Over the last twenty years I have come to deeply love the Wisdom of God. I love to study God’s Word, I love Catholic teaching, and I am thrilled to teach it. Right now I am both learning and teaching as my parishioners and I are viewing the video series Catholicism, by Fr. Robert Barron. Each week as we view and discuss another section, I find my heart on fire with joy and love before the beauty and magnificence of the Truth of the Faith.
I will say that there was a time in my life when I found faith and the things of faith boring and unconvincing. But, over the years the Lord has given me a new heart and mind so that Holy Wisdom and knowledge of the faith are the joy and treasure of my heart.
In the Wisdom tradition of the scriptures, Lady wisdom is portrayed as a beautiful woman:
- Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who lay hold of her will be blessed. (Proverbs 3:13-17)
- For in her is a spirit intelligent, holy, unique, Manifold, subtle, agile, clear, unstained, certain, Never harmful, loving the good, keen, unhampered, beneficent, kindly, Firm, secure, tranquil, all-powerful, all-seeing, And pervading all spirits, though they be intelligent, pure and very subtle. For Wisdom is mobile beyond all motion and she penetrates and pervades all things by reason of her purity. For she is a breath of the might of God and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nothing defiled can enter into her. For she is the reflection of eternal light; the spotless mirror of the power of God, the image of his goodness. Although she is one, she can do all things, and she renews everything while herself perduring. Passing into holy souls from age to age she produces friends of God and prophets. For God loves nothing so much as the one who dwells with Wisdom. For she is fairer than the sun and surpasses every constellation of the stars. Compared to light, she is found more radiant; though night supplants light, wickedness does not prevail over Wisdom. (Wisdom 7:22-31)
- I resolved to have her for my bride. I fell in love with her beauty….I therefore have determined to take her to share my life, knowing that she would be my counselor in prosperity and my comfort in cares and sorrows…When I go home, I shall take my ease with her, for nothing is bitter in her company…I went all ways seeking how to get her…realizing that unless God gave her to me I could never possess her. So with all my heart I entreated the Lord. (Wisdom 8: selected verses).
Well, you get the point. She is beautiful and desirable. And I have come to experience this in the depths of my soul.
But there remains the very strange reality that, given her beauty, I could ever have missed her. And there is the on-going mystery that so many miss, and under appreciate her glory, her beauty and the joy of her.
Most prefer things far less beautiful, less captivating. Maybe it is T.V. or any number of passing diversions, creature comforts, dime-store novels, sports games featuring men moving a bag full of air (a.k.a., the “ball”) up and down a designated field of play. Perhaps not evil in themselves, but how amazing that so much time is spent in them, while beautiful lady Wisdom, Holy Faith, sits home unadored and unattended to.
I thought of that when I saw the Ad in this video:
Crazy huh? Such a beautiful woman and he prefers I beer. I like beer but I love wisdom. How could this guy be so crazy? I want to say, “Look at her, she’s beautiful….I said look!” “Huh?” he says, “Oh pardon, me I need some chips to go with this beer.” And this, more often than not, is modern man, and woman too: walking right past beauty, dabbling in it at best, and preferring something less, like beer.
Perhaps too the intoxicating effect of beer might be included in this analysis for as Scripture says,
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for idols.… (Romans 1:21-23)
Yes, this Ad is a powerful picture of so many of us who too easily value passing things over the glory of God and the profound beauty of his wisdom. Perhaps we could title this Ad and the choice it illustrates as: Beer or the Bride? Or alternately, the Lager or the Lady (As in “Lady Wisdom”). Yes, here is our choice.
Smart and suddenly dumb – Given our passion for passing things of this world, it also manifests that we are far more articulate about things of this world than the things of God and his wisdom. It often happens that people are passionate and extremely knowledgeable about sports, knowing even very arcane details about players, strategies, and prognostications of odds-makers. Others are passionate about politics, knowing in detail, party positions and why the other guy is so wrong. Still others are powerfully intelligent about their field of work, having highly developed skills. When we want to be, we’re pretty smart.
But when it comes to the faith, to wisdom, all of a sudden many of the same people are back in second grade again, with little to say about the faith. Thought they know the front line of the football team by heart, the names of the four Gospels escape them. You’d better believe they can engage in fast talk and in depth conversation about any number of worldly issues. But when it comes to knowing the faith and how to apply it to matters in question, suddenly we’re searching for words.
I thought about that when I saw this ad:
Again look at the beautiful woman, lets call her “Sophia” (Wisdom). But the guy’s praising beer. And look how articulate he is. But when the lovely and gracious Sophia asks him to articulate his love for her, he’s searching for words. OK, so I want to say, “Dude: look her in the eye and tell her she’s gorgeous and say, ‘How do I love thee, let me count the ways.‘”
But this is us. Gorgeous Lady Wisdom is with us, and our mind and heart are on holiday.
Sorry ladies, I realize this discourse about “gorgeous Lady Wisdom” may appeal more to the men in the readership, but you get the analogy, powerfully displayed by these beer ads.
Doxology – I want to say again, I have come to love wisdom. I cannot boast of this, only say, “Thank you Lord. Thank you for a new mind and heart, for better priorities. Thank you. Now please Lord, deepen my love.”
Thank you too, dear reader, for I have come to know that many of you too have a growing love for Lady Wisdom, for the beauty of truth. May God grant us increase.