Bishop Eric Menees
I never cease to be amazed at the way God the Holy Spirit works in my life, both as an individual and in my ministry as the Bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin. One of the ways that God blesses me, and presumably blesses others, is in the Apostolic Laying on of Hands in the sacrament of Confirmation.
It is my practice to dedicate time in the night and early morning to praying for each candidate individually – asking the Lord to show me something about them and the ministry that He would have them be involved with in their congregation and in the future.
Generally, but not always, I'll have a dream or a Word of Knowledge regarding the person to share with them as I pray and lay hands upon them. For example, with one man I had the strongest sense in the core of my being that he was to step out in faith and start a business. Unknown to me this young man had been wrestling back and forth about just that question – whether to work for someone else or go out on his own. Weeks after the confirmation service his family reported that the Word of Knowledge that I shared with him resonated as deeply within him as it had within me. He stepped out in faith, and his business has gone from good to better and continues to grow even now, several years later.
Like all Gifts of the Spirit, the reality of the gift is made manifest in the bearing of fruit. This is exactly what Isaiah had prophesied when he wrote: "There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord”
The fruit of the Gift of Knowledge is seen in a deepening trust and certainty about the Lord. The gift of knowledge is imparted by the Holy Spirit and is deepened through the daily study of Holy Scripture and prayer. God is constantly seeking to communicate with us, and His two most prevalent ways of communicating are through His Word and through our quietly listening to the Lord. God may speak audibly, or He may speak through a sermon; a teacher; a friend. When He speaks, there is a resonance in your soul and you just know that you know.
We step out in Faith when we act on what the Lord tells us. Whether it is a word for us personally or for another, the Lord wants us to risk a little – share the word with a trusted friend, member of the clergy, or mentor to get their opinion. Always make sure that the word is in accordance with Holy Scripture and the teachings of the church, and ultimately - once the Word of Knowledge is acted upon - take the time in the near and distant future to review the results of that action. In other words, ask: “What Godly fruit has this born?”
Pray that the Holy Spirit will shed His Spirit of Knowledge upon you, that He may bless you and others.
I pray that the Lord may bless and keep you this week and always!
Catechism Questions 131 - 14
131. What is the anointing of the sick?
Through prayer and anointing with oil, the minister invokes God’s blessing upon those suffering in body, mind, or spirit. (Matthew 10:8; James 5:14-16).
132. What grace does God give in the anointing of the sick?
As God wills, the healing given through anointing may bring bodily recovery from illness, peace of mind or spirit, and strength to persevere in adversity, especially in preparation for death.
133. What are sins?
A sin is any desire or disobedient act that arises out of the fallen condition of my human nature and falls short, either by commission or omission, of perfect conformity to God’s revealed will. (1 John 3:4)
134. How does God respond to human sin?
All sin is opposed to the holiness of God, and is therefore subject to God’s condemnation But God in his mercy offers forgiveness and salvation from sin to all people through the reconciling life, death and resurrection of his Son Jesus Christ. (Matthew 26:28; Romans 1:18-2:4; 6:6-11)