"I proposed therefore to take her to me, to live with me; knowing that she will communicate to me of her good things, and will he a comfort in my cares and grief." (Wisd. viii, 9.)
THE gift of knowledge, which grace produces in our souls together with the other gifts of the Holy Ghost, is a supernatural quality, enlightening our intelligence and helping us to discern with ease, in matters of faith, truth from falsehood, what is certain from what is uncertain, what is real from what is only apparent. It is an interior disposition, which makes man as it were spiritual, and enables him to form a right judgment concerning the things of this world. "The spiritual man judges all things." (1 Cor. ii, 15.)
This gift prompts us to desire and seek after truth alone. It helps us to refute, as if by instinct, the sophisms spun by wicked men against the dogmas of our faith, and makes us understand the emptiness of earthly goods when compared with the pure joys of heaven. Happy they who possess this gift; they know how to despise worldly pleasures and to esteem afflictions and crosses at their true worth.
The gift of knowledge is, furthermore, a bright lamp provided us by Divine Providence, the radiance of which illumines all human sciences, and makes them subject to the science of the saints, which should rule as a Queen over all other sciences.
Give me, O my God, this precious gift which will enable me to hold fast by Thy teachings, and will direct me to distinguish between truth and error, the false maxims of the world and the sound doctrines Thou hast delivered to us through the ministry of Thy Church.
Not content with granting to Mary a wonderful insight into the truths of revelation, God imparted to her, through the gift of knowledge, a kind of interior instinct which enabled her to pass an unerring verdict upon the things of this world. She easily understood how it is that all human sciences necessarily converge toward God, the primary source of all truth.
It was through the working of this gift of knowledge that the Blessed Virgin, when saluted by St. Elizabeth as Mother of God, uttered those profound words which shall ever be a subject of admiration for the whole world.
By an effect of this same gift, Mary, during the hidden life of Jesus, knew how to profit by the teaching of her Son, discerning at once between truths proclaimed by Him and the false maxims of the world, and valuing at their proper worth the labors ,He would freely undergo to redeem us from the bondage of sin. By the efficacy of this gift, she held of no account the deceitful goods of this earth, saying with St. Paul: "The things that were gain to me, the same I have counted loss for Christ." (Phil, iii, 7.)
From the first moment of her Immaculate Conception, Mary was endowed with the gift of knowledge, having been enriched, from that first moment, with sanctifying grace. But it was on the day of Pentecost that the fulness thereof came to her, when the Holy Ghost descended visibly upon her and upon the disciples gathered together in the supper-room. She then indeed became Queen of the Apostles, having received the divine gifts in a measure far greater than that granted to all the Apostles together, wherefore she is called by sacred writers, "Mistress of the Apostles."
Never, perhaps, has the gift of knowledge been so necessary to a Christian as at the present time. The father of lies is making incredible efforts to spread misbelief and heresy throughout the world, and one must be blind not to see the headway that evil is making, particularly through the spreading of a corrupt press, the hireling of error and vice.
However, the greatest danger does not come from the avowed enemies of the Church. It comes from those writers who, greedy of worldly renown, in reality are engaged in marring the purity of our faith. Under the pretence of defending the Christian dogmas, these writers are bent upon eliminating from the Gospel whatsoever is not in keeping with their own erroneous view, or with the baneful tendencies of modern times, thus making a league with error.
Oh, how we should be on our guard against these perfidious enemies! Let us entreat the Holy Ghost to be our guide in the midst of so many errors, and Himself to teach us, "to know the charity of Christ which surpasseth all knowledge," (Eph. iii, 19.) in order that we may always preserve inviolate the precious treasure of faith.
Example - St. John The Evangelist
St. John, the son of Zebedee and Salome, was among the apostles named "the beloved" of Jesus, as is signified in those words "The one whom Jesus loved." At the Last Supper he merited to lay his head on the bosom of his Divine Master. This Apostle responded to his Lord's great love by repaying Him with a like heartfelt affection, for which we have abundant proofs in his writings and his life.
This love for Jesus, however, was ever accompanied in St. John by a singular love for Mary, as Jesus Himself bore testimony on the cross. Indeed, while the Redeemer was suffering the agonies of the crucifixion, He pointed out St. John to Our Lady, who was there present on Calvary, saying to her: "Woman, behold thy son"; and to St. John: "Behold thy Mother."
Thus did Our Saviour signify that St. John was to be united to Our Lady as a dear son is united to his mother, even in the same manner as Jesus Himself was united to her. St. John himself tells us how faithfully he corresponded to the mission entrusted to him, for henceforth he received Our Lady into his home. Hence tradition represents him as the faithful guardian of Our Lady while she remained on this earth.
As love is preserved and fostered by mutual friendly intercourse, we may say that St. John was the person who loved Our Lady most after St. Joseph, for no other person, except the chaste Spouse of Mary, dwelt with her so long or with greater intimacy. This familiar living with Mary merited for St. John that spiritual insight into the things of God, which is apparent from his writings. Indeed, we see that he, more than the other apostles, penetrated into the heavenly mystery of the Incarnation and the hidden things of the adorable Heart of Jesus, whence he is called the Apostle of Charity.
St John was visited with heavenly visions in the island of Patmos and prophesied the future events of the Church. No less conspicious was he in the great dignity of the Apostolate, for he founded and governed the Churches of Asia, suffering persecutions and even the torment of martyrdom for the Faith, although he did not actually suffer death at the hands of the persecutors. He was the last of the apostles to pass out of this life and this in his ninetieth year, being adorned with the triple halo of Apostle, Doctor and Virgin.
O Mary, it was the Holy Ghost Himself who taught thee that sage discernment, by which thou didst despise the pleasures of the world and esteem only the things of heaven. Obtain for me, I pray thee, from this Spirit of knowledge and truth, the grace to despise the false maxims of the world, and ever to preserve intact in my soul the sacred deposit of faith. Amen.