Wellspring Community

Retreat 3

SEEKING THE WISDOM OF GOD

BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.

Be in your prayer space, follow the usual steps and settle into silence.

Take a couple of gentle, slow and deep breaths…becoming aware of your breath going in and out… stay focused on this breath of life……

Breathe in all that is of God and from God…all that is true, honest, pure, admirable, noble, decent, virtuous, worthy of praise, good, loving, kind – all that deserves respect..

Settle into silence, into peacefulness, into profound silence, into pure joy. Keep listening in quietness, stillness and serenity. Come to that place, that space within, that place of deep silence – Solitude…to just being here and now, without having to accomplish something.

Now I invite you to consecrate your time and all that come with this moment….in your own way, in humble, simple, may be even inadequate words………..

Our meditation today is on seeking the wisdom of God, on loving the wisdom of God and on learning to live wisely.

Wisdom can be found only deep inside of ourselves, in the very depth of our being. To find it, we must first liberate ourselves from the monsters such as greed, envy, jealousy, pride, arrogance and similar vices. We are gifted with Wisdom, but it will cost us to become awakened to this gift of God. It must be searched and mined and refined and purified. Just one “simple” problem: we are, both miners and minefield; purifiers and that which need to be purified. Greed, envy jealousy and other self-serving behaviors must go – we must “disarm” them.

We need to simplify our lives, let luxuries be luxuries and not let them become needs. We need to scrutinize our needs to see if they can be simplified. Simplicity and purity and detachment are virtues that lead us to the Wisdom within. We must be Vigilant.

Wisdom sometimes comes camouflaged in simple people, simple things, simple events, even in seeming foolishness. Being smart, having a certificate or a college/university degree does not guarantee wisdom.

Wisdom (Lady Wisdom), as used in Scripture, liturgy, and theology, is a word with many rich meanings. “Sapientia” (in Latin) and “Sophia” (in Greek) were often represented as the “Siren of the Philosophers”. Renaissance mystics depicted Sapientia as the Life-Strength (Shakti) of God, God’s “inner mind”. Sapientia is the creative, unifying and governing spirit of God.

The Latin word sapientia comes from the word sapere, meaning “to savor,” “to taste.” Through the gift of wisdom the Holy Spirit enables us to taste and see how good the Lord is, to have a taste for the things of God, to sense the divine in all things. As St. Paul says, “We have a wisdom which God has revealed to us through the Holy Spirit, for the Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God” (1 Cor. 2:5-10).

In Sacred Scripture, “Wisdom” is the title of one of the books of the Old Testament. In this book, as in other sapiential books of the Bible, wisdom is presented as an attribute of God, an “effusion of the glory of the Almighty … the refulgence of eternal light … the image of [God’s] goodness” (Wis. 7:25-26).

The word Wisdom is also used to speak of God himself, the eternal Wisdom, and more specifically of the Son of God, who, as the Word, is the total and adequate expression of the wisdom of God and who, in his incarnation, brought that wisdom to dwell among us. Jesus, “the wisdom of God” (Lk. 11:49; 1 Cor.1:24), “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3), came as the authoritative teacher of wisdom.

Wisdom is also personified as a woman, born of God before all ages and active with God in the work of creation (Proverbs 8:22-30).

In Catholic theology wisdom is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The human person is raised up by baptism of water or desire to become a partaker of the divine nature and life. In order to function at this higher level of being, God endows the baptized with a new set of faculties called “the gifts of the Holy Spirit” – “gifts” because they are freely given to all at baptism; “of the Holy Spirit” because it is through them that the Holy Spirit, who is given to us at baptism to be our spirit, is able to act in our lives.

The goal of Christian life is to think, understand and act according to who we truly are as men and women who have been baptized into Christ. “Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus” (Phil 2:5). This is true wisdom. It is this wisdom that we want to seek, understand, appreciate and embrace as we continue our journey of life.

The Greek philosophical system appealed to many Jews. This became a threat to Jewish religion, morality and culture. The book of Wisdom, written in the mid-first century B.C., was meant to encourage and challenge the Jews to remain faithful to their heritage of faith, morals, values, culture and tradition.

Wisdom 2:12, 17-20 speak of the wicked, whose thoughts are evil, plotting evil against the just. The wicked are annoyed by the goodness, gentleness, patience and truthfulness of the just. The author of the book invites us to cultivate wisdom and be cautious of the ways of the wicked. The wise choice is to be good, just and virtuous even when the “worldly” and the wicked are annoyed. The wise thing to do is to cultivate that which is an annoyance to the wicked. To be good and wise may be a struggle, but think of the alternative!

James 3:16-4:3 addresses the emergence of an unhealthy attitude in the first century Christian community. Some members thought of themselves as having special wisdom and separated themselves from those they thought were less wise and learned. James saw them as proud and ambitious rather than wise and learned. He says that true wisdom is from above, from God. Such wisdom is pure, peaceable, lenient, docile, and rich in sympathy and kind deeds. Wisdom is expressed, he says, in actions, attitudes and behaviors and not in some special knowledge. (When you have time, read James 3:13ff to get good insights into the meaning of this excerpt)

James challenges his readers to think about the source of their conflicts and disputes. He suggests that the source of the conflicts are within – inner conflicts….projecting conflicting needs and cravings outward into community, instead of living by the wisdom from above!

Jesus and his disciples had a wonderful experience of glory and peace on the mountain. The wisdom of Jesus was that their life was to be lived down below with people doing ordinary things in an extraordinary way. He began to talk about being betrayed and about being put to death as he lived out his life down below the mountain. Mark tells us that the disciples failed to understand the wisdom behind choosing to come down the mountain to face rejection, suffering and death, while they could stay on the mountain in special booths prepared for this special time of glory! (Mark 9:30-37) Then again, who really can understand the wisdom of choosing to suffer and die?!!!

Jesus began teaching the disciples a new king of wisdom, a new way of being……way of serving, being at the service of God by serving people, even at great cost…even to death! He also taught them the wisdom of simple, free, unassuming….being as children! He told them, unless you turn and become as children, you will not enter the kingdom of God. You are going in the wrong direction, not in the direction of the Kingdom. You are aiming at personal power, prestige, etc. which is the opposite of the Kingdom. Humility is the quality of person who belongs in the kingdom. The wisdom that governs the kingdom of God is not power, prestige and wealth, but the simplicity, trust, dependence, innocence, purity of children.

Jesus invited his disciples and he invites us today to be wise and be childlike and be willing to surrender in loving and generous service. He invites us to have a new vision of “greatness” as service, humility and self-surrender, different from what the world seems to offer. Those of us, who choose to follow Jesus and be his disciples, must learn to redefine greatens as humility, service and self-surrender.

Reflect on the wisdom of choosing to be the last….

Reflect on the wisdom of choosing to serve the least….

Reflect on the wisdom of choosing to be at the service of the “little ones”, whoever they may be, the ones who cannot give you important positions, the ones who cannot make you important before others………

Reflect on the wisdom of choosing humility and self-surrender as virtues..….

Reflect on the wisdom of choosing to leave the glory of the mountain and come down to face rejection, suffering and death….

Reflect on the wisdom of choosing this moment as God-moment, a moment of Grace….

Reflect on the wisdom of “seeking” the wisdom of God and on being a seeker……

We are seekers. Most of the time, we seek without really knowing what is moving inside of us. We seek wisdom, truth, justice, peace, love, the meaning of our life, acceptance, understanding and more……..And we may not even be conscious of our seeking….but we do seek…………..

There is great wisdom in this seeking…the wise ones always keep seeking. It is unwise and foolish to stop seeking.

To be seeking means that we accept what we have known as good and true, but imperfect and incomplete….

To be seeking means that we accept that truth and goodness and love and wisdom and all that is from God and of God are beyond us and yet within us….

To be seeking is to remain open to the unfolding of this mystery…to be open to God’s self-revelation as we encounter people and situations and many events in the universe….

To be seeking is to keep looking beyond…..beyond the immediate and the urgent, beyond what we see and hear and touch and feel……beyond our limited experiences…….

The mystery, the amazing Grace is that while we keep seeking, there is also ONE who keeps seeking us…..calling us…..moving us…inspiring us….. Greatly desiring that we find our home within….. that we find our life in this mystery, the sacred, GOD…..the deepest, innermost part, the core of our being!

The Prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 29:13ff) tells us: When you look (search) for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart……you will find me……I will let you find me!

When we find our true self, we find God and when we find God, we find our true self. (Thomas Merton in New Seeds of Contemplation)

The heart is a small vessel,

but all things are contained in it;

God is there, the angels are there,

and there is also life and the Kingdom,

the heavenly cities and the treasures of Grace. (St. Makarios)

Deep within us is a place, a sacred space, where we have found God and God has found us.

Be wise…keep seeking…never stop seeking!

Fr. Gus Tharappel,msfs