The Word of Knowledge is a special gift (charism) of the Holy Spirit given to an individual to help an individual, to build up the church as also to help the nation. How do we receive this charism? How do we use it? Which are the messages that cannot be revealed to the other, though the message is received? Let me elaborate these points in the following lines.
What are charisms?
Charisms are special gifts of the Holy Spirit which are bestowed on individuals for the good of others, the needs of the world, and in particular for the building up of the Church. The discernment of charisms is the responsibility of the Magisterium (CCCc 160).
According to this definition, Word of Knowledge is considered as an extraordinary gift or grace of the Holy Spirit. There are nine extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit which are also known as Pauline Gifts because they are given in the Pauline letters of the Bible. And they are the gifts of tongues, interpretation, prophecy, word of wisdom, Word of Knowledge, discernment of spirits, faith, miracles and healings (1 Cor. 12:8-11).
How can one receive the Word of Knowledge?
The Charism can be received through the laying on of hands (2 Tim. 1:6) and through the gift of prophesy (2 Thimothy 4:14).
How do we use this Charism?
All charisms are to be exercised according to the supervision and direction of the Diocesan Ordinary and the Bishop Conference (CCCc 160) especially the gift of preaching which is the word from God (prophesy).
Which are the messages that are forbidden from being revealed?
One should not reveal the name of a person or identify the person, whom the other is going to marry.
The vocation or life style suitable for a person - E.g., Priesthood, religious life, marriage or single life should not be revealed.
The message giver should not reveal the identity of the thief, whereabouts of the thief or of the theft article.
One should not reveal the inner most secrets like that of an illegal relationship of a partner when the other partner does not know of it.
The exact time of the death of a person should not be revealed by the one giving the message though he might be aware of it.
Should not reveal something against the revealed truth in the Bible or Magisterial teachings of the Church.
One should not reveal a matter that might cause a scandal or a conflict in the society, Church, family, etc.
Above all the messages should help the spiritual growth of a person and lead towards a deep personal experience of conversion and transformation.
If the person does not live as per the commandments and precepts of Christ there is a possibility that the positive Word of Knowledge which is given might not be materialised in his or her life. In that case, there is no point in blaming the preacher/counsellor/ visionary.
What are the means of receiving Word of Knowledge?
It can be received through:
A dream - Joseph in the Old Testament
Gift of tongue as in Acts 2:1-4
A verse from the Bible
A vision – like in the case of Peter at Joppa ( Acts 10)
A sense of smell
An internal word of inspiration
External signs – dove, snake, cloud etc
The natural phenomena like wind, flood, fire, breeze, rain, and so on
An audible voice from the outside of the person
In several occasions I have been strongly motivated and compelled to use the Word of Knowledge. This incident happened in 2002 in Bangalore. I had blessed a marriage in St. Thomas Forraine Church in Dharmaram. Just after the nuptial mass a girl was abducted by somebody.The parents consulted an astrologer who practised clairvoyance and that man declared that the child was killed. After this event they came to me as I had left town immediately after Mass on that day. I prayed to the Holy Spirit for a vision and saw that the child was not killed but was alive in the basement of a big building in the city. The abductors had a plan to kill the child but they had still not carried out their plan. I applied two charisms in this case - the word of wisdom and Word of Knowledge. The word of wisdom and the Word of Knowledge are two sides of a single coin. The Word of Knowledge helps to find out the remedy for a crucial problem. The word of wisdom gives the next part of the remedy – what to do and how to do it! Through the word of wisdom given to me at that point, I asked them to pray the Divine Mercy chaplet until the child returned. Through the Word of Knowledge I came to know the whereabouts of the child and through the word of wisdom I suggested unceasing chaplets until the child returned. 52 days later the child was from taken by one of the abductors and was stationed for a while in a convent near by. Miraculously one of the nuns recognised her and with the help of the local police the child reached home safely. In this case, a Word of Knowledge through a vision helped and the word of wisdom to pray unceasingly helped me sort out a major issue in that family.
All the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit are made very real from 1967 through the Charismatic Renewal Movement in the Catholic Church. The devil also operates in very similar charisms but he doesn’t have any of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, all those who use charisms in their lives should try to increase in the twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22 & CCC 1832).