These things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For what human being knows what is truly human except the human spirit that is within? So also no one comprehends what is truly God’s except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God.
And we speak of these things in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual things to those who are spiritual. Those who are unspiritual do not receive the gifts of God’s Spirit, for they are foolishness to them, and they are unable to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. Those who are spiritual discern all things, and they are themselves subject to no one else’s scrutiny. “For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
Every Jesuit preparing for priesthood needs to study philosophy. When I was a student, I noticed that most of my teachers fell into two camps: physicalists, who believe science can explain all the world’s mysteries, and dualists, who suspect science will only ever show us part of the picture, and that there are secrets to life we may never understand here on earth.
The ancient Greek word for “those who are unspiritual” that Paul refers to in today’s reading is psuchikos. It describes a person who lives as if nothing exists beyond the physical world. But Paul reminds his followers that there is more to pay attention to in life than what we discover using only our five senses. How do we learn about things we can’t see?
The Catholic Church believes the Holy Spirit promises us seven gifts: wisdom, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, understanding, piety and fear of the Lord. Through them, we are taught about ourselves and our Creator. These are spiritual lessons outside of human reason.
If I pay attention, which doors into spiritual grace does God seek to open for me today?
—Joe Kraemer, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic of the Jesuits West Province currently starting his second year of Regency in the Advancement Office in Los Gatos, California.
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—
and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears.
—Isaiah 11:1-3Saint Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the ChurchPlease share the Good Word with your friends!