Building off the Gift of Fortitude which supernaturally strengthens a Catholic man’s natural desire to seek to do great things for God and to endure in the face of setbacks and attacks, the Holy Spirit endows a man with the Gift of Counsel which gives a man supernatural guidance to help him make and carry out holy choices to do God’s will in the world. Like all the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, the Gift of Counsel is only available to those who do not reject Him by being in a state of mortal sin. 

As promised by Jesus (Jn 14:26), the Holy Spirit endows a Catholic man with the Gift of Counsel so his human Virtue of Prudence can be lifted to a supernatural level to allow a man to always keep God’s will at the center of any decision; because the will of God is carried out through Charity, the Gift of Counsel is of particular help as a man seeks to carry out the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. 

The work of the Spirit in the Gift of Counsel works not only in the infrequent difficult decisions about big issues but in the multitude of every day small choices, which make up the majority of a man’s life and are the slow and steady steps towards, or away, from Heaven. God doesn’t overwhelm the soul with the Gifts of Counsel but gives them at the right time, in the right way, and at the right place to help each individual man meet his own particular challenges in the Spiritual Combat; while the Gift of Counsel can suddenly give a man a stunning insight, more often the Spirit works in the man’s everyday life to quietly guide him towards making decisions consistent with God’s will.

The Gift of Counsel supernaturally helps a man to successfully engage in Spiritual Combat by strengthening parts of the Virtue of Prudence: Survey, Judge, and Command. 

The Gift of Counsel helps a man Survey various inputs

Survey is the first step in prudent decision making, during which various sources of input are gathered. The Gift of Counsel by the Holy Spirit supernaturally informs a Catholic man, helping him better assess his Relevant Experience, be Docile to various sources of input including the direct input by the Holy Spirit, and Comprehend the meaning of the whole of the input he has gathered. The Gift of Counsel: 

Helps a Catholic man draw Lessons from Experience

The Gift of Counsel can supernaturally:

  • Prompt a Catholic man to think more deeply about his past experiences and prudently consider how his past can help him become more holy in the present and future. 
  • Enlighten a Catholic man’s Intellect to recall long forgotten or overlooked events from past experience which help him avoid repeating past sinful mistakes or recall past acts of virtue which he can apply to his current situation; the Holy Spirit can bring a man’s past to his present and to reveal connections which, by his own efforts, a man might never see.
  • Protect a Catholic man from being Hasty/Negligent, a bad habit by which a man disregards his relevant experience and jumps to conclusions and impulsively acts, leading to stupid or evil decisions which could have been avoided. 

Opens a Catholic man to be Docile to holy input

The Gift of Counsel can supernaturally:

  • Protect a Catholic man from the stubborn arrogance of relying on his own myopic opinions by encouraging him to be Docile (meaning, “teachable”) to the input of God and others who are trustworthy; a man’s holy Docility is essential in the spiritual life for he is likely not yet a Saint, does not know for sure how to become a Saint, and because his own opinions are imperfect at best. 
  • Inspire a Catholic man to fervently ask God for His Counsel in prayer for the problems the man is facing, with the certain confidence that God will indeed give him the answers he needs (Mt 7:7-8).
  • Give a Catholic man the impulse to remove himself from the noisiness of the world and seek the silence so that he can better hear the voice of the Holy Spirit in his decision-making.
  • Direct a Catholic man to holy sources of trustworthy wisdom including other holy Catholic men, Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church; the Holy Spirit can also protect a man from poor advice from good sources, giving a man a strong sense to ignore advice which will be detrimental to his own spiritual growth.
  • Protect a Catholic man from being overly trustworthy of worldly sources of information which claim to be objective but ignore the reality of God; while those who ignore God can sometimes offer helpful advice on worldly issues, they are useless in helping a man navigate the spiritual life.
  • Protect a Catholic man from the influence of Satan, his demons and evil men who wish to corrupt his thinking with false doctrines, heresies and evil advice; evil often uses the cloak of rationalism or science to convince a man to accept evil things that oppose God.

Guides a Catholic man to comprehend how various inputs can lead to holiness

The Gift of Counsel can supernaturally:

  • Help a Catholic man return to a comprehensive view in which the small and large decisions in his life are individual steps in his ascent towards Sainthood; he is guided to see the big picture of the Spiritual Combat even in the small events of daily life.
  • Inspire a Catholic man to have the intellectual hunger and discipline to continue to analyze a situation until he adequately comprehends it; by this, the Gift of Counsel protects him from the vice of Ignorance, a persistent unwillingness to think deeply about important issues. 
  • Give a Catholic man clarity about complex situations usually through a subtle coming to comprehension, but sometimes with a blinding insight in which he is given a confident understanding that is beyond his effort or perhaps, even his ability; this can sometimes happen when a man suddenly see that some current problem is a recurring pattern in his life which requires him to make major changes.   
  • Help a Catholic man clearly see the logical set of choices from which he will have to choose in a particular situation; the Holy Spirit helps make the moral implications of choices clear. 
  • Lead a Catholic man to consider  how he may better incorporate the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy in his daily decisions. 
  • Guide a Catholic man when he has fallen into sin as to how he can reconcile with God and neighbor.
  • Reveal to a Catholic man how his talents might be applied in a given situation to build the Kingdom of God and warn him against how he may fall into sin. 
  • Protect a Catholic man against the evil efforts by Satan, and those who cooperate with Satan, to confuse, distract or lie, with the intention to lure a man into sin or thwart some good work. 

The Gift of Counsel helps a man make holy Judgments

Judge is the second step during which input/information is analyzed and a choice is made as to how to proceed with a particular decision. The Gift of Counsel by the Holy Spirit supernaturally informs a Catholic man, helping him quickly reach Shrewd decisions or guiding him as he uses the Disciplined use of Reason. The Gift of Counsel: 

Assists a Catholic man to make Shrewd decisions

The Gift of Counsel can supernaturally:

  • Lead a Catholic man immediately to the “right answer” for a difficult decision by showing him how to avoid evil and take holy actions, without any effort on a man’s part. This kind of special supernatural insight given by the Spirit was promised by Jesus Christ (Mt 10:18-20) and can sometimes be recognized when a man is making a decision because it is beyond a man’s normal ability to be Shrewd, is unexpected, wonderfully loving, and/or because a man has an absolute certainty that it is God’s will.
  • More often, subtlety guide a Catholic man to more quickly and more effectively reach Shrewd decisions about every day situations.
  • Support a slow-witted Catholic man who lacks the intellectual or rational ability to reach decisions on complex situations, giving him the ability to make astoundingly wise and holy decisions beyond his ability (Mt 17:14-17). 
  • Warns a Catholic man from making a rapid or impulsive decision when to not act is the better option or when a man needs to use his reason more deeply to reach a proper solution; often protects  a man from sinfully causing hatred, scandal, division or confusion. 

Supports a Catholic man’s Disciplined use of Reason

The Gift of Counsel can supernaturally:

  • Help a Catholic man to systematically analyze the various courses of actions available to him and rationally come to a decision which best does God’s will and builds the Kingdom of Heaven, particularly when complexity, the opposition of others, and the impact of a man’s decision is large. 
  • Strengthen a Catholic man to continue to use his Reason until he can reach a holy decision on a particularly difficult topic.
  • Reveal to a Catholic man the flaws in his Reason so he thinks about things he has not considered, including things he has missed and things he didn’t know he didn’t know; protects a man from holding on to stubborn opinions which do not best serve God in a given decision. 
  • Give a Catholic man confidence in a decision he has reached, particularly when the decision is about very important things or when there may be multiple viable options going forward.
  • Protects a Catholic man from being Irrational, by exposing how his emotions or previous sinful attitudes and behaviors are leading him to a bad decision. 

The Gift of Counsel helps a man take Command

Command is the third step in which a decision is carried out and adjusted as necessary in the world. The Gift of Counsel by the Holy Spirit can supernaturally informs a Catholic man, helping him build Foresight, Circumspection and Cautiousness. The Gift of Counsel: 

Helps a Catholic man have Foresight

The Gift of Counsel can supernaturally:

  • Guide a Catholic man to anticipate various reactions by others to a man’s decision and help him modify his plans to have the best probability of success; while the Spirit often acts in subtle ways a man might not notice, sometimes the Spirit works in obvious ways by warning a man of some consequence that he could not normally anticipate.  
  • Protects a Catholic man against being Short-sighted, the bad habit of being unwilling due to ignorance or laziness to attempt to look ahead so he might avoid problems.

Enhances a Catholic man’s Circumspection

The Gift of Counsel can supernaturally:

  • Inspire a Catholic man to remain appropriately vigilant in monitoring the reactions to his decisions.
  • Reveal to a Catholic man reactions to his decisions which he overlooked or could not have perceived.

Helps a Catholic man be Cautious when he must take action

The Gift of Counsel can supernaturally:

  • Alert a Catholic man to obstacles and dangers which he failed to perceive, through subtle intuitions or strong warnings of impending danger which motivate him to take new decisive action.
  • Guide a Catholic man to take appropriate Caution and respond with careful and decisive action which adequately anticipate and address dangers and opportunities.
  • Protect a Catholic man from failing to take necessary action against some danger due to indecisiveness by helping him accurately assess dangers and giving him the confidence to act.
  • Protect a Catholic man from taking rash and impulsive acts by warning him to slow down and to adequately assess the risks of various responses to obstacles and dangers so he can choose wisely.