Thursday, December 17, 2015

Advent Nineteen


It has been said that knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.

If wisdom is understood at all, it is often understood as knowing what to do for the best in given circumstances, and in particular in complex circumstances (far more complex than making a fruit salad). But such omniscient wisdom is beyond the constraints and responsibility of being human, for all of us face circumstances where we simply cannot know what to do for the best.

This year, I find myself asking the question, How do I want to live my life, in the light of our inevitable day of dying? And as the day of our own death is hidden from us, I am helped, in both asking and answering the question, by the terrible privilege of observing others approach that day.

As I reflect on the lives of those whose life has left a lasting impression on me, I have concluded that wisdom is not so much concerned with particular words or actions as with a way of living, and that the way of wisdom is made manifest through a gentleness that is evident to all (Philippians 4:5).

O Sapientia
O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High
reaching from one end to the other mightily,
and sweetly ordering all things:
Come and teach us the way of prudence.

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