Monday, March 21, 2011

Seeking Wisdom

During the period known as Great Lent in the Orthodox Church, we read from the book of Proverbs during the week, Monday through Friday, for our gospel reading. Right now, we are reading Isaiah, Genesis, and Proverbs. 

In the book of Proverbs we are introduced to Wisdom, who is personified as a woman. We read more about Holy Wisdom in the Wisdom of Solomon and the Wisdom of Jesus, Son of Sirach (also known as Ecclesiasticus). 

Some have regarded Holy Wisdom as a Divine being herself; the early Church Fathers, following St. Paul, regarded her as Christ. The Russian Orthodox Theologian Sergius Bulgakov suggest that Holy Wisdom is the Essence that the members of the Holy Trinity share. 

In the reading today from Proverbs chapter 8, Wisdom calls to us, inviting us to listen to her, to obtain wisdom, knowledge and understanding. "I have good advice and sound wisdom; I have insight, I have strength," she says (Proverbs 8.14). 

St. James says in the New Testament "If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you." - James 1.5

We do not have to face life alone. We can ask God for wisdom. People in 12-step programs pray for the knowledge of God's will, and the power to carry it out. It is the same thing. 

King Solomon in the Bible did not pray for riches or wives, but for Wisdom in ruling his people, and God granted it to him, without finding fault. Solomon was also granted other blessings precisely because he asked for Wisdom first, and not for his desires. In the Psalms we read, "Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." - Psalm 37.4. 

People my age often experience regrets for lost opportunities and mistakes made earlier in life. But we can seek God's guidance and wisdom for the future, in order to make sure we are living life to the fullest.

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