Reflection from the ‘Soul Institute’ Third week of Lent, Gift of Holy Spirit Knowledge/ Virtue Faith Beatitude Blessed are those who mourn

Saint Thomas shows how each of the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit are linked to a particular virtue or virtues, and how this leads to one of the Beatitudes. St Thomas is showing us how to grow in virtue.

Father Brian Bransfield in his book, ‘The Human Person’ tells us this about the Holy Spirit gift of Knowledge, ” The gift of knowledge is not directed towards acquiring knowledge in a worldly sense. The sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation do not give infused knowledge about algebra, for example, so that our mathematics grade will rise from a C to A. The gifts of hope and piety have begun to direct us to the love of knowledge. This sanctifies the intellects of Christians, and we begin to read inwardly the true nature of thing, especially the actions of Christ…The gift of knowledge leads us to the things that really matter. We begin to digest the truths pf faith on a more personal level through union with God…The Holy Spirit enlightens our minds to grasp how faith applies to human or created things. Looking at the world and relationships from God’s perspective, we better understand the true nature of things: ‘I muse on all your works and ponder your mighty deeds. Your ways, O God are holy.’ (Ps 77) Through supernatural assistance we are led to authentic judgments about the faith. The gift of knowledge leads to practical reliance on God’s providence, and proclaims in realistic fashion the words of Psalm 43: ‘O send forth your light and your truth; let these be my guide.'” In short, the gift of knowledge gives us the ability to see created things in the light of God. Through this gift we know how to use things for the greater glory of God.

Father Bransfield writes about the virtue of Faith, “…Enlivened by the gift of knowledge, the Holy Spirit inspires the mind of the believer to make an act of faith. In a progressively profound manner, the intellect adheres not just to the belief that there is a God, or to trust the truths about this God, but in God himself. The act of faith is understood in light of the three meaning of religious faith as outlined by Saint Augustine: ‘But it makes a great deal of difference whether someone believes that Jesus is the Christ, or whether he believes in Christ.’ Aquinas teaches that the act of faith is appropriately distinguished into ‘believing about God’ (credere Deum), ‘believing God’ (credere Deo), and ‘believing for the sake of God.’ (credere in Deum)'”

Saint Cyril of Jerusalem tells us, ” How great is God’s love for men! Some good men have been found pleasing to God because of years of work….For if you believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved and taken up to paradise by him, just as he brought the thief there. Do not doubt that this possible. After all, he saved the thief on the holy hill of Golgotha because of one hour’s faith; will he not save you too since you have believed? The other kind of faith is given by Christ by means of a special grace. To one wise saying are given through the Spirit, to another perceptive comments by the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing. Now this kind of faith, given by the Spirit as a special favor, is not confined to doctrinal matters, for it produces effects beyond any human capability. If a man who has this faith says to this mountain move from here to there, it will move. For when anybody says this in faith, believing it will happen and having no doubts in his heart, he then receives that grace…Enlightened by faith, the soul pictures God and sees him as clearly as any soul can. It circles the earth; even before the end of this world it sees the judgment and the conferring of promised rewards. So many you have the faith which depends on you an dis directed to God, that you may receive from him that faith too which transcends man’s capacity.”

Raniero Cantalamessa in his book, “Beatitudes Eight Steps to Happiness’ writes about the Best Tears, “One can weep from sorrow but also from deep emotions and joy. The most beautiful tears are those that fill our eyes when, enlightened by the Holy Spirit. we ‘taste and see that the Lord is good!’ (Ps 34:8) When one is in this state of grace, he or she marvels that the world and we ourselves do not fall on our knees and weep with deep emotion and amazement. Tears like these must have fallen from Augustine’s eyes when he wrote in his Confessions. ‘How have you loved us. O good Father, who did not spare your only son, but delivered him up for us sinners. How have you loved us.’…I believe that the tears with which the sinful woman bathed the feet of Jesus were only tears of repentance but also tears of gratitude and joy. If one can weep in heaven, then this is the kind of weeping that heaven will have. Saint Symeon the New Theologian the saint of tears, lived around the year 1000 in Istanbul the former Constantinople. He is the most striking example in the history of Christian spirituality of tears of repentance that became transformed into tears of wonder and silence. He records in one of his works, ‘I wept and lived in unutterable joy.’…One day in the midst of his tears. Saint Symeon experienced such a strong joy that he exclaimed, ‘What can be greater than this? It is enough for me to be in this state even after death!’ The voice of Christ answered. ‘You are indeed too faint hearted to be contented with his. Compared with the blessing to come, this is like a description of heaven on paper.'”

Thought for the day: Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the gift of knowledge so that you will use created things for the Glory of God. May this knowledge of created things help you experience tears of joy and peace.

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