Continuing his catechesis on the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis’ catechesis at this Wednesday’s general audience focused on understanding. “It is not human understanding or the intellectual capacity with which we are gifted to a greater or a lesser extent”, he explained. “It is a grace the only the Holy Spirit may infuse and which awakens in the Christian the capacity to go beyond external appearances and to scrutinize the depths of God’s thought and His plan of salvation”.
Pope Francis recalled the words the apostle Paul addressed to the Corinthians, in which he described the effects of this gift: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived, the things God has prepared for those who love him – these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit”.
“This obviously does not mean that a Christian can understand everything, and have full knowledge of God’s plans”, he emphasized. “However, as the word itself suggests, the intellect permits us to ‘intus legere’, to ‘read within’. This gift enables us to comprehend things as God does, with God’s understanding. … It is a gift intimately linked to faith. When the Holy Spirit abides in our heart and enlightens our mind, it allows us to grow, day after day, in our understanding of what the Lord has said and done”.
Pope Francis explained that the same thing happened to the Apostles on the way to Emmaus, when they did not recognize Jesus because they were not capable of doing so. “But, when the Lord explained his Scriptures to them, so that they were able to understand that He had to suffer and die in order to be resurrected, their minds opened and hope reawakened in their hearts. This is what the Holy Spirit does for us through the gift of understanding”.