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)
Ok so CLIFFHANGER at the end of The Wisdom of Solomon Ch 8
Basically here’s Solomon, ostensibly the author of Wisdom of Solomon would be Solomon, right?
The idea behind this in Ch 8 he says, “Yeah so I was given a body and it was a mark of insight to know whose gift she was…”
SHE is the GIFT OF WISDOM
LADY WISDOM is marked throughout Scripture
Wisdom is feminine in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures
WHAT A GIFT THAT IS!!
Here Solomon is saying, “I longed for her, but I also know whose gift she is.”
This means WE DON’T GET WISDOM FROM OURSELVES
WE ONLY GET WISDOM FROM THE LORD GOD HIMSELF
Wisdom 8:20, “But I perceived that I would not possess wisdom unless God gave her to me-and it was a mark of insight to know whose gift she was-so I appealed to the Lord and implored him, and with my whole heart I said:...”
Tomorrow we get to hear The Prayer of Solomon in Wisdom Ch 9 and The Deeds of Wisdom in Ch 10
That’s kind of funny we left it on a cliffhanger ending
There is an element here where we get to hear so much about WISDOM
Especially in Wisdom Ch 7
There is this list of words
Every single one of them is worth investigating
Every single one of them is worth meditating on in our prayers
Wisdom 7:22-23, “For wisdom, the fashioner of all things taught me. For in her there is a spirit that is intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, mobile, clear, unpolluted, distinct, invulnerable, loving the good, keen, irresistible, beneficent, humane, steadfast, sure, free from anxiety, all-powerful, overseeing all, and penetrating through all spirits that are intelligent and pure and most subtle.”
These key words highlight an aspect of wisdom
Wisdom 7:24, “For Wisdom is more mobile than any motion; because of her pureness she pervades and penetrates all things. For she is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty…”
If you have the ability to read as well as listen, this is where we MARK THESE WORDS
Highlight some of those words and talk with God about them
“Ok Lord, these are characteristics and elements of your wisdom. Intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, mobile, clear, unpolluted, all of those words.”
They can be meditated on for a VERY LONG TIME
These aspects of kind of God’s character
In so many ways, the Holy Spirit is associated with God’s Wisdom
We can make a lot of really significant connections
Speaking of connections, the author of 2 Maccabees makes so many more connections than the author of 1 Maccabees
We’ve talked about this already
It continues to come back up
In 1 Maccabees we hear about the death of Antiochus and was defeated
In 2 Maccabees Ch 9 we not only hear about the death of Antiochus and that he was defeated
We also hear WHO defeated him
Who defeated Antiochus?
THE LORD GOD HIMSELF!!
Antiochus’s evil had gotten to a point where there was no coming back from
Even though Antiochus made a PROMISE TO GOD, he still died OUTSIDE OF COVENANT
He still died FAR FROM GOD
Because his heart was hardened to the Lord
He was using God as a “fire escape” situation
It did not help him
It did not get him any better
One of the things we noted in 1 Maccabees was that in the midst of all this fighting, political machinations, and manipulations, and this fight for power, GOD IS INVOLVED
Let’s beat this drum some more and not accept Fr. Mike’s apology 😉
It is SO IMPORTANT for all of us to understand
In EVERY ONE OF OUR LIVES we can take one of two perspectives
The first perspective is 1 Maccabees where God is kinda sorta there
You gotta just really fight for yourself
2 Maccabees where God is DEFINITELY THERE
GOD IS ACTIVE IN YOUR LIFE
These books are not really opposed to each other
It was not the goal of 1 Maccabees to show how God was involved
It WAS the goal of 2 Maccabees to show how God was involved
The books are COMPLEMENTARY NOT CONTRADICTORY
They reveal, like how Ecclesiastes reveals, that THIS IS WHAT LIFE CAN BE LIKE WITHOUT GOD
2 Maccabees reveals THIS IS HOW LIFE IS WITH GOD
It’s not predictable
It’s not a guarantee that you win every single thing
It’s not a guarantee that you won’t be suffering
Remember Eleazar and the story of the seven sons and their mom?
It’s not a guarantee that we are SPARED OF PAIN OR SUFFERING
It’s not a guarantee that we GET EVERYTHING WE WANT
What IS guaranteed is that GOD IS WITH US
Today, this community is LARGE
This community of people walking through the Bible is LARGE
Today, there are some people in our community that this is the worst day of their life
Or they just had the worst day of their life
We need you to know that GOD IS WITH YOU
Even if you can’t see him working
Even if you can’t feel him working
GOD IS WITH YOU
If this is the worst day of your life, we as a community need you to know that GOD IS WITH YOU
GOD LOVES YOU
GOD IS ACTIVE
GOD IS PRESENT
GOD IS TRYING TO SPEAK TO YOU AND REMIND YOU THAT EVEN IN THIS DARK TIME YOU ARE NOT ALONE
YOU ARE NOT ALONE BECAUSE GOD IS THERE
YOU ARE NOT ALONE BECAUSE WE ARE HERE
WE ARE PRAYING FOR EACH OTHER
FR. MIKE IS PRAYING FOR YOU!!
PRAY FOR FR. MIKE
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.”