Front Row With Francis: The Gift of Understanding


Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the GospelPope Francis continues his catechesis this week on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. After having examined wisdom as the first of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. This week he draws attention to the second gift, the gift of understanding. He goes on to say that:” Born of our sharing in God’s life through faith and baptism the gift of understanding enables us to see in all things the unfolding of his eternal plan of love.”

The gift of understanding allows us to penetrate more deeply into the truths of our faith. The more we love the more we seek, the more we seek the more we find; and when our soul finds that which it loves it begins to understand God in a whole new way. The gift of understanding brings us face to face with the ‘Word who became Flesh.’  When the gift of understanding penetrates into our souls we are born again in the sense that we now see only what a soul in love with Jesus can see.

This gift sets our souls on fire and we want to share this gift with others because we now know a love unlike all other loves. This love urges us to say “yes’ to Jesus in all that He may ask us. This love enables us to carry our crosses for Him, who has loved us so much that He gave His life for us.  This gift surpasses our human way of understanding, and now we began to see things in a divine way; what Pope Francis explained as “intus legere,” that is, “to read within.” Now we understand things with God’s understanding.

Daily I pray and ask the Holy Spirit to know and understand what God wants me to know and understand. We can get so lost in the things of the world that we lose our way, we stop seeing with the eyes of Jesus. We become entangled within ourselves and selfish behaviors set in. The gift of understanding is for all of us who have been baptized into God’s grace. Once baptized, the Holy Spirit can help us penetrate the divine mysteries.  God communicates with the soul whose love has no limits, so the more we love the more our life reflects the life of God within us.

Through the gift of understanding the Holy Spirit opens the soul to a simpler yet more profound form of prayer.  The soul now clings to the truth in all things and feels as though its soul has been immersed in the love of God. The soul is now connected to God throughout the day in all that it does. This love is powerful; this understanding of God’s love is what drives us to become saints. For we now see with the eyes of God. Can it get any better than that?

“By the light of understanding, I’ve tasted and seen Your profound nature, Eternal Trinity, and the beauty of your creation.” ~Saint Catherine of Siena, The Dialogue~


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