Charism of Knowledge

Definition: Empowered study and intellectual activity resulting in new or clearer understanding of God, people and the universe.

Testimony for the Charism of Knowledge

When I filled in the Called and Gifted Inventory, I had the highest possible score for the Charism of Knowledge – the statements seemed to fit me like a glove.

I read and study a great deal to understand the universe God has made. Over the years I have enjoyed reading about all sorts of topics, and usually read non-fiction rather than fiction. I don’t think I have ever grown out of the childhood phase of asking ‘why’. ‘Why is the sky blue?’ ‘Why is the moon orange tonight?’

“We are so ‘fearfully and wonderfully made.”

Study is an important spiritual exercise for me because, when I study anything, I know that I am contemplating an aspect of God’s loving activity. Studying has seldom felt like a chore. I thoroughly enjoyed reading for my psychology degree and delighted in the new insights it gave me into the people God has created. Studying the structure and functioning of nerve cells caused me to marvel again and again that we are so ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’.

I enjoy discovering ‘new’ ideas or truths for myself by reading or observing
situations first hand. When I worked as a teacher, one of my greatest pleasures was doing the background reading for a new topic. During my walks in the countryside at weekends, I would be thrilled to notice something that illustrated a scientific principle or fact that I had come across in my reading and I would spontaneously praise God for the wonder of His creation.

I love the rich intellectual heritage of Catholicism, which is an important source of nourishment for my intellectual and spiritual life. This has been a comparatively recent discovery for me. I started to attend Mass three years ago, and loved the richness of the Liturgy. But some things were a shock.

“I felt like a detective on the trail of the truth!”

Some of the catholic teaching about Mary seemed at first sight to contradict all I had previously believed. How could she be sinless when ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’? I started to devour the Catechism and other Vatican documents. I read many Catholic apologetics websites and felt a growing sense of exhilaration and excitement. I felt
like a detective on the trail of the truth! I longed to share my new-found
understanding with others so started to write some articles about Mary.

I had imagined that writing would simply be a tool for recording my discoveries but, much to my surprise, I found that writing seemed to be part of the discovery process. As I wrote, things fell into place; ideas joined together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle; new insights emerged even as I tapped away on my computer. I realised that, for me, writing was not just a communication tool but was a means by which the Holy Spirit
was leading me deeper into the fullness of truth.

Others have told me that the insights I’ve gained from my study have helped them grow in their own intellectual and spiritual lives. The Called and Gifted Process gave me the opportunity to test the effectiveness of what I had written. As my experiment I asked the small group and seven Evangelical friends to read my article on the Immaculate Conception. The feedback from all but one was very positive.
They said it was very clear and was a pleasure to read – even the Evangelicals who were still strongly opposed to my conclusions! One Catholic friend said, ‘I have believed this all my life, but I have never understood it so clearly before.’

So, I am immensely grateful for the Called and Gifted Process. It has shown me that my love of learning is not just a personal quirk, but a gift from God to be used for ‘Christian discipleship and the mission of the Church’.