Know & Understand

Started by ·, January 10, 2023, 10:11:12 AM

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We can acquire knowledge, and the desire for knowledge can be virtuous or vicious. Folly is the sin against the Gift of Wisdom. Mortal sin removes Charity and thus Wisdom as Wisdom relies on Charity. The connection between Charity and Wisdom should be appreciated fully.

There are more Gifts. The seven gifts of the Holy Ghost are, Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety and the Fear of the Lord. (Catechism of Pius X, The Gifts of the Holy Ghost, Q 1)

There are sins against them, and focusing on Understanding and Knowledge (Ibid., Q 4, 7), we should know that:

  • Understanding is a gift which facilitates, as far as this is possible to mortal man, the understanding of the truths of faith and of the mysteries of God, which we are unable to know by the natural light of the intellect.
  • Knowledge is a gift enabling us to estimate created things at their proper worth, and to learn how to use them rightly and to direct them to our last end, which is God.

Sins against Knowledge and Understanding are: Blindness of Mind and Dullness of Sense. These sins arise from sins of the flesh: what we choose to do with our flesh affects our intellect, and opposing the Gifts of the Holy Spirit is indeed a rejection of them. (ST II-II Q 15 A 3)

Blindness of Mind removes the insight the intellect has, just as blindness removes the sight of the eyes. It is privation of what should be. This is distinct from a natural defect of intellect. Blindness of Mind is a choice, a sin. It arises from Lust. (Ibid., A 1)

Dullness of Sense in connection with understanding denotes a certain weakness of the mind as to the consideration of spiritual goods. It arises from Gluttony (ST II-II Q 15 A 2)

This might be useful to know if one struggles with Lust or Gluttony. It is not just those sins: the effects can be more profound. Gluttony is easily overlooked. It is an inordinate desire of food and drink, and this rationally would include other similar sensual pleasures that are not intoxicating that concern the same bodily functions. Gluttony is a sin. (ST II-II Q 148 A 1)

If one finds it difficult to consider spiritual goods properly, and relies on worldly values and expressions, and understanding seems uncertain on what is so certain to others, it might be the results of Gluttony and each individual sin may have been easy to overlook and dismiss as a small matter. It would be a very great mistake, not only because venial sin is always an offence against God; but also because it does no little harm to the soul. (Catechism of Pius X, The Main Kinds of Sins, Q 13) Venial sin does not cause the loss of Charity, but it weakens it among other effects: Weakens and chills charity in us; Disposes us to mortal sin;  Renders us deserving of great temporal punishments both in this world and in the next. (Ibid., Q 14)

Lust is more immediately recognized, or it should be, and those willfully pursuing venereal pleasure inordinately at all might find that one is not just weakened, but has a complete loss of what should be known and understood.

Those affected by any of these sins might be unable to fully recognize simple teachings, such as irreverence and sacrilege or may even fail to recognize the worst sin of blasphemy, and commit it in sinful blindness due to their own moral failing.

The remedy is clear:  The capital vices are conquered by the exercise of the opposite virtues: Thus Pride is conquered by humility; Covetousness by liberality; Lust by chastity; Anger by patience; Gluttony by abstinence; Envy by brotherly love; Sloth by diligence and fervour in the service of God. (Catechism of Pius X, The Vices and Other Very Grievous Sins, Q 4)

O ye sons of men, how long will you be dull of heart? why do you love vanity, and seek after lying? (Psalms 4:3)