Gifts of the Holy Spirit // Understanding

Images by Beautiful Light Photography

Images by Beautiful Light Photography

Bible verse: Isaiah 11:2‐3

Bible verse: 1 Corinthians 2:9‐13

Bible verse: Luke 24:13-27

Do you want to know one of the things that I find most frustrating in life?  Not understanding why. Can you relate? As humans we often 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 an understanding of 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.

Pope Francis explains it beautifully in his General Audience:

"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.

Reflection: Do you feel oppressed by the “weight of life and of your limitations”? Can you recognize the Lord beside you?

Reflection: Which do you desire? Human gifts or gifts of the Holy Spirit?

Act: Pray the prayer above. Look for the evidence in your life of gift of understanding.