I have read this so many times, memorized it and wrote it down so often that it is a passage that comes to me often. Like any scripture passage, am I really seeking to understand it or is it just rote?
When Jesus today, in the Gospel of Mark 12 was asked by a scribe which is the first of all the commandments, he was very pleased that the scribe understood his teaching, telling him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”
In the first reading from Hosea 14:10, we hear “Let him who is wise understand these things; let him who is prudent know them. Straight are the paths of the LORD, in them the just walk, but sinners stumble in them.”
The gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, knowledge, courage, counsel, piety and fear of the Lord. Understanding is a very important gift. I think we can have all kinds of knowledge. I know many brilliant people who know a lot. But if we do not understand our Lord, we will not walk straight in his paths but continue to stumble in sin.
I really like a quote from St. Bonaventure who said: “If you learn everything except Christ, you learn nothing. If you learn nothing except Christ, you learn everything.”