The Gift of Counsel
The gift of counsel is the perfection of the virtue of prudence, by which we are able to judge how best to act almost by intuition, especially in difficult situations.
This gift was admirable in Mary, whom the Church calls "Mother of Good Counsel." Indeed the soul of Mary was always oriented toward God; she easily perceived all his inspirations, to the degree that these words can be applied to her more than any other saint: "Good counsel will be your guardian, and prudence will save you" (Prv 2: l l).
Mary was so prompt in communicating with God and receiving divine lights, in all circumstances of her life, that her soul remained in perfect peace.
The Gift of Piety
The gift of piety is the perfection of religion joined with justice, which produces in the heart a filial affection toward God, and a tender respect towards others and towards things that are divine, to accomplish our religious duty more than willingly.
If we could look inside Mary's soul, we would be astonished to see the child-like feelings of affection she has towards God, inspired by the gift of piety, at all the moments of her most holy life.
The Gift of Fortitude
The gift of fortitude is the perfection of the virtue of courage, which gives the will impetus and energy to enable it to operate or suffer great things joyously and daringly, overcoming all obstacles.
If one considers, on the one hand, the greatness of the task to accomplish on this earth, it is clear that Mary had been predestined by God; on the other hand, if we look at the innumerable difficulties she had to face - that came from the devil and the world, not form the flesh since she was immaculate - she could easily have despaired. On the contrary, by leaning on God, Mary overcame each difficulty, survived all dangers, and accomplished the arduous task of cooperating with Christ for the redemption of the human race. This grace made Mary immobile like a rock, and made her rest in God like a child in her mother's arms.
The Gift of Fear
The gift of fear of the Lord is the perfection of both the virtue of hope and the virtue of temperance: the virtue of hope, by making us fear to displease God and to be separated from him; the virtue of temperance, by detaching us from false pleasures that could make us lose God. It is a gift that predisposes the will towards a filial respect of God, lead us away from the sin, which displeases to Him, and makes us hope for His help.
Mary's fear was great, but not servile. Full of grace and very pure, very holy, she could not fear a punishment, as she could not fear to lose God through sin. Mary's fear ras reverential, coming from a deep sense of the infinite majesty of God and his infinite power.
The Gift of Knowledge
The gift of knowledge helps us to correctly judge the created beings in their relation with God; the gift of understanding manifests to us the intimate harmony of all revealed truths; the gift of wisdom helps us to judge, value, and appreciate them. All three have this in common that they provide an experimental, or almost experimental, knowledge, because they bring divine realities to the intelligence not through reasoning, but through a superior illumination that makes us grasp them as if we had experienced them.
The object of the gift of knowledge is the created things as far as they lead us to God, from whom they come and through whom they are preserved. These are like steps to climb up to Him.
To the mother of his divine Son, not only did God grant a vast knowledge of supernatural and natural things, but he infused in her this divine instinct that made her able to judge correctly the value of divine things, and how all human knowledge leads to the source of all truth, who is God. The proof of it being the deep words pronounced by Mary when Elizabeth greeted her as the Mother of the word.
The Gift of Understanding
The gift of understanding makes us understand that, despite their obscurity, the mysteries can be believed; that there is a profound harmony between them and what is noblest in the human reason.
Since the Holy Spirit was pleased to choose Mary for his spouse, he wished to adorn her also with the precious gift of understanding, so that beyond the ray of faith that shed some light on the mysteries for her, she would receive other strong lights to give her a deep understanding of the divine designs, especially the ineffable mystery that would be accomplished in her, as is evident in the answer she made to Elizabeth's greeting. No one has had a finer "sense of who Christ was."
The Gift of Wisdom
The most perfect of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is the gift of wisdom. It is the perfection of the virtue of charity, and resides at the same time in the intelligence and the will, because it pours in the soul some light and warmth, truth and love. It is the summary of all the other gifts, like charity which sums up all the other virtues.
As Mary received a large part in the participation in the virtue of the divine charity, she possessed more than anyone else, with an incomparable perfection, the gift of wisdom. Through this gift, she was able to discern, almost instinctively, divine things from human ones. This heavenly wisdom filled her soul with an infinite sweetness, since "there is nothing bitter about wisdom, and to live with her doesn't cause boredom but consolation and felicity."
Adapted from an excerpt of Gabriele M. ROSCHINI, OSM, Dizionario di mariologia, editrice studium - Rome 1961.