Understanding is penetrating insight into the very heart of things, especially those higher truths that are necessary for our eternal salvation—in effect, the ability to “see” God. The gift of understanding perfects a person’s speculative reason in the apprehension of truth. Salvation simply means to be saved, or delivered, from the result of sin. A concise definition of salvation can be summed up in one word: deliverance. But deliverance from what? When the Israelites came out of Egypt and reached the Red Sea, Moses told them to “stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD” (Exodus 14:13). In this case, God provided a physical deliverance for Israel from the armies of Egypt.

The Holy Spirit Gift of Understanding develops the gift of faith within us. It’s a special gift that we received at Confirmation. It’s a gift that helps us to see. When you say to someone, “Oh, now I understand” what we are really saying is, “Now, I see. I see what you’re saying. I see what you mean. I see your point.” This great gift of understanding is this seeing of the heart and soul.

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Understanding combined with Fortitude gives each human the resiliency that they need to cope with the realities of life. Whoever believes in Jesus Christ is justified by his grace as a gift (Romans 3:24, Ephesians 2:8). “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). We do not need to bring anything of our own good deeds or presumed righteousness. Being saved is not a hard process, but rather one that takes the acknowledgment of our own incapacity and faith in Jesus Christ to believe and to receive.

Prayer for Understanding
Come, O Spirit of Understanding, and enlighten our minds, that we may know and believe all the mysteries of salvation; and may merit at last to see the eternal light in Thy Light; and, in the light of glory, to have a clear vision of Thee and the Father and the Son. Amen.

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