Knowledge: Pentecost Octave

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The Gift of Knowledge, when operative, is concerned with differentiating between what is and is not consistent with Faith. By this Gift, God enables us to recognize when a human and temporal thing—a plan, a practice, an idea—ought to be received as consistent with revealed truth.

This Gift operates, then, as a kind of supernatural instinct for discerning the authentic and the inauthentic in all that pertains to God and to our salvation. The Gift of Knowledge keeps the saints—those who truly love God—from falling into errors and confusion in faith and morals.

As Saint Thomas Aquinas explains, although Faith itself touches on what is divine and eternal (that is, God), the act of believing is a temporal and created event in the mind of the believer. Our ideas about God, even when true, are not the same as God himself. This is why a particular Gift is needed for dealing with them here and now. Knowledge provides a means by which we can conform our beliefs to the truth of Faith, thus bringing us confidence and certainty in questions that concern the practical and theoretical judgments of religion.

We fall. We do wrong.

Saint Thomas, however, relates the Gift of Knowledge to the Beatitude of mourning (Matthew 5:5). In this he relies on the insight of Saint Augustine, who observed that knowledge befits those who mourn, that is, those people who have learned a hard lesson by the difficulty of defeat they experience whenever they seek evil things as goods. Saint Thomas reminds us how precious is the knowledge we gain from our mistakes. True, it fills us with sorrow for what we have done wrong. But at the same time it gives us true consolation, for our regret over past failings finally persuades us to accept the created things in our life in the way that God would have us accept them: not making idols out of them, but using them in God’s Providence to lead us more surely into his love. The right judgment of Knowledge comforts us by assuring us how created things are ordered to divine Good.

Come, O Blessed Spirit of Knowledge, and grant that I may perceive the will of the Father; show me the nothingness of earthly things, that I may realize their vanity and use them only for Thy glory and my own salvation, looking ever beyond them to Thee, and Thy eternal rewards. Amen.

Recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and seven Glory Be’s

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