Until one reaches a daily life of true humility, as I have noted before, none of the gifts are truly free to operate. This graph, from Garrigou-Lagrange, shows the
None of the virtues can be lived day by day without the purgation which brings the necessary purity of heart.
People think they are virtuous, but in reality, they are practicing natural, not supernatural, virtues.
A few priests I have met understand this-all but two are in Ireland.
These good men, who have allowed themselves to be put through the Dark Night, understand that the virtues are blocked by even one venial sin.
Habitual venial sins definitely block virtue. The first conversion is to Christ, The second conversion is one of humility.
All the supernatural virtues and gifts then grow and are manifested, but only then. See the other posts on this.
Here is the great Dominican's own reflection on this drawing.
As the drawing on the opposite page shows, from humility, the base of this excavation resting on Christ the foundation rock, rises the first column of the edifice, the pillar of faith, as St. Paul calls it. Faith is called a fundamental virtue, not only like humility in that it removes an obstacle, but in that all the other infused virtues rest positively on it.(1) Opposite the pillar of faith is that of hope, which makes us desire God, eternal life, relying on the divine help for its attainment.
These two pillars support the cupola of charity, the highest of the virtues. The part of the cupola which rises toward heaven symbolizes charity toward God, whereas that which slopes toward the earth is a figure of fraternal charity, which makes us love our neighbor for God because he is a child of God or called to become one. The cupola is surmounted by the cross to remind us that our love ascends toward God only through Christ and the merits of His passion.
St. Augustine, speaking of the beatitudes in his commentary on the Sermon on the Mount, and St. Thomas tell us that to each of the three theological virtues corresponds a gift of the Holy Ghost; these three gifts are symbolized by three lamps. From the pillar of faith is suspended the lamp of the gift of understanding, which renders faith penetrating. By faith we adhere to the word of God; by the special inspiration of the gift of understanding we penetrate it, as for example, when assailed by temptation, we comprehend that God is truly our last end, the one thing necessary, and that we must remain faithful to Him.
From the pillar of hope is suspended the lamp of the gift of knowledge, which, according to St. Augustine and St. Thomas, makes us know things, not by their supreme cause as wisdom does, but by their proximate, defectible, and often deficient cause. For this reason, according to these doctors, the gift of knowledge shows us the emptiness of earthly things and the vanity of human helps in attaining a divine end. In this sense, the gift, which perfects faith, also perfects hope and leads us to aspire more strongly toward eternal life and to rely on the help of God, the formal motive of hope, to attain it.(2)
From the cupola symbolizing charity is suspended another lamp, the gift of wisdom, which illuminates the whole interior of the spiritual edifice and makes us see all things as coming from God, supreme Cause and last End, from His love or at least by His permission for a greater good which we shall some day see and which from time to time becomes visible here on earth. In this spiritual temple, says St. Paul, dwells the Holy Ghost and with Him the Father and the Son. They are there as in a mansion, where They may be and are from time to time quasi-experientally known and loved.