Way To Wisdom

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What is wisdom? If you want a  simple answer, wisdom is  the  knowledge about God.  The Scripture says that  ‘the fear  of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight’ (Prov. 9:10). Wisdom is such a sublime  and desirable virtue that  a whole book of the Bible is dedicated to wisdom. Apart from that there are innumerable  references to  wisdom and people who possess it, in other books too.

‘Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky’ (Dan 12:3).’Those who are wise shall  understand’ (Dan 12:10). ‘The wise among the people shall give understanding to many’ (Dan 11:33). ‘Some of the wise shall fall’ (Dan 11:35)

A resonance of what we read in the Book of Daniel can be seen in the  Book of  Revelation also. It is not surprising  because the context of both of them is the same viz. the end times. ‘This calls for wisdom’ (Rev 13:18). ‘This calls for a  mind that has wisdom’ (Rev 17:9).

If we often fail to  understand  the true  meaning  of  things happening around us these days, the sole reason is  that we  lack the  wisdom to understand them. This is a perilous time when  going forward  becomes impossible  without the wisdom that  comes from ‘on high’. Unlike the past,  these days call for  a mind with  wisdom so that we are able to discern each and every incident lest we will fall from error to greater errors. 

What should we do  to get wisdom? The first step in our journey towards wisdom is to  cleanse ourselves of deceit and sin. ‘Wisdom will not enter a deceitful soul, or dwell in a body enslaved to sin’ (Wis 1:4). Next step is to  come  closer to the Word of God; ‘Therefore set your desire on my words; long for them, and you will be instructed’ (Wis 6:11). It is equally important to love wisdom because ‘she is easily discerned by those who love her and is found by those who seek her’ (Wis 6:12).

If you are  worthy to  receive  wisdom, you need not  go after her. She will come to you, says the Scripture. ‘She goes about seeking those worthy of her, and she graciously appears to them in their paths, and meets them in every thought’ (Wis 6:16). See how magnanimous wisdom is!

But there is one thing that prevents you from attaining wisdom. It is  envy, the diabolic vice through  which ‘death entered the world’ (Wis 2:24). Wisdom  has nothing to do with envy. ‘ ….Nor will I  travel in the company of sickly envy, for envy does not associate with wisdom’    (Wis 6:23).

Wisdom  means friendship with God. ‘Those who get it obtain friendship with God’ (Wis 7:14). Just look at the way the Scripture describes wisdom. ‘ For she is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the  glory of the Almighty; therefore nothing defiled gains entrance into her. For she is a reflection of eternal  light, a spotless mirror of the working of  God, and an image of his  goodness’ (Wis 7: 25-26).

We should long for this wisdom which is ‘more beautiful than the sun, and excels every constellation of the stars and is superior to light’ (Wis 7:29). If we are really interested in knowing  ‘the things of the old, and  infers the things to come’ (Wis 8:8) we need the help of  wisdom. ‘To understand the turns of speech and the  solutions to riddles’ (Wis 8:8) wisdom will help us. We can go to  her to get ‘foreknowledge of signs and wonders and to  know the outcome of seasons and times’((Wis 8:8).

Wisdom  comes as  a gift from God, not as the  result of our efforts. ‘But I perceived that I would not possess wisdom unless God gave her to me’ (Wis 8:21). Its resonance can be seen in the words of  St Paul when he says that it is not our  power or effort but the   grace of God that brings results for us. We are called to  live according to the will of God and wisdom is indispensable to know it. ‘Who has learned your counsel, unless you have given wisdom and sent your holy spirit from on high?’ (Wis 9:17).

John the Apostle also says that it is God the Father who should give us  wisdom or the knowledge about  God. ‘No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me’ (Jn 6:44). In the Book of Sirach, we read that ‘to fear the Lord is the beginning (Sir 1:14), fullness (Sir 1:14), and  crown of wisdom (Sir 1:18). Precisely for this reason  God has predestined a place for wisdom to dwell. ’He said, ‘Make your dwelling in Jacob, and in Israel receive  your inheritance’ (Sir 24:8). Yes, wisdom is the  inheritance of the  people of God. Those who seek  her with a  pure heart will  surely get her.

Before  concluding, let us  have a quick look at the book of Baruch where  we read about certain people who are not blessed with  wisdom. ‘She (Wisdom) has not been heard of in Canaan, or seen in Teman; the descendants of Hagar, who seek for understanding on the earth, the merchants of  Merran and Teman, the story-tellers and the seekers for understanding, have not learned the way to wisdom, or given thought to her paths’ (Bar 3: 22-23). Is it then a surprise that the  descendants of Hagar  who are not   given wisdom, hate without reason, the descendants of Sara, who as the chosen people of God inherited wisdom.

We have only one thing to do; pray to God for  filling us with wisdom. Let us pray: O Lord, you are the fount of wisdom. May your wisdom instruct us. ‘Send her forth from the holy heavens, and from the throne of your glory send her, that she may labor at  our side, and that we may learn what is pleasing to you’ (Wis 9:10). Amen.

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