Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘knowledge’


Gifts . . . freely given

Jean Restout: The Paraclete

The Seventh Day of Christmas, December 31, 2017

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me seven swans a-swimming.  

Wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, fear of God. These seven gifts freely given by the Spirit reside with us – whether we know it or not, and whether we believe it or not. When we least expect it, the Spirit rises to provide us with the tools we need for the circumstances we experience.

Wisdom comes to us with patience and with waiting on the LORD. When we reflect on the persons who hold wisdom, we realize that they listen more than they speak, praise more than they berate, and love more than they disparage. These gifted ones share their wisdom with us, and we do well to share God’s wisdom with others.

Understanding is more than comprehending, more than accepting, and more than believing. Understanding pierces darkness, brings lights, nurtures love in others and enacts love in all. When we practice understanding, we receive more than we expect, and more than we can hold. Understanding grows wherever it resides.

Counsel allows each of us to respond to God’s call no matter how challenging, no matter how awkward, no matter how uncomfortable we may feel. Counsel converts fear into courage. Counsel transforms hatred into love. Those who are open to God’s counsel are better able to see The Way of Christ and to follow.

Fortitude brings us the strength to do what needs to be done when few others will do it. Fortitude brings us the resolution to endure suffering, and to allow God’s hand to convert our suffering into joy. When we allow God’s fortitude to support us in difficult times, we remember Psalm 126: they go out weeping and return rejoicing.

Knowledge of the LORD brings us the foundation on which to stand as we enact the work God calls us to do in this world that struggles to be Kingdom here and now. This gift, perhaps more than any other, allows us to speak and act with authority as Jesus does. Knowledge instructs our decisions, lives in our words, and guides our actions. Knowledge informs our sense of justice and mercy, brings order out of confusion, and love out of hate.

Piety is not a saccharine, duty-bound quality of sweetness; rather, it is love bolstered by God’s power, fidelity strengthened by God’s steadfastness, and hope empowered by God’s promise. Piety is faithful because it makes the choice to persist in God’s love and to believe in God’s covenant. Piety does more than just show up. Piety acts with compassion and patience; and piety is unshakable.

Fear of God is not the experience of anxiety or alarm; it is instead love of God for God’s sake. It demonstrates respect, seeks to worship, and shares joy in the experience of God. One who fears the LORD, stands in awe of God’s goodness and is eager to share the Good News of our rescue from pain and worry.

These seven gifts are more than words. They are tangible forces in our lives. They are stones with which we lay the foundation for our relationship with God. Those who would be wise, are also understanding. Those who give counsel also provide fortitude. Those with knowledge and piety live in awe of God who loves us into creation, and who abides with us even beyond the end of time. On this eve of a new year, we do well to open ourselves to these gifts freely given.

Isaiah 11 describes the Spirit’s gifts as does Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 12.

To learn more about the gifts of the Holy Spirit, visit: http://catholicstraightanswers.com/gifts-holy-spirit/

 

Read Full Post »


Daniel 5:5-29The Spirit

Wednesday, August 19, 2015spirit-of-god-breathe-in-me

A Favorite from June 6, 2009.

I have heard that the spirit of God is in you, that you possess brilliant knowledge and extraordinary wisdom . . . I have heard that you can interpret dreams and solve difficulties.

These are the words of the pagan king Belshazzar, the son of Nebuchadnezzar, who recognizes the superiority of Daniel’s wisdom over the sorcery of his court magicians.  He sees that the power of this God of the Jewish nation far outstrips the magic of his astrologers.

Brilliant knowledge . . . extraordinary wisdom capable of solving difficulties and of solving enigmas . . . these are certainly great powers . . . and they are beyond price.  When the king offers to pay Daniel for his gift of interpretation,  Daniel replies: You may keep your gifts, or give your presents to someone else; but the writing I will read for you.  Daniel is the only one present who is capable of reading the famous writing on the wall from verses 5 and 6.  Daniel accepts no payment, knowing that he has not invented this wisdom on his own, knowing that God is the bringer of all wisdom.

The king was terrified; his face went ashen, and his lords were thrown into confusion.  There are many times when we read our own writing on the wall that foretells cataclysm.  There are many times when we are thrown into confusion by the events and people surrounding us.  We look for someone in whom the spirit of God rests, someone who has brilliant knowledge and god-like wisdom.

The human Christ dies to release us from our earth cares and our human prison.  The divine in us is thus rescued from oblivion.  If Jesus has not been human . . . if we are not divine . . . the wisdom we seek when we are confused by the world would not come to us.  If we were not co-creators and co-redeemers with Christ as his adopted sisters and brothers, this brilliant knowledge that interprets the mysteries of our lives would not be available to us.

The story of Daniel is a variegated one; it is full of stories that encourage us when we are at our lowest, when we feel our exile, when we fear the lions and the fiery furnace.  Daniel foretells the coming of the Son of Man, the title Jesus takes on as his own.  Daniel suffers calamitous events, yet rises above them on this great tide of God’s wisdom, God’s spirit, God’s love, God’s saving power.

When we are deeply troubled, when we see no way out, when we see the writing on the wall that rises just inches from our faces, it is time to sit with this story.  It is time to welcome in this Spirit of God that can interpret dreams and solve difficulties; and it is time to accept no payment from this world.  It is time to behave as this faithful exile far from home; it is time to turn to God, to pronounce truth, and to listen to the word that hums within.

Read Full Post »


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Romans 11:33-36

the-universeThe Depths of Riches

Oh the depths of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How inscrutable God’s judgments and how unsearchable God’s ways!

God says: I know that many of you do not worry about the details of your day, that you rely on me entirely, and that you rest in riches. I know that some of you are too frightened to rely on my wisdom and knowledge and that others of you want to understand every detail of every circumstance and challenge me to demonstrate my love for you in some tangible sign of your choosing.

For who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been God’s counselor? Or who has given the Lord anything that may be repaid?

God says: If I present to you the complexities of the universe and you struggle with that . . . how will you comprehend all the details you demand? If my prophet Jeremiah tires you . . . take heart. I am with you always. 

For from God and through God and for God are all things. To God be glory forever. Amen.

God says: I love more than all my riches, more than all my wisdom, more than all I know. If my ways are inscrutable to you, be patient. Once you have quieted your fear it will cease to control you. Once you have rested in me you will begin to feel my peace. Once you rely on me, you too will hold in your hands the depths of my riches.  

For more on God’s Wisdom, enter the words in the blog search bar and explore.

For a remarkable experience of our universe as we know it, click on the image above or go to: http://www.numbersleuth.org/universe/

Read Full Post »


Saturday, March 15, 2014

John 14:26-27

holy-spirit-dove[1]Prayer for Understanding

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  (John 14:26-27)

We crave to be heard and understood yet all the while God’s counsel is before us. As we continue our Lenten journey with the prophet Amos, let us listening for the wisdom sent to us on the wings of the Spirit.

First Word: Put away black-and-white thinking.  May we learn to see both sides of every story, listen to both hearts in every argument.  Holy Spirit, bring us your counsel.

Second Word: Step away from corruption and nepotism.  May we have the courage grapple with dishonesty in ourselves and others. Holy Spirit, bring us your fortitude.

images[9]Third Word: Be open to transformation and redemption. May we be open to the healing presence of God. Holy Spirit, nurture in us a loving awe of the Lord.

First Woe: Be wary of the ease with which violence creeps into our lives. May we grow to understand how violence insinuates itself into our lives. Holy Spirit, send us deep and lasting wisdom.

Second Woe: Be prepared for deep mourning that threatens to drag us into darkness. May we grow in faithfulness and devotion to God.  Holy Spirit, instill in us fidelity and piety.

Third Woe: Turn away from your worship of little gods and turn toward the Living God. May we grow in our awareness of false teachers and preachers. Holy Spirit, engender in us deep knowledge of God’s ways.

holy spirit image[1]We crave to be heard and understood; let us listen for God’s Word . . . and let us ask for understanding of the world’s Woes.  Let us give thanks to God’s prophet Amos who speaks to us today.  As we prepare to enter our second week of Lent, let us pause to listen . . . to reflect . . . and to pray, in Jesus’s name, and in unity with the Holy Spirit.   Amen.

For more information and images of the Holy Spirit, click on the images above.

For more on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, including a link to a more in-depth discussion, go to: http://catholicism.about.com/od/beliefsteachings/f/FAQ_Gifts_HS.htm  

Read Full Post »


Thursday, January 23, 2014

9-teth[1]Psalm 119:65-72

Teth

Teach me your wisdom and knowledge . . . It was good for me to be afflicted, in order to learn your laws . . .

In this ninth strophe we near the middle of Psalm 119 and here the psalmist reaches out to God, asking for wisdom and knowledge specifically, promising to adhere to the Law of loving one another that Yahweh has written on our hearts. The psalmist expresses a truth we all know but often do not want to admit: we learn life’s lessons best when we are under siege or overwhelmed, and it is from this suffering that God calls forth joy.

God says: I tell you frequently so of this you may be certain: I am with you always, I see your joys and sorrows, and I bring nothing but goodness out of the great harm that some of you plot.  So put away any plans of deception and come to the truth.  Honesty, authenticity, integrity and love will heal any rift.  In my plan and in my time, my love transforms even the darkest of hearts.  You may believe my goodness to be hidden . . . but it lives forever in your hearts.

Rather than curse our painful circumstances, let us enter into God’s plan of inversion and allow our sorrow to lead us to the one who can heal the deepest of wounds.  Let us allow God to love us infinitely and unconditionally.

When the Lord restored our fortunes we thought we were dreaming. Our mouths were filled with laughter; our tongues sang for joy . . . Those who sow in tears will reap with cries of joy. Those who go forth weeping, carrying sacks of seed, with return with cries of joy, carrying their bundled sheaves.  (Psalm 126)

For more information on the letter Teth and how it represents inversion and concealed good, go to: http://www.inner.org/hebleter/tet.htm or http://www.hebrewtoday.com/content/hebrew-alphabet-letter-tet-%D7%98

Tomorrow, the letter Yodh.

Read Full Post »


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

ladder-in-the-darkness[1]2 Peter 2:5

Making Every Effort

Make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, virtue with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with devotion, devotion with mutual affection, mutual affection with love.  

Peter shows a stairway we might climb as we grow in our understanding of how we might live according to The Law of Love Christ opens for us.  He begins with the concept of faith, a gift given by God that empowers us to believe that which we cannot see or hear or touch or smell but which we have every reason to believe.  When we are weary and our faith flags, we bolster belief with virtue, or good and moral behavior.  When we feel tempted to toss all morality to the winds we strengthen ourselves by studying the Word and gaining knowledge.  When this knowledge is not enough to encourage us we must control our urge to throw spiritual tantrums like those who are just beginning their journey.  We reinforce our dwindling self-control by enduring, by running the race to the end.  We boost endurance by remaining loyal to God no matter our circumstances.  This devotion may also need strengthening and if this is so . . . we turn to one for shared sustenance, for mutual affection.  And when this is not enough . . . we turn to God for Christ’s endless, limitless and eternal gift of love.

God says: Peter has shown you a ladder you might climb, yet I know that for many of you this work is too arduous.  So do not worry, my little ones.  If you are too weak I will carry you.  If you are too sad I will bring you joy.  If you are too alone I will send you a companion.  If you are too frightened I will calm your personal storm.  Make every effort as best you can.  Call on me.  My hands and feet, arms and legs will do the rest.  Peter offers you his own ladder.  Put your step on the first rung and bolster your faith.

Click on the links to find definitions of these steps in Peter’s ladder and reflect on how these rungs lead us up and out of darkness.

Read Full Post »


Monday, September 2, 2013

god_speaks[1]Proverbs 2:6-8

God’s Mouth

For the Lord gives wisdom, from God’s mouth come knowledge and understanding; God has counsel in store for the upright, God is the shield of those who walk honestly, guarding the paths of justice, protecting the way of the faithful.

We are often tempted to go our own way, convincing ourselves that we have enough personal strength, enough contacts, enough resources to protect ourselves.  Yet when disaster strikes all of this power is useless.

God says, When I see you placing all of your efforts into temporal storehouses I love you all the more.  When days and weeks and months go by without your speaking to me, I call to you.  I come to walk among you in the person of Jesus to give you counsel.  My Spirit dwells within you to serve as your shield, to guard you each day, to protect you from the disasters that will befall you.  Jesus comes to you as My Word.  Jesus brings knowledge and understanding from mouth to your heart.  Open your heart to me.

God is not remote or detached.  God does not watch us from a distance.  God is around us in all of creation.  God is within us giving knowledge and understanding.  God’s wisdom reverberates in the hearts of those who walk with honesty and live faithfully.  Although we cannot hear God, God speaks to us each minute of each day . . . bringing us knowledge and understanding.

Read Full Post »


Friday, April 12, 2013 – 1 Peter 1

lambs[1]The Gift and Call of God

We have witnessed the miracle of Easter. We have seen the risen Lord.  We have accompanied the disciples as they watch and await the call to kingdom building.  We have witnessed the return and redemption of the apostle Peter.  Today and tomorrow we reflect on the gift and call of God – love freely given, Word openly amidst us.  We turn to the opening of the first of Peter’s letters and examine his message.

In a homily this morning, Bishop Newman pointed out that Jesus’ apostles awaited his second coming as a physical one.  They most likely expected Jesus to return in the same way he had returned after his resurrection.  This second coming did not take place in their lifetimes; scholars will tell us that this second coming takes place in the life of each of us.  This thinking makes Peter’s words to us today all the more immediate:  We wait for and hasten the coming of the day of God . . .  He suggests to us today that we implement faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, endurance, devotion, and mutual love in order that we might persevere without becoming discouraged.  The Bishop reminded us that we might re-read these words when we are exhausted from waiting, when apostolic witnessing has taken its toll, when prophecy seems a dim memory.

Peter tells us that his words are altogether reliable.  We know the persistence he mustered in order to continue telling Christ’s story against so much disbelief and opposition.  He denied the Christ three times on the night of Jesus’ crucifixion; after the resurrection he thrice affirmed that Jesus was the Son of the Living God . . . and for this loyalty he was asked to feed God’s lambs, to feed God’s sheep.  So when we are asked – as Peter was asked – Do you truly love me? how will we respond to this gift?  And when we are asked – as Peter was asked – Feed my sheep, how will we answer this call?  Are we willing to endure?  Are we able to remain?  Can we put ourselves at risk?  Will we extend ourselves to others?

We have received a great gift, the gift of life.  We have received a great call, the call to eternal life.  Let us consider what we have before us.  Let us look to the example of Peter.  And let us be genuine and authentic in our reply.

First written on June 1, 2010. Edited and posted today as a Favorite.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: