Today’s post is written by a guest contributor Jacquelyne Rocan.
In today’s world, we have access to a vast array of information through the internet and other sources, as well as people’s opinions, feelings, and thoughts about any topic that you can imagine. Many times, opinions and thoughts are prefaced with “I know this for a fact …” or “I know this to be true …” or similar language. With the term “know” or “knowledge” used so frequently when expressing an opinion or feeling, it leads me to the question whether all of this information and commentary is truly “knowledge” or something else entirely.
One of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the Gift of Knowledge can be readily distinguished from what passes as “knowledge” on the internet or social media. The Gift of Knowledge is defined in the Catholic Dictionary on the Catholic Culture website as:
“One of the seven infused gifts. By the illuminating action of the Holy Spirit it perfects the virtue of faith. It gives a person the ability to judge everything from a supernatural viewpoint. The object of this gift is the whole spectrum of created things insofar as they lead one to God. Through infused knowledge the faithful can see the providential purpose of whatever enters their lives, and they are able to put creatures to the right use according to God's will for themselves and for others. Sometimes called “the science of the saints,” it enables those who have the gift to discern easily and effectively between the impulses of temptation and the inspirations of grace.”
Pope Francis, in a 2014 weekly audience, gave the following insight about this gift:
“The knowledge that comes from the Holy Spirit, however, is not limited to human knowledge; it is a special gift, which leads us to grasp, through creation, the greatness and love of God and his profound relationship with every creature.”
At its heart, the Gift of Knowledge allows us to be able to learn more and more about God. Knowledge is reliable information that is acquired intellectually, through experience, or through a personal relationship. As believers, knowledge of God is our ultimate aim, and God has given us the Holy Scripture so that we can know Him better. As St. Paul reminds us, “[a]ll Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction and training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3: 16-17). The more that we read Holy Scripture, embrace it, and incorporate it in our daily lives, the better we will know God.
A personal encounter with God through the Scriptures is an essential element to truly knowing God. Jesus tells us that knowledge of Him is knowledge of the truth:
“I am the way, and the truth, and life; no one comes to the Father, but by me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him.”Focus on His truth, John 14:6
Ultimately, the Gift of Knowledge gives us the ability to judge all things according to the truths of the Catholic faith. The Gift of Knowledge allows us to see the circumstances of our lives in the manner that God sees them (to the extent that we can as we are limited by our human nature), so that we can discern God’s will for our lives, and then accept and live out His will for each of us.
Those who are baptized receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are gifts of grace (supernatural gifts that God bestows entirely from His mercy for the eternal salvation of His people). For those that have received this gift by virtue of our baptism, how can we best cultivate the Gift of Knowledge? Here are two thoughts:
Pray every day: I know most, if not all of you, have a daily prayer routine. In addition to those daily prayers, the Church offers a multitude of prayers to the Holy Spirit, including the following beautiful Prayer for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit by St. Alphonsus Liguori:
Study our faith: Spend time each day with the Scripture (perhaps read one or two chapters of the Bible each day or use a Bible in a Day book or podcast). There are many other wonderful options for spiritual reading available, including reading sections from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, or a biography of or writings from your favorite saint. Spending even 15 minutes a day with spiritual reading will open your soul and heart to the Gift of Knowledge so that you can discern God’s will for your life, and live out that will, each and every day.
I pray that you will continue to be Smitten with Goodness, and know the truth that God loves you and will be with you always!
Jacquelyne Rocan is a life-long Catholic that enjoys continuing to learn and grow in the faith. She has a special devotion to St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Calcutta. Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, she lived in a number of U.S. cities while growing up and is now happy to call Houston, Texas home. During the day, she practices law, and spends her free time reading good books, enjoying movies, drinking hot tea, and dreaming of when she can travel to Italy again.