In less than a month, we will celebrate Confirmation with the young people from our parish schools. Every year in preparation for confirmation, the young people try to memorize the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. Today I would like to speak of one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit – the gift of Knowledge. The gift of knowledge is the ability to see the created world in relation to its creator. It allows us to see creation in a new way.
This summer, Pope Francis released a letter “Laudato Si” on the care for our common home. You may have heard something about it in the news: Such as the pope speaking against climate change or asking us to turn down our air conditioners or not waste food. Yet, our Holy Father says much more than can be summarized in soundbites. In many ways I see Pope Francis’ letter inspired by the gift of knowledge – understanding the world in relation to its creator.
The gift of knowledge helps us to see God’s glory in each creature. The pope reflects on how as Christians we use the word “Creation” as opposed to “nature” or environment. This reminds us that our world is more than a system to be studied or natural resources to be extracted and used. The word Creation reminds us of the creator. Looking at what God has made in this world we can learn something about his wisdom, his power, his strength, his beauty and ultimately his love. Every creature shows forth God’s glory in a unique way.
Pope francis speaks of plants and animals that go extinct – even if it does not directly affect humanity – it is one less creature giving glory to God.
The gift of knowledge helps us to see we are responsible for each other. In the title of his encyclical the pope speaks of the world as “our common home”.
Creation is a gift from the Father to his children. I have responsibility for creation, because I have responsibility for my brothers and sisters. The world is not just for me, but for all God’s children. I must make sure that the resources of the world are shared with all members of the human family, especially the poor.
We must care for this world so that we can pass it to the next generation. The gift of knowledge helps us to practice moderation and temperance. In his letter Pope Francis speaks of how happiness is not found in amassing many things, but learning to enjoy the things we have. When we see the true value of created goods, we can see the beauty in simple things – a ladybug or a sunset.
This allows us to practice moderation, live our lives in a much more simple manner and help reduce waste and consumption of energy.
The gift of knowledge helps us to see creation’s place in the plan of salvation. In the Incarnation, by becoming man, God came to be ‘part’ of his creation. Jesus used images of nature and agricultural to teach about the Kingdom. He drank the fruit of the vine and ate the fruit of the harvest. He uses his hands to mold and shape wood and rock for others. In his resurrection and ascension, part of Creation – his human body – is taken to share in the glory of God. As Catholics we look forward to a “New Creation.” The end of the world will not be an “annihilation – a destruction of this world, but a transformation of this world – a New heaven and a new earth. The new creation has its roots in the world we live in today. Thus we must treat it with respect and care for it.
“Lord that I may see” This is the prayer of the blind man in the Gospel. We make it our own today. “Lord may we see…..may we see your glory in each and every part of your creation, may we see all people as our brothers and sisters and this world as our common home, may we see the goodness and beauty of the simple things in life, may we see in this world the beginning of the world to come”