Gifts of the Holy Spirit Day 3 // Understanding

  Image by Cailin Valente

Image by Cailin Valente

Isaiah 11:2‐3 ,1 Corinthians 2:9‐13 ,Luke 24:13‐27  

Do you want to know one of the things that I find most frustrating in life?  Not understanding why. (I'm sure you can probably relate.) As humans we have an insatiable desire to know the reason behind everything, and this frustration has probably caused more people to leave the Church than anything else.

Why does suffering exist? Why do bad things happen to good people? Why did God choose Mary? Why can't I break my habitual sins? Why are women and children trafficked? Why do 1/3 of women experience from some kind of abuse at least once? Why is that statistic probably higher in real life? Why was I born during this time to this family? 

In 1 Corinthians 2, St. Paul says, "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him...For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God." He goes on to say that the spirit of the world ‐ or the world's way of understanding and interpreting things ‐ is not what we have been given. Rather, the gift we have received is "the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God." 

Just as with wisdom, we see a distinction between our human idea of understanding and God's. It is not just a possession of intelligence and facts but instead understanding the teachings of Jesus and His Word. In Luke 24:13‐27, Jesus appears to his disciples and walks with them to Emmaus. He has already died and risen, but they do not understand what happened. They are sad and confused, not even realizing they are speaking with him. Eventually he opens their eyes, and their minds and hearts are rekindled with hope. 

I could try to come up with eloquent words to inspire you, but I think Pope Francis sums it up best: 

"And this is what the Holy Spirit does for us: opens our minds, opens us to better understand, to better understand the things of God, human things, situations, all things. It is an important gift for our Christian life.  Let's ask the Lord to give us, to give all of us, this gift to understand as he understands the things that happen, and, most importantly, to understand the Word of God in the Gospel. This is precisely how the Holy Spirit acts within a Christian with the gift of understanding. We, too, oppressed by the weight of life and of our limitations, are unable to recognize the Lord beside us by ourselves. When, however, we welcome the Holy Spirit into our hearts, everything acquires a new light and tells us about God and His love." 

Come Holy Spirit, enlighten my heart, that I may see the things that are of God.

Come Holy Spirit, into my mind that I may know the things that are of God.

Come Holy Spirit, into my soul, that I may belong only to God.

Sanctify all that I think, say, and do, that all may be for the glory of God. 

Pope Francis' teaching: