Understanding God is both a gift from the Holy Spirit and a virtue. Pope Francis teaches that:
“It is a grace only the Holy Spirit may infuse and which awakens in the Christian the capacity to go beyond external appearances and to scrutinize the depths of God’s thoughts and His plan of salvation…This gift enables us to comprehend things as God does, with God’s understanding…It is a gift intimately linked to faith. When the Holy Spirit abides in our heart and enlightens our mind, it allows us to grow, day after day, in our understanding of what the Lord has said and done.”1
We have the capacity for understanding God and His workings (gift) as well as the ability to apply that understanding to our daily lives (virtue). For example, let’s say you’ve gone on a job interview, and would really like to get the job, but you don’t. It is with faith and understanding of God and His workings that you realize that the “no” decision was in your best interests, and that God has something better in mind for you.
When we evaluate circumstances as Pope Francis describes, we are graced with understanding God and how He works. Yet, we live in a counter-cultural, secular society where we face relativism and secularism every day. We know that to be a child of God, we must defer from following along with the “politically correct” crowd, especially when such circumstances defy God’s understanding of Truth. No, we understand that we must take a stance for what is true, in accordance with Christ’s teachings. Many times, that means bucking the societal trend of the day.
Why embrace understanding? We’ll address the answer to that question in our next reflection. Don’t miss it!
Footnote: 1 Pope Francis. Weekly Address: Catechesis on the Gift of Understanding. 30 Apr. 2014, news.va