Holy Wisdom

God has made Godself known to us in many ways; one of the oldest of these messengers is Wisdom.

The Scripture

Proverbs 8:1–21
retold by Deborah

Wisdom calls out, passionately shouting to be heard. She stands on the hilltops, along the highway, at the crossroads, in front of the town gates, at the entrances to the shops and stores, crying, “I am speaking to you, O my people, and I call you to life!

“You who are gullible, stop and listen, you who are foolish, set this as your goal! Hear what I say! My words can be trusted; I only say what I know to be right — I cannot bear to utter lies or deceit.

“Those who hear me are just and fair — not biased or twisted. Those with understanding heed my words; they are truly intelligent.

“Choose to be gracious rather than grasping; be generous rather than judgmental, for compassion enriches the soul — it is a treasure that cannot be bought.

“I, Wisdom, am subtle, gentle, and patient; I have knowledge and discretion. I am not severe or restrictive.

“To love God is to hate wickedness; I despise smug self-satisfaction and arrogance, violence, lies, and deceit.

“I am thoughtful and fair, understanding and caring; I have insight, I am strong.

“Those who heed my words are more powerful than kings; their knowledge surpasses that of great scholars; their riches exceed all the wealth of princes and nobles — those who merely rule on earth.

“I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. I bring treasure and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity.

“My legacy is greater than bushels of diamonds and rubies; my gift surpasses silver and gold. I lead the way to understanding by doing what is right and fair, bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me and filling their lives with treasures.”

Photo of a flower

A Different Face? by Deborah Beach Giordano

The Feminine Face of God

Wisdom has been called “the feminine face of God”; she appears in the Scriptures as a divine representative of the qualities traditionally associated with motherhood. She is nurturing, caring, compassionate — but by no means a permissive parent: she scolds the people when they do wrong, and instructs them in what is right.

yelling

When Wisdom shouts, she is warning her children against harmful situations. Occasionally her voice is strident — when the risk is great, the danger immediate; as if they are toddlers heading toward a busy street. At other times she weeps for her people; her heart breaking at their suffering, mourning the results of their foolishness.

Always, Wisdom is compassionate. She is the voice of the concerned parent, preventing injuries, soothing hurts, comforting broken hearts. Lady Wisdom is an expression of divine unconditional love and acceptance.

Recognizing the Song

When She calls to us, we pause, and we listen. There is something very familiar; something that speaks to us, a quality that resonates within our souls. It is not language, but music — a song we have somehow known all of our lives. We are drawn in; we know in our hearts that this is real and true.

infantWe understand loving words because we recognize them; we have heard them before. Perhaps we heard them first to the tune of a lullaby.

For many of us Wisdom’s loving call sounds familiar because it reminds us of our mother’s voice. It is these women whom we celebrate on Mother’s Day: those Wisdom Workers who taught us the language of love.

Wisdom Teachers

We recognize Wisdom’s teachings through experience; we have heard its language spoken — in words, in deeds, in glances and gestures, in smiles and in frowns. For many of us, our mothers were the first embodiment of this gracious Love, others met the holy Lady in different forms. They were the human image of Wisdom: speaking, shouting, scolding, encouraging and warning us — sometimes with great patience, occasionally fueled by frustration, but always and invariably filled with love.

They kissed our scraped knees, bandaged our wounds, told us stories and listened to ours, and cuddled us when we were sad. They took our part when things went wrong, comforting us when we fell or failed, were fired by our bosses, divorced by our spouses, or felt we simply could not go on.

Through their love we learned about the compassionate wisdom of God.

Translations

language lessonHaving learned Wisdom’s language, we can communicate it to others. We know how to follow Wisdom’s life-giving Way: caring, compassionate, generous and fair, and — above all — loving. We know what to do, yet, for many reasons we may be seduced by artifice and guile: falling for lies and flattery, mistaking worldly riches for divine gifts, preferring what is easy to what is good.

“Preach Wisdom at all times — when necessary, use words.”
      ~ St. Francis of Assisi, paraphrased

We know what to do: speak love — in words, deeds, prayer, and practice — at all times and in all places. We know what to do: sometimes we succeed, sometimes we slip and fall. Throughout it all, Mother Wisdom persistently, tirelessly speaks to us — sometimes in gentle whispers, sometimes in urgent shouts, sometimes in laughter, sometimes in tender sighs, “Love is what truly matters; it is the Way of Life.”

A Celebration

On Mother's Day we celebrate all those who have embodied the “feminine face of God”; the women (and men) who have cared for us, cuddled us, coached us, kept us out of trouble — and forgave us when we got into it anyway — and, throughout it all, loved the hell out of us. They taught us the Way of Wisdom, now it is up to us to follow it.

Virtual hugs and real-time blessings,

Deborah

This Week’s Suggested Spiritual Exercise

How does your life honor the Wisdom of God?