It could be that God is giving us special graces in our specific Pentecost gifts for the year, or that we need to work on them a bit. It may be both. Either way, it’s one of my favourite times of year (as well as Epiphany, when we do a similar thing), because it’s one of those times when you can be sure you’re getting an obvious message from God. His voice is right there in the pieces of paper in your hand.
Last year I got Fortitude and Chastity, which was very significant for me at the time. I had just come off a school-year in which I had a really complicated pseudo-relationship that never seemed to go right—with a guy I wasn’t dating. Or a guy I said I wasn’t dating. The reality was a little more…well, it was complicated. And messed up.
So Fortitude and Chastity were literally Heaven-sent gifts to help me through that relationship. And as the year went on, it became more and more obvious as to why I was given both Fortitude and Chastity together.
In October, there was an incredibly messy break-up/falling out with the guy I was with. Cue the Fortitude! The subsequent months were very hard, for a number of reasons. Thank God for Fortitude!
As we came to Pentecost this year, I was curious as to what God would give me, as I’m still dealing with the ripples of the fall-out splash. I wasn’t really looking forward to “losing” Chastity—I don’t want to end up in another backwards relationship by making the same mistakes I made before.
But I drew my Pentecost gifts out of the baskets, excited to see what God had for me this year…and immediately smiled. This year, God had given me Knowledge and—Chastity!
It hadn’t crossed my mind that God would give it to me again out of 12 Fruits. But really, why not?
One of my first thoughts was to make a joke out of it: “What, I wasn’t chaste enough last year, so I got it again?”
I don’t know why God gave me Knowledge…I’m sure that in a year’s time I’ll have a better idea of what God is getting at. A few thoughts have come to me about Chastity for this year, and I’m sure I’ll understand that more in a year as well.
But for now, here’s what has come to me for this year. For one, Chastity will help me avoid the same mistakes I made before. Chastity, given to me at Pentecost, will remind me of my Christian, loving responsibility to always be chaste, in my actions, words, and clothing. Chastity encompasses so much more than just not having pre-marital sex, and if I don’t remember that, I’m going to end up in more hot water.
Chastity will help me to be modest in every aspect of my life. I can never compromise on my modesty, for compromise is not the way of the Gospel. If I remain true to my modesty and chastity, I will be a herald for Christ in the New Evangelization. Yes! Being modest in clothing, words, and actions is an excellent way to proclaim the Gospel with my life. One of my absolute favourite Scripture verses of all time is 1 Timothy 4:12: “Do not let people disregard you because you are young, but be an example to all the believers in the way you speak and behave, and in your love, your faith, and your purity.”
I pray that I will always remember to be chaste in all that I do or say.
My final thought is that Chastity has already been a part of my evangelizing/sharing faith experience, and in a way started it. The very first blog I wrote, “True Love Waits”, was on chastity, and based on my pseudo-relationship. It was posted the weekend right before I “broke up”. God can be ironic, sometimes. After I wrote “True Love Waits”, I decided to keep writing, which led to the creation of my own blog (Thoughts of an Epoch), and eventually to being on staff with Fire of the Spirit.
God does interesting things with the Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit. I just wanted to share this with you all so that you can see a little of how God has been working in my life this past year, and hopefully you can draw something from it.
God bless you all, and I pray that the Holy Spirit overshadows your life in all things!
Your sister in Christ,