Let’s imagine you are invited to a meeting to come and understand your computer.  Are you interested?  I would decline this offer as I have little desire to understand this wonderful tool, and my dear friend might be the first to sign up.  The difference between us is she loves understanding computers and their inner workings. 

In one of Jesus’ teachings, the need for understanding of spiritual teachings is named as a means of retaining the teachings and protecting them from being snatched away (Matthew 13:19).  How would understanding keep a spiritual teaching within our heart? 

Understanding is built of your knowledge, the information, and even the intelligence you have about a topic.[1]  Since my space in the world is spiritual life and faith formation, let us look at spiritual understanding.  How do we come to spiritual understanding?  The path to spiritual understanding often starts with a life experience that confuses you (it may knock you to your knees or lay you flat out, it maybe a moment that you don’t know how you will survive).  Maybe the life experience is an untimely death, a longing that is not met, an illness, or even an unanswered prayer.  Here is what happens and here is the invitation to spiritual understanding:  Neither your spiritual information nor the spiritual knowledge you enjoy can help you navigate or speak to this life experience.  God may feel distant, loved ones sound like know-it-alls, and you, my dear friend, have entered a path which may lead you to understanding. 

Understanding is best done in either deep quiet and stillness and with a spiritual director – now is the time to combine spiritual information and knowledge to your life experience.  With spiritual eyes and ears, what comes to you?  This is the building of understanding around your life experiences.  This is when you come to a new and ever-expanding and evolving understanding of God.  Come, let us share one another’s burdens, and let love have its full healing way (Galatians 6:2, my rewording or paraphrase).   

[1] Tobin Hart, From Information to Transformation: Education for the evolution of consciousness, (New York, Peter Lang Publishing, 2000), 87.