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O Sapientia

Matthew Neugebauer

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Come,
Wisdom of our God Most High,
guiding creation with power and love:
teach us to walk in the path of knowledge!
How do we know what’s right? How do we know what’s real? Or true? Philosophers, theologians, scientists and everyone else under the sun have asked those questions since humans became capable of asking questions. Naturally, the Bible has a response or two to these questions—not as a simple, one-size-fits-all answer, but as a path to knowing God, the world and ourselves in deeper ways.
That path is called  "wisdom." The word partially refers to the “common sense thing to do,” to prudence and sound judgement. There's a whole book full of pithy sayings meant for young people to learn how to make their way in the world, both successfully and with integrity. The book’s straightforward title is "Proverbs."
But "wisdom," as today's Antiphon reminds us, goes far deeper than that, in the Book of Proverbs and throughout Scripture. It's God's wisdom, through which He "guides creation with power and love." Creation, as a whole. I like to think of wisdom as the "source code" of reality, the underlying order that connects all things and makes them grow, makes them tick. It’s therefore what makes us tick: it’s nothing less than the purposeful order of human life itself. The path to knowing that is surely the path of knowledge: not just “about” things, or about God, or our neighbours, and certainly not so we can manipulate them or take advantage of them. I mean that it’s the path of deep knowing, that encounter with God and God’s creatures that seeks the welfare of all in all. Surely that is “income better than silver, and revenue better than gold!” (Proverbs 3:14)
The prologue to St. John's Gospel decisively tells us that this path is none other than the way of Jesus Christ. The proverbial (pun intended) "Word,” the ancient Greek way of expressing that cosmic order given to Creation by God, was with God and is God, from the start. And then "the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,” revealing what it means to be truly human. He tells us that our highest and deepest call, the purpose of our lives, is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” and to “love your neighbour as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39)
Which is to say, we are called to take part in Christ’s own life, since He is God’s abiding, sacrificing, eternally-dwelling love for all His creatures, which we return to Him and share with the human family and all inhabitants of our common home. On December 17, we ask for Jesus Christ to come and lead us ever onward, lead us on this, His path of knowledge and love.


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