The Gifts: Understanding

While related to The Gifts of Knowledge and Wisdom, the Gift of Understanding has a precise role: to penetrate in a divine way the information and intuition gained from the Gift of Knowledge. With Knowledge, we come to know the purpose for which we exist: to love and glorify God alone, and all only to see God in persons and creatures as a means to love Him. With Knowledge we come to know that all things are vanity and that in comparison to God we are nothingness, but we are still intimately loved and we must return that love. By contrast, the Gift of Understanding allows us to completely penetrate all we know from the Gift of Knowledge and to penetrate all these spiritual truths to reveal their depths in God the infinite. We learn to probe the few critical pieces of knowledge and savor them….to delight in them with joy…because we realize our end: eternal salvation and possession of God, who is Infinite Love for all eternity! So, Knowledge unveils the key eternal truths, while Understanding allows the deep penetration, savoring and joy of realizing what these truths bring if we remain faithful: intimate love though suffering and reparation with Him now in this life and eternal love with God forever in Heaven!

Archbishop Martinez asks us to contemplate this analogy: with the people we love and are closest to, we do not need for them to talk to know what is in their thoughts. The same way with the Gift of Understanding. When this Gift is operating, we see in our soul and understand His Love and our response to that love. When our Lord was speaking to Nicodemus, He showed the need for both Knowledge and Understanding: “If I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I speak to you of heavenly things?” (John 3:12)

Understanding is the key Gift needed in order to properly practice the prayer of contemplation, where God will raise souls to a singular and profound vision of God and the things of God. “How much more will the Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13)

The Gift of Understanding allows us to more fully see God in the Blessed Sacrament as a Person with feelings, who is so alone! Understanding allows us to realize that all things work together for good for those who love God, and that He brings God out of the most evil things man has done. Understanding allows us to realize that all things are caused or permitted by God for our greater spiritual glory and thus we should NEVER be sad, but to ask and expect joy even in pain and suffering as God will transform it into joy if we but love….and ask!

All those who love have seen glimpses of God through the Gift of Understanding: the feeling and sense of love, wonder and awe at a beautiful Mass or First Communion; a heroic moment when someone risks their life for another and dies trying; an extraordinary sunset where God seems to be reaching and calling out to us with love. Have we not seen clearly in a flash something of God we never fully understood before? This is from the Gift of Understanding!

Let us continue with the Novena begging for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit at

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2 Responses to The Gifts: Understanding

  1. Anthony, thank you so much for posting this entire series again. I have been in and out of town and busy with so many things these last couple of weeks, but I’ve wanted to read and pray with these reflections. I decided to copy all of them in order in one document and save it to my tablet so I can bring it with me to Adoration each day. I will be able to take my time and savor these gems!


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