Day 306: Wisdom Is Beautiful

2 Maccabees 9:1-29 Antiochus died of a painful illness. After all the evil he had heaped on the Jews and their Temple, he finally recognized the God of Israel as the one true God.

Wisdom 7:1-6 Solomon was not born with great wisdom; rather, it was given to him by God (cf. 1 Kgs 3:1-5). Wisdom is not a reflection of academic brilliance but a consequence of an eager desire to do God’s will and give him glory.

Ch 7:7-21 The writer speaks of the seductive beauty of wisdom and the value of seeking it actively. Acquiring true wisdom consists in trusting God and allowing him to lead and inspire us. Another aspect of the pursuit of wisdom involves the effort to know the truth about history and the natural sciences as well as philosophy and theology. (CCC 39, 216)

Ch 7:16-17 Beautiful works of art are expressions of the richness of the human spirit, and they manifest the divine life of God. The talent for art reflects the divine Creator, who imbues all of creation with magnificent beauty. It is precisely the beauty of the created world that leads the observer to marvel at the power and the knowledge of God. (CCC 2501)

Ch 7:17-21 Full knowledge of the work of creation lies only in the mind of God. The pursuit of scientific knowledge can deepen our wisdom and our awe at all God has done. 

Ch 7:22-30 Beauty goes beyond more physical appearance and includes virtuous behavior, especially a loving heart. What is beautiful serves as a finite revelation of God’s transcendence. This moving beauty is especially expressed in liturgical celebrations, which are enhanced by art and music and elevated by ceremony and ritual. (CCC 1803, 2500)

Ch 8:1 While God created all things and all of creation is good and perfect in itself, it is God’s will that men and women complete and perfect creation through their work. The created world in its harmonious complexity reveals a fascinating and intricate design that points to a divine conductor. Through God’s providence, the created world follows cycles, develops facets, and gives rise to new creation. Creation can be likened to a symphony in which many different types of instruments work in an orderly fashion to give glory to the Creator. (CCC 302)

Ch 8:2-9 Wisdom is portrayed as an ideal spouse not only on account of its inherent beauty but also due to its capacity to fulfill and bear the fruits of evangelization. Wisdom serves as a gateway to know the goodness and love of God. St. Augustine advises us how to grow in wisdom: “One who obeys in the same way as the good man would is just; if he meditates on all things, in order to avoid deception and lies, he is prudent; if, through the virtue of temperance, he gives all his love to God, no trial shall ever overcome him, and that is the sign of fortitude” (De Moribus Ecclesiae Catholicae, 1, 25, 46). (CCC 1809)

Ch 8:7 This verse is the scriptural reference for what Church tradition terms the four Cardinal Virtues: prudence, justice, fortitude (courage), and temperance (self-control).

“Cardinal” is derived from the Latin cardo, meaning “hinge”; these four virtues serve as the hinge for the rest of the moral virtues. In some way all the virtues involving the perfection of the will and appetites are connected to the Cardinal Virtues. Interestingly, the Greek philosophers of the day also recognized these virtues as the four primary virtues. (CCC 1804-1805, 1834)

Ch 8:10-21 Wisdom inspires and governs the exercise of virtue since it enables a person to judge correctly the best course of action. Human conduct governed by wisdom inspired by natural law will lead to a virtuous life. The narrative here is said to come from Solomon himself, who at the outset of his reign prayed for wisdom, for which he quickly became renowned. The term “Solomonic wisdom” describes how Solomon is still emblematic of wise leadership today. 

Proverbs 25-29 This second set of proverbs from Solomon is reported as having been collected and preserved by the court of King Hezekiah, who ruled in the eighth century BC. 

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven thank you so much. Thank you for your Word and thank you. Thank you for your goodness. Thank you for giving us the gift of wisdom. Thank you for sharing who you are with us, your character with us. Thank you for the ways in which you are unseen, and yet still present. Thank you for the ways in which you act in silence and speak to us in silence, the way you love us in silence. Lord God, we also thank you for the times when you make yourself known. We thank you for the times when it is unavoidable for us to realize that you not only are present, but you are active. Not only that you are good, but that you love us. Help us to receive your love and help us to love you back. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”