Those who are unspiritual do not receive the gifts of God’s Spirit, for they are foolishness to them, and they are unable to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.  Those who are spiritual discern all things … have the mind of Christ.

1 Cor 2:14,15,16

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What St. Paul is saying is this: those who are captured by the material world (all things concrete to the senses – that can be touched with the fingers, weighted with scales, measured with a ruler, eaten, seen with the eyes alone, etc.) are not able to receive the gifts they are given, unable to live in the Spirit, come to know the fullness of life that is not of the material but of the Spirit.

Why is this so?  Because those people are denominated by the material, reduced to objects, the sum only of the substance of the material elements they contain. They have heart but know not its depth – living only as if the heart is a mere bodily organ.  They know not the Spirit and, hence, cannot know the world.  Not knowing the world, they can neither lead nor teach; they can only fail and in our secular culture they and their failure abound.  They invite those who murder to be commencement speakers at their college graduation and are those who cannot see evil and stand up to it.

Without the Spirit, the eyes are blind and the heart is dead – the body’s organs rendered useless, especially the mind.

The gifts of God are Spiritual and to dismiss the Spirit is to dismiss who you are and who God is.  What is left in this dismissal is foolishness, a nightmare, calamity, destruction, the multiplication of evil.

No one can possess wisdom who is not of the Spirit – no one.

Thomas Merton says it well in his short essay “The Promises of Christ” when he says:

The seeds of … perfect life are planted in every Christian soul … but they merely lie dormant … (Christians are) divided between God and the world.  They allow God to maintain His rights over the substance of their souls, but their thoughts and desires do not belong to Him.  They belong to the world and to external things … For them … the Spirit of Truth cannot be received “because they see Him not, nor know Him.”

The television ad asks: What’s in your wallet?  I ask: What’s in your soul, America?

Shalom.

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