The first and greatest gift of the Holy Spirit is “Wisdom,” a light which we receive from on high; it is a special sharing in that mysterious and highest knowledge which is that of God himself. This higher wisdom is the root of a new awareness, a knowledge permeated by charity, by means of which the soul becomes familiar, so to say, with divine things, and tastes them. St. Thomas speaks precisely of ‘a certain taste of God’ (Summa Theol. II-II, q. 45, a. 2 ad 1) through which the truly wise person is not simply the one who knows the things of God but rather the one who experiences and lives them.

This sapiential awareness further gives us a special ability to judge human things according to God’s standard, in God’s light. Enlightened by this gift, the Christian is able to see into the reality of the world; no one is better able to appreciate the authentic values of creation, beholding them with the very eyes of God.

Through this gift the entire life of the individual Christian, with all its events, hopes, plans, and achievements, is caught up in the breath of the Spirit, who permeates it with Light from on high’

– from Regina Coelia by John Paul II on Sunday April 9, 1989

In applying this gift to our Carmelite community, it seems that first of all, everything we think, say, or do should be done with the utmost charity, so that we live as God would have us do. In the light of this gift of “wisdom” given by the Holy Spirit at our Baptism, we can rely on the help from God we all need in the ordinary and the difficult and trying circumstances of our personal and communal lives to evaluate these events with the eyes and mind of God. Furthermore, when we are unable to find immediate “answers” to difficulties, we must remember that God, in His wisdom, is in charge.

The words of St. Teresa of Avila particularly come to mind in reflecting on this gift of the Holy Spirit:

Let nothing trouble you, let nothing frighten you:
whoever has God lacks nothing.
God alone is enough.

Betty Keller, OCDS

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