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Sunday, 16 April 1989


1. In this Sunday reflection I want to pause today on the second gift of the Holy Spirit, Understanding. We know very well that faith is adherence to God in the chiaroscuro of mystery; but it is also search in the desire to know the revealed truth more and better. Now, such an interior urge comes to us from the Holy Spirit who, with faith, gives us precisely this special gift of intelligence and, as it were, intuition of the divine truth.

The word "intellect" derives from the Latin "intus legere", which means "to read within", to penetrate, to understand thoroughly. Through this gift the Holy Spirit who "sees into the depths of God" (1 Cor 2:10), communicates to the believer a glint of such a penetrating capacity, opening the heart to the joyous understanding of God's loving plan. Once again the experience of the disciples of Emmaus is renewed; having recognised the Risen Lord in the breaking of the bread, they said to one another: "Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us? (Lk 24:32).

2. This supernatural intelligence is given not only to individuals, but also to the community: to pastors who, as successors of the Apostles, are heirs to the specific promise made to them by Christ (cf. Jn 14:26; 16:13), and to the faithful who, thanks to the "anointing" of the Spirit (cf. 1 Jn 2:20 and 27), possess a special "sense of the faith'' (sensus fidei) which guides them in their concrete choices.

The light of the Spirit, in fact, while it sharpens the understanding of divine things, renders ever more clear and penetrating the understanding of human things. Thanks to it one sees better the many signs of God which are written in creation. Thus is discovered the not merely earthly dimension of events of which human history is woven. One can even arrive at prophetically interpreting the present and the future: signs of the times, signs of God!

3. Dear faithful, let us turn to the Holy Spirit with the words of the Liturgy: "Come, Holy Spirit, come! And from your celestial home shed a ray of light divine!" (Sequence of Pentecost).

Let us invoke him through the intercession of Mary Most Holy, the listening Virgin who, in the light of the Spirit, was able to read tirelessly the: deep meaning of the mysteries which the Almighty worked in her (cf. Lk 2:19 and 51). The contemplation of the wonders of God will also be for us the source of inexhaustible joy: "My soul glorifies :he Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my saviour" (Lk 1:46 f.).