Detached from evil by the fear of the Lord, and ennobled with holy love by the gift of piety, the soul feels the want of knowing how she is to avoid what she must fear, and how to find what she must love. The Holy Ghost comes to her assistance, and brings her what she needs, by infusing into her the gift of knowledge. By means of this precious gift, truth is made evident to her; she knows what God asks of her and what He condemns, she knows what to seek and what to shun. Without this holy knowledge, we are in danger of going astray, because of the frequent darkness which, more or less, clouds our understanding. This darkness arises, in the first place from our own nature, which bears upon itself the but too visible proofs of the fall. It is added to by the false maxims and judgements of the world, which so often warp even those whose upright minds seemed to make them safe. And lastly, the action of Satan, who is the prince of darkness, has this for one of its chief aims: to obscure our mind, or to mislead it by false lights.
The light of our soul is faith, which was infused into us at our baptism. By the gift of knowledge, the Holy Ghost empowers our faith to elicit rays of light strong enough to dispel all darkness. Doubts are then cleared up, error is exposed and put to flight, truth beams upon us in all its beauty. Everything is viewed in its true light, the light of faith. We see how false are the principles which sway the world, which ruin so many souls, and of which we ourselves were once, perhaps, victims.
The gift of knowledge reveals to us the end which God had in creation, and out of which creatures can never find either happiness or rest. It teaches us what use we are to make of creatures, for they were not given us to be a hindrance, but a help whereby to reach our God. The secret of life thus possessed, we walk on in safety, we halt not, and we are resolved to shun every path which would not lead us to our end.
The apostle had this gift in view, when, speaking to the converts of Ephesus, he said: 'Ye were heretofore darkness, but now light in the Lord: walk then as children of the light.' Hence comes that unhesitatingness, that 'confidence of the Christian life'. There may be a want of experience now and then; so much so indeed, that the little world around talks feelingly about the indiscretions and scandals which are almost sure to arise; but they forget that there is the gift of knowledge, of which the sacred Scripture thus speaks: ' She conducted the just through the right ways, and gave him the knowledge of holy things,' or, as some render it, 'the science of the saints." We have daily proofs of this truth: a Christian, by means of supernatural light, is found to escape every danger; he has no experience of his own, but he has the experience of God.
We give thee thanks, O holy Paraclete! for this Thy gift of light, which Thou so lovingly maintaining within us! Oh! never permit us to seek any other. It alone is sufficient; without it, there is nought but darkness. Preserve us from those sad inconsistencies, of which so many are guilty, who follow Thy guidance today, and the maxims of the world tomorrow; wretched double-dealing, which displeases Thee, and does not please the world ! Make us love that knowledge, which Thou gavest us in order for our salvation. The enemy of our souls is jealous of our having such a gift, and is ever studying to make us exchange it for his lying principles. O divine Spirit, suffer not his treachery to triumph. Be Thou ever within us, aiding us to distinguish truth from falsity, and right from wrong. May our eye be single and simple, as our Jesus bids it be; that so our body, that is, our actions, desires, and thoughts, may be lightsome; and preserve us from that evil eye, which makes the whole body to be darkness.