At our Baptism, the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit were given to us. They sharpen our faculties, making us receptive to His promptings so He can aid us on our journey to heaven. The seven gifts are seven ways the Spirit desires to work in our lives. Each gift corresponds to a virtue, either flowing from the theological virtues or perfecting the cardinal virtues.
John of St. Thomas used the analogy that you can think of our journey to heaven like a man rowing across a lake. Each virtuous action is similar to each pull on the oars. If he has practiced and is an excellent rower, he enjoys his time on the lake and moves steadily. But if the rowboat also has a sail, and the wind is blowing with the rower, he now races along the water. That would be similar to the gifts operating in our lives. Like a properly fitted sail, the gifts make us attuned to the wind of the Holy Spirit. There is an ease and efficacy to the gifts that can only come from the Holy Spirit.