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The Gift of Understanding

The second gift of the Holy Spirit which perfects the theological virtue of Faith is understanding. It enables one to see more deeply into the mysteries of the faith and judge with certainty all created things. This understanding is not so much the fruit of study, but the loving desire to understand all the Father has revealed. The mysteries of God’s revelation have been made known and with the Spirit’s prompting, can be penetrated and understood. God created us for friendship and this gift enables us to know of His love, mercy, glory, and power which moves our heart to love and live as adopted sons and daughters of God.

The effects of the Gift of Understanding are as follows:

  • Gives one deeper insight into the meaning of Scripture, the truths
    of the Faith, moral teachings
  • Imparts a sense of confidence and certainty in belief
  • Grasps the reality of heaven; our beatific communion with God
  • Reveals how the truths of Faith serve as standards for human actions

Being able to recognize these effects will help you identify the inspirations of the Holy Spirit in your daily life. It often takes place when you least expect it. For example, you could be reading your Bible and the passages enable you to understand more fully God’s revelation. Perhaps a person is questioning your belief in Jesus Christ and you are able to express the reasons why with confidence. In sum, when you have those moments of “Ah—now I get it,” thank the Holy Spirit.

One last example; in the Acts of the Apostles, St. Luke describes the lives of the apostles after Pentecost. If you read the first two chapters, you can see the effects of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and in particular, the Gift of Understanding. Peter, who once denied knowing Jesus, preaches with confidence to the crowd and his words “cut to the heart” (Acts 2:37). Those in attendance repented and close to 3,000 asked to be baptized. Indeed, this is the power of the Holy Spirit. Each of us should pray for an outpouring of His Spirit upon us.

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