In preparation for the Feast of Pentecost, we look at the gifts of the Holy Spirit mentioned in the Rite of Confirmation.
The Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding.
We are the heirs of many generations of humanity.
Each generation carries experiences of living. Knowledge has been accumulating about health, nutrition, interpersonal relationships, social structures and so many other areas of human experience.
Wise and thoughtful women and men have been reflecting on these experiences as to what is ‘Right ways of Living’ for many thousands of years!
There are strengths and weaknesses in every person, families and culture. We sometimes talk of shadows and strengths.
• Wisdom is about the deeper and bigger truths.
• It is about knowing what is more important.
• It is about the greater good, choosing the greater good, and not what is easiest.
• It is about not having knee-jerk reactions.
• It is about choosing to learn to wait and not come with simplistic answers to the challenges of life.
• It is about knowing when to act and when not to act.
• It is also about knowing that we are limited and amazing at the same time.
• It is about being open to mystery!
The wisdom of the Holy Spirit is God’s wisdom. We are given the Grace to let God guide us.
Grace builds on nature. While we need to grow in human wisdom, we also are empowered to grow in the fuller wisdom that comes from God. We need to let God surprise us, we need to learn to listen prayerfully in the quiet of our hearts and reflecting on daily events. We do not ignore human wisdom, far from it, but we need to accept that God’s wisdom is fuller, richer and much bigger!
Understanding requires listening, and openness to learn, an openness not to get stuck!
True wisdom helps our understanding. Does this mean that I can understand it all?
I can trust a surgeon about to do an operation on me, or a mechanic who is going to fix my car, etc. without fully understanding all the details.
Understanding means that I both keep on learning new things whilst trusting the deeper knowledge of others.
God speaks to us in our hearts in ‘the silence’, in the events of life. The Holy Spirit connects through the scriptures, the Spirit-filled wisdom in the spiritual and other teachings of the Christian community over the generations. The Holy Spirit also blows where the Spirit wants beyond our immediate understanding!
An active desire for wisdom and understanding is about co-operating with the Holy Spirit given to us. It is about ‘awakening’ and ‘fully living’!
God Bless you today.
Bishop of Darwin