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The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit – Wisdom

Today we’ll begin looking at the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit by examining the gift of wisdom. Wisdom is God-given knowledge, not learned from books, that provides us with a more intimate and joyful insight into God and His mysteries. This gift enables us to better know God and divine things. It can be illustrated by the words of Jesus when He states, “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.” (Mt 11:25) In other words, there is a type of revelation that no amount of studying can produce as it is directly infused into our soul by God. It allows simple souls to “see with the eyes of God”.

The concept of a heavenly wisdom can further be seen in scripture where James contrasts it with earthly wisdom,” Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show his works by a good life in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. Wisdom of this kind does not come down from above but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity. (James 3:13-17)

St. Augustine tells us, ”Wisdom is the knowledge of Divine things.” It allows us to “see things from God’s perspective”. In his book, The Three Ages of the Interior Life, R. Garrigou-Lagrange writes, “The gift of wisdom, the principle of a living contemplation that directs action, enables the soul to taste the goodness of God, to see it manifested in all events, even in the most painful, since God permits evil only for a higher good, which we shall see later and which it is sometimes given us to glimpse on earth.” The gift of wisdom enables us to better understand how God will often allow crosses to enter our lives in order to bring about a greater good. We may not comprehend exactly what the greater good is, but we will be more inclined to trust God’s judgment.

The saints teach us that wisdom is closely related to the virtue of charity. Therefore, the more one loves God, the more capable they are of receiving this gift. And the more that the gift of wisdom increases in the soul, the more capable of loving God one becomes.

We’ll end with a prayer by St. Thomas Aquinas, asking God for an increase in the gift of wisdom: Lord, give me wisdom, the companion of Your throne, that it may ever be with me and labor with me, so that I may know what is acceptable to You, Lord God. Who is there that can know Your meaning unless You give wisdom and send Your Holy Spirit from on high.

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