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THE GIFT OF WISDOM (1 OF 7)

Wisdom is a gift that God readily grants to all who ask in faith and that sustains the Christian in times of trial. It is a kind of knowledge or understanding not accessible to the unbeliever or those who doubt, which gives the recipient an understanding of the real importance of events. In this way a Christian can deal with adversity with great calm and hope (cf. 1 Cor 2:612, James 1:5).

The gift of wisdom leads the soul of those who have it to see things from God’s perspective. Wisdom is fullness of knowledge through affinity for the divine, as when a person comes to know Christ’s Passion through suffering. It is also love, which inspires contemplative reflection on what we believe and directs the mind to judge according to its precepts. The gift of wisdom supplements the virtue of faith and shields us against folly.

Wisdom is one of the three main attributes of God: Power, Wisdom and Love, corresponding to the Trinity and to the 3 Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope and Love.

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Jesus is the incarnate Wisdom of God. He is the Word of God made flesh, He is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). Bestowed upon Him is the plenitude of Wisdom, which desires to live in every heart.

One who is full of God is full of Wisdom. With Jesus, we can claim the prophecy of Isaiah 61:1-3: 1* The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me; He has sent me to bring good news to the afflicted, to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, release to the prisoners, a 2 To announce a year of favor from the LORD and a day of vindication by our God; To comfort all who mourn; b 3 to place on those who mourn in Zion a diadem instead of ashes, To give them oil of gladness instead of mourning, a glorious mantle instead of a faint spirit.

This was fulfilled as Jesus read it hundreds of years later as it appears in Luke 4:18-21: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,* because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.m  He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free,  19 and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” 20 Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. 21 He said to them, “Today, this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”*

In  John 15:4, Jesus exhorts us all to "Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me."

A definition of Wisdom is found in the book of Job 28:28- "* And to mortals he said: See: the fear of the Lord is wisdom; and avoiding evil is understanding.f"

In Psalms 111:10, King David- the psalmist- wrote, "*The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; c prudent are all who practice it. His praise endures forever."

The Great Evangelizer Paul writes in Romans 11:33, "* Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How inscrutable are his judgments and how unsearchable his ways!z"

To the Church in Corinth, Paul exhorts in 1 Corinthians 3:19-20, 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God, for it is written:i “He catches the wise in their own ruses,” 20 and again: “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.”j

1 Kings 3:28- (Reading 1 Kings 3:1-27 prior to/along with  1 Kings 3:28 helps one understand the wisdom that is spoken about).  "When all Israel heard the judgment the king had given, they were in awe of him, because they saw that the king had in him the wisdom of God for giving right judgment."

The Book of James- which gives us much guidance on taming our tongue- shares in Chapter 1, verses 4-5, "4 And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, * he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it.c"

David's son, who went onto become King Solomon, beseeches and warns us about the importance of wisdom in many treasures below:

Proverbs 1:7- "Fear of the LORD* is the beginning of knowledge; b fools despise wisdom and discipline."

Proverbs 23:9- "Do not speak in the hearing of fools; they will despise the wisdom of your words.a

Proverbs 23:23- "Buy truth and do not sell: wisdom, instruction, understanding!”

Proverbs 24:3-4- "3 By wisdom a house is built; by understanding, it is established; 4 And by knowledge, its rooms are filled with every precious and pleasing possession."

Proverbs 24:14- "Such, you must know, is wisdom to your soul. If you find it, you will have a future, and your hope will not be cut off.f

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

(CCC) REFERENCES

There are 54 references to Wisdom in the CCC- 30, 51, 120, 122, 216, 251, 271, 272, 283, 284, 288, 292, 295, 299, 301, 308, 310, 315, 321, 339, 348, 354, 369, 472, 474, 531, 702, 712, 721, 759, 1299, 1303, 1308, 1640, 1676, 1679, 1783, 1798, 1805, 1831, 1845, 1884, 1950, 1951, 1954, 1978, 2215, 2419, 2500, 2501, 2510, 2588, 2690, 2813.

Those listed below are taken from the CCC Index:

of God

        Christ crucified as, 272; creatures reflect a ray of, 339, 369; God created according to, 295, 299; God's truth as wisdom, 216; man participates in God's wisdom, 1954; moral law as the work of, 1950.

of man

        as an emanation of God's power, 2500; as a gift from God, 283, 1303, 1831.

 

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THE GIFT OF UNDERSTANDING (2 OF 7)

Understanding, in part, is the ability to discern what is from God and what is not. The spirit of understanding (binah) is connected to the ability to comprehend visions (Daniel 8:15), proverbs (Proverbs 1:1-6) and the law of God (Psalm 119: 34, 73, 100, 125).

St. Ambrose in De mysteriis taught, "Recall then that you have received the spiritual seal, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgment and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence, the spirit of holy fear in God's presence. Guard what you have received. God the Father has marked you with His sign; Christ the Lord has confirmed you and has placed His pledge, the Spirit, in your hearts" (7, 42).

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Exodus 31:3- The LORD said to Moses, "See, I have chosen Bezalel, son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with a divine spirit of skill and understanding and knowledge in every craft…"

Luke 24:27-32- With the power of the Holy Spirit, the two disciples (Cleopas and the other remains unnamed) on the road to Emmaus were given the gift of understanding to comprehend the Holy Scriptures; their hearts burned within as the Lord spoke to them: Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he (Jesus) interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures. As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. But they urged him, "Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over." So he went in to stay with them. And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, "Were not our hearts burning (within us) while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?"

In Matthew 16:5-12, the apostles came to understand that the yeast of the Pharisees was their wicked doctrine: In coming to the other side of the sea, 4 the disciples had forgotten to bring bread. Jesus said to them, "Look out, and beware of the leaven 5 of the Pharisees and Sadducees." 6 They concluded among themselves, saying, "It is because we have brought no bread." When Jesus became aware of this he said, "You of little faith, why do you conclude among yourselves that it is because you have no bread? Do you not yet understand, and do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many wicker baskets you took up? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you took up? How do you not comprehend that I was not speaking to you about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees." Then they understood 7 that he was not telling them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

In Matthew 17:1-13, the apostles come to understand that, while Jesus is talking about Elijah, He is referencing John the Baptist:  1 2 After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 3 And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. 4 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him. Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, "Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents 5 here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, 6 then from the cloud came a voice that said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him." 7 When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, "Rise, and do not be afraid." And when the disciples raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone. 8 As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, "Do not tell the vision 9 to anyone until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead." 10 Then the disciples asked him, "Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?" He said in reply, 11 "Elijah will indeed come and restore all things; but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him but did to him whatever they pleased. So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands. 12 Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.

 

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

(CCC) REFERENCES

 

There are 49 references to Understanding in the CCC- 19, 23, 24, 38, 91, 94, 117, 119, 126, 158, 171, 217, 236, 250, 283, 286, 299, 474, 497, 712, 737, 785, 892, 1000, 1027, 1095, 1096, 1101, 1135, 1155, 1176, 1177, 1202, 1216, 1260, 1299, 1303, 1333, 1611, 1620, 1704, 1722, 1831, 1845, 1951, 1955, 2071, 2218, 2419.

 

Those listed below are taken from the Index:

 

expressions of human, 2501; and faith, 89, 143, 154, 156-59, 299;

human understanding as a gift of God, 283; and human virtues, 1804;

and the natural law, 1955; spiritual, 1095, 1101.

 

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THE GIFT OF UNDERSTANDING (2 OF 7)

Understanding, in part, is the ability to discern what is from God and what is not. The spirit of understanding (binah) is connected to the ability to comprehend visions (Daniel 8:15), proverbs (Proverbs 1:1-6) and the law of God (Psalm 119: 34, 73, 100, 125).

St. Ambrose in De mysteriis taught, "Recall then that you have received the spiritual seal, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgment and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence, the spirit of holy fear in God's presence. Guard what you have received. God the Father has marked you with His sign; Christ the Lord has confirmed you and has placed His pledge, the Spirit, in your hearts" (7, 42).

NEW AMERICAN BIBLE REFERENCES

Exodus 31:3- The LORD said to Moses, "See, I have chosen Bezalel, son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with a divine spirit of skill and understanding and knowledge in every craft…"

Luke 24:27-32- With the power of the Holy Spirit, the two disciples (Cleopas and the other remains unnamed) on the road to Emmaus were given the gift of understanding to comprehend the Holy Scriptures; their hearts burned within as the Lord spoke to them: Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he (Jesus) interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures. As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. But they urged him, "Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over." So he went in to stay with them. And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, "Were not our hearts burning (within us) while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?"

In Matthew 16:5-12, the apostles came to understand that the yeast of the Pharisees was their wicked doctrine: In coming to the other side of the sea, 4 the disciples had forgotten to bring bread. Jesus said to them, "Look out, and beware of the leaven 5 of the Pharisees and Sadducees." 6 They concluded among themselves, saying, "It is because we have brought no bread." When Jesus became aware of this he said, "You of little faith, why do you conclude among yourselves that it is because you have no bread? Do you not yet understand, and do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many wicker baskets you took up? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you took up? How do you not comprehend that I was not speaking to you about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees." Then they understood 7 that he was not telling them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

In Matthew 17:1-13, the apostles come to understand that, while Jesus is talking about Elijah, He is referencing John the Baptist:  1 2 After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 3 And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. 4 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him. Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, "Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents 5 here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, 6 then from the cloud came a voice that said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him." 7 When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, "Rise, and do not be afraid." And when the disciples raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone. 8 As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, "Do not tell the vision 9 to anyone until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead." 10 Then the disciples asked him, "Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?" He said in reply, 11 "Elijah will indeed come and restore all things; but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him but did to him whatever they pleased. So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands. 12 Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.

In Daniel 8:15-19, Daniel seeks understanding of a vision: While I, Daniel, sought the meaning of the vision I had seen, a manlike figure stood before me, 6 and on the Ulai I heard a human voice that cried out, "Gabriel, explain the vision to this man." 7 When he came near where I was standing, I fell prostrate in terror. But he said to me, "Understand, son of man, that the vision refers to the end time." As he spoke to me, I fell forward in a faint; he touched me and made me stand up. "I will show you," he said, "what is to happen later in the period of wrath; for at the appointed time, there will be an end."

In Proverbs 1:1-6, King Solomon urges, "1 The Proverbs of Solomon, the son of David, king of Israel: 2 that men may appreciate wisdom and discipline, may understand words of intelligence; may receive training in wise conduct, in what is right, just and honest; 3 that resourcefulness may be imparted to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. A wise man by hearing them will advance in learning, an intelligent man will gain sound guidance, that he may comprehend proverb and parable, the words of the wise and their riddles."

The psalmist, King David, offers much about the gift of Understanding in the Book of Psalms, chapter 119:

Psalm 119:34- "Give me insight to observe your teaching, to keep it with all my heart."

Psalm 119:73- "Your hands made me and fashioned me; give me insight to learn your commands."

Psalm 119:100- "I have more insight than my elders, because I observe your precepts."

Psalm 119:125- "I am your servant; give me discernment that I may know your decrees."

 

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

(CCC) REFERENCES

 

There are 49 references to Understanding in the CCC- 19, 23, 24, 38, 91, 94, 117, 119, 126, 158, 171, 217, 236, 250, 283, 286, 299, 474, 497, 712, 737, 785, 892, 1000, 1027, 1095, 1096, 1101, 1135, 1155, 1176, 1177, 1202, 1216, 1260, 1299, 1303, 1333, 1611, 1620, 1704, 1722, 1831, 1845, 1951, 1955, 2071, 2218, 2419.

Those listed below are taken from the Index:

 

expressions of human, 2501; and faith, 89, 143, 154, 156-59, 299; human understanding as a gift of God, 283; and human virtues, 1804; and the natural law, 1955; spiritual, 1095, 1101.

 

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THE GIFT OF COUNSEL (3 OF 7)

Those who desire to acquire wisdom must accept that there is always more to learn- a new way, a new thought - and that an open mind and a teachable spirit are both required for new journeys to be explored and discerned upon.

In the old days, kings consulted the prophets and the men of wisdom before making important decisions. God gives counsel to those who come to Him. Hebrews 4:16 shares with us that we can always take our thoughts to the Lord, approaching the Holy Throne of Grace, and lay them on His altar before we make any important decisions: "So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help."

With this sound gift of Counsel, we not only able to receive instruction, we are also able to assist our brothers and sisters in their time of need.

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Psalm 32:8: "I will instruct you and show you the way you should walk, give you counsel and watch over you."

Wisdom 9:13: "For what man knows God's counsel, or who can conceive what our LORD intends?"

2 Samuel 17:11-13: "This is what I counsel: Let all Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba, who are as numerous as the sands by the sea, be called up for combat; and go with them yourself. We can then attack him wherever we find him, settling down upon him as dew alights on the ground. None shall survive--neither he nor any of his followers. And if he retires into a city, all Israel shall bring ropes to that city and we can drag it into the gorge, so that not even a pebble of it can be found."

Proverbs 15:22: "Plans fail when there is no counsel, but they succeed when counselors are many."

Tobit 4:18-19: "Seek counsel from every wise man, and do not think lightly of any advice that can be useful. 4 At all times bless the Lord God, and ask him to make all your paths straight and to grant success to all your endeavors and plans. For no pagan nation possesses good counsel, but the Lord himself gives all good things. If the Lord chooses, he raises a man up; but if he should decide otherwise, he casts him down to the deepest recesses of the nether world. So now, my son, keep in mind my commandments, and never let them be erased from your heart.

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

(CCC) REFERENCES

There are 10  references to Counsel in the CCC- 293, 712, 1589, 1730, 1743, 1831, 1845, 1900, 2230, 2823.

Those listed below are taken from the Index:

as a gift of the Holy Spirit, 1303, 1831.

 

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THE GIFT OF FORTITUDE (4 OF 7)

While walking the Earth, Jesus Christ exhibited the greatest display of fortitude. This allowed Him to endure the hardships during His 3 years of public ministry and, ultimately, His Passion. We are ALL called to follow Christ and, in order to do so, we must utilize this important gift to advance His Kingdom here on Earth. Without the gift of fortitude to help us, our human efforts will assuredly fall short of the goal at hand.

NEW AMERICAN BIBLE REFERENCES

As God knows we have our own cross to carry in our personal lives, He also gives us the strength to carry it, as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 10:12-13: "Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall. 6  No trial has come to you but what is human. God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it."

As noted, it is not by human strength that we have to do our spiritual battles. Therefore, we need to be reinforced in the strength of His power-  putting on the Armor of God- so that we are adequately equipped to fight the good fight against the evil that comes against us:

 

Ephesians 6:10-20 "1 Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground. So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all (the) flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the holy ones and also for me, that speech may be given me to open my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains, so that I may have the courage to speak as I must."

Psalm 105:4 encourages us to always keep our eye on the prize, but especially during trials: "Rely on the mighty LORD; constantly seek his face."

With fortitude from On High, as written in Philippians 4:13, we learn to endure and persevere through all our difficulties by leaning on our Redeemer for strength: "I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me."

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

(CCC) REFERENCES

There are 8 references to Fortitude in the CCC- 1805, 1808, 1809, 1831, 1834, 1837, 1845, 2473.

Those listed below are taken from the Index:

as a cardinal virtue, 1805, 1808; as a gift of the Holy Spirit, 712, 1303, 1831; imploring of the Spirit of strength, 2846.

 

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THE GIFT OF KNOWLEDGE (5 OF 7)

The gift of knowledge perfects the virtue of faith. It enables those who have it to judge the whole spectrum of creatures and objects from a supernatural viewpoint. Through infused knowledge, the faithful can see God’s providence in whatever enters their lives and put creatures to the right use.

The gift of knowledge is often called “the science of the saints” because it enables those who have it to swiftly discern between the impulses of temptation and the inspirations of grace.

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1 Corinthians 8:1-8: "1 2 Now in regard to meat sacrificed to idols: we realize that "all of us have knowledge"; knowledge inflates with pride, but love builds up. If anyone supposes he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if one loves God, one is known by him. So about the eating of meat sacrificed to idols: we know that "there is no idol in the world," and that "there is no God but one." Indeed, even though there are so-called gods in heaven and on earth (there are, to be sure, many "gods" and many "lords"), 3 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom all things are and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things are and through whom we exist. But not all have this knowledge. There are some who have been so used to idolatry up until now that, when they eat meat sacrificed to idols, their conscience, which is weak, is defiled. 4 Now food will not bring us closer to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, nor are we better off if we do."

Proverbs 9:10: "The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the LORD, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."

2 Peter 1:1-8: 1 Symeon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of equal value to ours through the righteousness of our God and savior Jesus Christ: may grace and peace be yours in abundance through knowledge 2 of God and of Jesus our Lord. 3 4 His divine power has bestowed on us everything that makes for life and devotion, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and power. Through these, he has bestowed on us the precious and very great promises, so that through them you may come to share in the divine nature, after escaping from the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, virtue with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with devotion, devotion with mutual affection, mutual affection with love. If these are yours and increase in abundance, they will keep you from being idle or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Book of Proverbs, chapter 12 offers 2 separate references to the gift of Knowledge:

Proverbs 12:1: "He who loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid" and Proverbs 12:23: "A shrewd man conceals his knowledge, but the hearts of fools gush forth folly."

Proverbs 1:7: "4 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; wisdom and instruction fools despise."

1 Corinthians 13:1-8: "1 If I speak in human and angelic tongues 2 but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. 3 Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 4 Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing."

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

(CCC) REFERENCES

There are 59 references to Knowledge in the CCC- 32, 35, 37, 40, 50, 74, 94, 133, 157, 158, 159, 184, 186, 216, 283, 286, 287, 314, 356, 357, 387, 396, 429, 472, 473, 474, 683, 712, 821, 851, 907, 1084, 1299, 1303, 1466, 1467, 1676, 1734, 1784, 1831, 1845, 1857, 1859, 1862, 1886, 2038, 2045, 2197, 2340, 2495, 2500, 2501, 2583, 2614, 2653, 2708, 2715, 2751, 2822.

Those listed below are taken from the Index:

and awareness of sin, 708, 1859; of created and uncreated reality, 2500; of creation as God's gift, 216, 283, 287; of the faith and of the catechism, 23, 186; of good and evil, 396, 1734; man's knowledge of Christ, 428-29, 471-74, 1792, 2708, 2715; man's knowledge of God, 31-38, 40, 50, 158, 261, 286, 356, 2197, 2614; of the truth, 74, 94, 851, 2822 (see also Prologue to the Catechism of the Catholic Church).

 

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THE GIFT OF PIETY (6 OF 7)

This is a great gift of faith that gives a person the ability to spend time in prayer and devotions, it is like a fire that always wants to grow and it receives fuel in prayer.

On His way to Calvary, Jesus met the pious women of Jerusalem. They followed the example of Mary, our Blessed Mother. Pious people can be found today attending mass daily and praying for other people. They feed their piety by praying the Holy Rosary daily, by seeking knowledge in Sacred Scripture, by practicing their religious devotions and praying for and helping others unconditionally.

Most priests and religious have had this strong vocation of serving the Lord and they were motivated, in large part, by piety. They have accepted all the daily hardships and persecutions that come with dedicating their lives to Christ, as they emulate St. Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:10-11: "Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong. 7"

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Proverbs 23 offers insight into the gift of Piety in two separate places:

(23:15-16) "My son, if your heart be wise, my own heart also will rejoice; and my inmost being will exult, when your lips speak what is right."

(23:22-25) "Listen to your father who begot you, and despise not your mother when she is old. Get the truth, and sell it not-- wisdom, instruction and understanding. The father of a just man will exult with glee; he who begets a wise son will have joy in him. Let your father and mother have joy; let her who bore you exult."

The Book of Tobit, revealing the story of Sarah and Tobiah, was most likely written in the early second century B.C.  The popular story teaches about Jewish piety and morality, and is also anchored in oriental folklore.

Job 15:1-5 "Then Eliphaz the Temanite spoke and said: Should a wise man answer with airy opinions, or puff himself up with wind?  Should he argue in speech which does not avail, and in words which are to no profit? You in fact do away with piety, and you lessen devotion toward God, because your wickedness instructs your mouth, and you choose to speak like the crafty."

Job 22:4 "Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said: Can a man be profitable to God? Though to himself a wise man be profitable! Is it of advantage to the Almighty if you are just? Or is it a gain to him if you make your ways perfect? Is it because of your piety that he reproves you-- that he enters with you into judgment?"

Job 4:5-6 "But now that it comes to you, you are impatient; when it touches yourself, you are dismayed. Is not your piety a source of confidence, and your integrity of life your hope?"

2 Timothy 3:5 "1 But understand this: there will be terrifying times in the last days. People will be self-centered and lovers of money, proud, haughty, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, irreligious, callous, implacable, slanderous, licentious, brutal, hating what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, as they make a pretense of religion but deny its power. Reject them."

Matthew 6:1-4 "1 (But) take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites 2 do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you."

Hosea 6:4-7 "3 What can I do with you, Ephraim? What can I do with you, Judah? Your piety is like a morning cloud, like the dew that early passes away. For this reason I smote them through the prophets, I slew them by the words of my mouth; for it is love that I desire, not sacrifice, and knowledge of God rather than holocausts. But they, in their land, violated the covenant; there they were untrue to me."

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

(CCC) REFERENCES

There are 14 references to Piety in the CCC- 24, 575, 1674, 1675, 1676, 1679, 1686, 1831, 1845, 2186, 2215, 2678, 2688, 2767.

Those listed below are taken from the Index:

devotion to the Virgin Mary, 971; filial, 2215; as a gift of the Holy Spirit, 1303, 1831; popular piety and catechesis, 1674, 2688.

 

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THE GIFT OF FEAR OF THE LORD (7 OF 7)

Holy fear of the Lord consists in fearing to offend God by our indifference and sinfulness.

If we look at the Holy Scriptures, we will see that the Holy Name of God inspired so much awe and respect that the Israelites did not pronounce it completely for fear of offending Him.

We must not fear God because He is going to punish us. This, indeed, would be to think that God is only a punitive God, waiting for a chance to teach us a lesson when we deviate from His Perfect Plan. This is not the case. We must fear God because our lives depend on Him and, when we sin, we separate ourselves from Him and risk to be on our own.  As we fear disappointing our parents/elders here on Earth, we are called to a healthy fear of our Lord.

So we must trust and remain in our faithful God, who is our strength, the light of our lives. We must remain faithful to Him and avoid the risk of losing Him for lacking Fear of God.

NEW AMERICAN BIBLE REFERENCES

Proverbs 1:7  “Fear of the LORD* is the beginning of knowledge;b fools despise wisdom and discipline.”

Proverbs 8:13 "[The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil;] Pride, arrogance, the evil way, and the perverse mouth I hate.

John 15:1-6, Jesus tells us Himself that a branch cut off the vine withers and dies; if we turn away from God who is Light, we are then serving the prince of darkness- the evil one:

"1 2 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes 3 so that it bears more fruit. You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. 4 Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned."

If we have our teachable spirit intact, this alone would be enough reason to have fear of offending God.

The Book of Sirach, chapter 1 references Fear of the Lord 10 times in 29 verses:

"3 4 Fear of the LORD is glory and splendor, gladness and a festive crown. Fear of the LORD warms the heart, giving gladness and joy and length of days. He who fears the LORD will have a happy end; even on the day of his death he will be blessed. The beginning of wisdom is fear of the LORD, which is formed with the faithful in the womb. With devoted men was she created from of old, and with their children her beneficence abides.

Fullness of wisdom is fear of the LORD; she inebriates men with her fruits. Her entire house she fills with choice foods, her granaries with her harvest. Wisdom's garland is fear of the LORD, with blossoms of peace and perfect health. Knowledge and full understanding she showers down; she heightens the glory of those who possess her. The root of wisdom is fear of the LORD; her branches are length of days.

5 One cannot justify unjust anger; anger plunges a man to his downfall.  A patient man need stand firm but for a time, and then contentment comes back to him. For a while he holds back his words, then the lips of many herald his wisdom. Among wisdom's treasures is the paragon of prudence; but fear of the LORD is an abomination to the sinner.

If you desire wisdom, keep the commandments, and the LORD will bestow her upon you; For fear of the LORD is wisdom and culture; loyal humility is his delight. 6 Be not faithless to the fear of the LORD, nor approach it with duplicity of heart. Play not the hypocrite before men; over your lips keep watch. Exalt not yourself lest you fall and bring upon you dishonor; For then the LORD will reveal your secrets and publicly cast you down, because you approached the fear of the LORD with your heart full of guile."

"He who finds wisdom is great indeed, but not greater than he who fears the LORD. Fear of the LORD surpasses all else. its possessor is beyond compare."

The Book of Sirach, chapter 25 offers multiple references to FEAR OF THE LORD: 

Sirach 25:6 "The crown of the elderly, wide experience; their glory, the fear of the Lord."

Sirach 25:10-11: “"How great is the one who finds wisdom, but none is greater than the one who fears the Lord. Fear of the Lord surpasses all else. To whom can we compare the one who has it?

Sirach 50:28-29 "Happy those who meditate upon these things; wise those who take them to heart! If they put them into practice, they can cope with anything, for the fear of the LORD is their lamp."

Romans 3:10-18 gives us a glimpse of the lawlessness that occurs when man turns from the Fear of the Lord:  as it is written:g  “There is no one just, not one, there is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God. All have gone astray; all alike are worthless; there is not one who does good, [there is not] even one. Their throats are open graves; they deceive with their tongues; the venom of asps is on their lips;h their mouths are full of bitter cursing.i Their feet are quick to shed blood;j ruin and misery are in their ways, and the way of peace they know not. There is no fear of God before their eyes.”k

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

(CCC) REFERENCES

There are 13 references to Fear of the Lord in the CCC- 712, 1041, 1167, 1303, 1432, 1808, 1831, 1845, 2084, 2145, 2149, 2150, 2217.

Those listed below are taken from the Index:

among the principal passions, 1772; of eternal damnation, 1453; of evil, 1765; evoked by God's presence, 2144; of God as the foundation of respect for one's parents, 2217; of God as a gift of the Spirit, 1303, 1831; of God inspired by the message of the Last Judgment, 1041.

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