Friday, April 19, 2024

The Gifts of Intellect

As I stare at my blinking cursor, there is a “voice” whispering, “Who are you, Geralyn, to think that your musings bring any good to anyone? Your words are just a clanging gong! Who do you think you are?”

Such “whispers” that are deeply embedded within my soul stir up a part of me that is so fearful and intimated that she wants to crawl back into a hole and disappear. Is this part of COVID fatigue? Perhaps. But, I might have finally gotten to a point in my musings where words cannot adequately describe the concepts I struggle to explain.

As I continue my series on the Holy Spirit, I can truly ponder, “Who am I, really?” I am a mere creature trying to contemplate the awesomeness of God. Yet, God, in His mercy and boundless love, does make Himself known to me – to all of us! What a marvel! I am humbly left speechless (No easy feat!) and full of gratitude and awe!

Even so, I yearn for all of us to be more attentive to His whispers, His divine inspirations as we enter more fully into the spiritual life. He can achieve wonders with us if only we are open to it!

With this being said, let us turn to what is called the “intellectual gifts” of the Holy Spirit: understanding, knowledge, wisdom and counsel. This article serves as an introduction to these four gifts.

So, what do these have in common? As Archbishop Luis Martinez says, in his book, The Sanctifier, “A common characteristic of these four gifts is that they are all founded on faith. Faith is the virtue by which we trust in God’s divine authority and believe all that he has revealed to us. It is the light on the way of our exile, like the little lamp that shines in a dark place.  … (2 Peter 1:19)  … [T]he gifts of the Holy Spirit multiply, refine, and transform the spiritual light of faith, but it is always the same light that radiates all supernatural knowledge.”1

But what can we “know” about faith? I was told many years ago that there are two aspects of knowledge. The first one comes from reading about faith and things of God, and the other comes from an actual experience of faith which stems from acts of love, also known as charity.

Archbishop Martinez continues, “Charity, that queen virtue which unites and gives life to all virtues, binds us to God to such a degree that we can say He makes us one with him.  … Love accomplishes the most perfect union. When charity unites us with God so that we are one single spirit with him, we recognize divine things by a sweet experience in the same intimate way in which we are conscious of the depths of our own heart.  Souls intimately united to God by charity seem to find the elements of knowledge of God in the depth of their own being. This is the basic explanation of why the intellectual gifts us a new, intimate, and at times very sweet knowledge of divine things.” 2

It seems that I have gone in full circle! Finding God in the depth of my being! He is there not because of anything I have done or who I am. He is there because of His love and mercy.

Are you speechless yet? I know I am, again!

1Martínez Luis M. The Sanctifier. Pauline Books & Media, 2004. Pg. 172-173
2Martinez, Pg. 175.

By Sister Geralyn Schmidt, SCC, Special to The Witness

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