The Mystery of Wisdom

From the earliest days of Christianity, the Church Fathers, Doctors of the Church, and Catholic theologians have grappled with the mystery of wisdom in the Hebrew Scriptures.  In some passages, wisdom almost seems to be interchangeable with the Holy Spirit.  (See Wisdom 1:6-8.)  In other places, Scripture states that wisdom was created by God, and therefore, wisdom by itself cannot be divine.  (See Sir. 24:14.)  Since wisdom is personified as feminine in the Hebrew Scriptures, the Church has considered wisdom as a type of the Virgin Mary, but not the Virgin Mary herself.

The early Church Fathers also saw Christ as the Wisdom of God.  In Matthew 11:19 and Luke 7:35, Jesus relates John the Baptist and Himself to wisdom.  In 1 Corinthians, Chapter 1, St. Paul refers to Jesus as both the power and wisdom of God, and he states that Jesus Christ became for us the “wisdom from God.”

The purpose of this article is not to provide a concrete definition of the mystery of wisdom.  Catholics have a certain love for and appreciation of mystery.  It’s somehow comforting to know that the reality of wisdom is larger than our limited understanding. 

What does all this mean for us?  In spite of our inability to fully understand it, we can never go wrong in desiring and praying for the gift of wisdom.  I believe God will always be pleased with this prayer, and he will always answer it in his own time and in his own mysterious way.

(Excerpts from “St. John of the Cross, Holy Wisdom, and Union with God” originally published in the January 2019 issue of “Las Cruces Carmelite Tid-Bits”.)

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