Weeks of May 21 and 28,
The Holy Spirit's
Gift of Knowledge
We thought we'd mark Pentecost Sunday (May 27) with a look at one
the gifts of the Holy Spirit: knowledge. This is from
Bill's book, "The Seeker's Guide to the Holy Spirit":
Sometimes our education has nothing to do with our
schooling. We learn things we had no intention of
learning, things we never, ever wanted to know.
Time and again, in every life, there are the
“clubs” we’re forced to join. There are ones we
never wanted to be a member of, never dreamed we’d
be a member of, but here we are. And because we are,
we have a knowledge that can allow us to help other
The list is endless. Drug addiction. Mental
retardation. Spina bifada. Divorce. Sexual abuse.
Domestic violence. Hearing loss.
The death of a loved one
at a young age. [Caregiving!] And on and on.
If most of the time gaining knowledge,
becoming educated, is like climbing a flight of
stairs -- taking many small steps -- then this is
more like being thrown down a flight of stairs. More
than a flight. An endless number. And, unlike
school, we don’t know when we’ll be done. We don’t
know where we’ll be when we’re through with a
We simply fall. We simply hurt.
And when we finally seem to stop, to
reach the bottom, there are bumps that turn into
bruises. Lacerations that turn into scars. Broken
bones that turn into deformities. We have changed.
We have been changed. Forever.
We can’t “unlearn” what has happened. We can
try to ignore the experience but that knowledge is
there. That insider’s view, that gut-wrenching
lesson or series of lessons. On addiction. Chronic
depression. Cancer. Divorce. Abuse. Violence.
Unemployment. Illness. Death.
And where, in this, is God? Where, in this,
is an all-merciful, all-loving Creator? Where was he
as we tumbled and where is he as we find ourselves
in a broken, battered heap?
Again, we learn. We can learn that, at times
in our lives, God doesn’t seem merciful or loving.
He doesn’t seem to care at all. We can learn that
sometimes in the valley of the shadow of death, we
see only death and not the shepherd.
We can learn that we can get angry at God. We
can feel betrayed by him. We can yell at him. We can
curse him. We can storm away from him.
We can gain all kinds of knowledge we never
imagined, never dreamed possible.
And whether we feel his presence or not,
whether we acknowledge his presence or not, God is
with us. Theologians may point out that God doesn’t
create evil or rain down evil but he allows it as
the natural and logical consequence of sin. It’s not
that we, as an individual, are such a notorious
sinner that we somehow deserve what has happened to
us or to our loved one but, rather, living in a
world steeped in sin, sometimes we or they are its
But those words may bring little comfort. No
Because of what we’ve been through, what
we’re going through, we know that. Now we know.
Now we know why some people are so angry with
God. So angry with the Church and what they see as
pious prattle. So angry with do-gooders who spout
religious adages as if they were talking greeting
We know pain and despair and abandonment
because they’re what we feel.
And because we know it, because we feel it,
we can know what another is going through, what
another is feeling. The Holy Spirit may offer us an
opportunity to help someone else who is hurting as
we did. The opportunity to use this gift, this
We can do things now we weren’t able to do
before that pain, that sorrow, that grief. We can do
things now because of that heartache. And the things
we can do, based on what we have learned, can be
tremendous. They can be astounding. Of course
knowledge is power. Its source is our all-powerful
Come, Holy Spirit!
- - -
week we're so pleased to welcome Kathy E., Rita E.,
Donna D., Marilyn W. and Janice H., all of Missouri; and
Donna W. of Illinois, as the newest members of the Friends of St. John the
Caregiver. Please keep them and their intentions in your
prayers. They have promised to pray for you and
cordially invite you to join
the Friends of St. John
the Caregiver! (FSJC's programs include
CatholicCaregivers.com.) You can find out more about
becoming a member
No meetings, no dues. All we ask is that
you pray for caregivers and those receiving care. Our members include
caregivers, care-receivers, and those who support both
(including quite a few former caregivers).
sign up on-line here
or call us toll-free at
print and mail an application form.
Monica and Bill
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