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Posts Tagged ‘wisdom’


Ecclesiastes 2:12-17: Madness and Follyapril fools

March 12, 2022

Wisdom has the advantage over folly as much as light has the advantage over darkness.

When we listen to a podcast interview with Suki Kim, author of WITHOUT YOU, THERE IS NO US, we have the opportunity to reflect on what it means to be wise and what it means to be foolish. No matter our social or political views, this interview gives us a glimpse into a world of extremes.

http://www.npr.org/2014/10/22/357632699/among-the-young-and-privileged-in-north-korea

Screen-Shot-2014-10-03-at-2.37.03-PM1Ecclesiastes opens a discussion of the value purpose and worth of human life. When we listen to this podcast we might also reflect on how and when we hope to control others. And, perhaps most importantly, we have the opportunity to reflect on when and why we choose darkness and a lack of information over the light and her gift of knowledge.

The wise have eyes in their head, but the fool walks in darkness.


Read the NEW YORK TIMES review of Kim’s work at: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/14/books/review/suki-kims-without-you-there-is-no-us.html?_r=0

Image of fool from: http://www.wfuv.org/blog/question-day-april-fools

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Sirach 51:23-30: In Earnestlistening To God

March 11, 2015

Wisdom is close to those who seek her, and the one who is in earnest finds her.

Much is written about wisdom and finding the key that unlocks access to her depths. We spend many hours and a great deal of money looking for the wisest ways to earn a living, to make solid friendships, to find the magical access to happiness. And while we search, we often overlook Wisdom’s presence in the simplest of times, the most unpretentious spaces, and the humblest of relationships. Wisdom is not to be found in the glitz and glory; rather, Wisdom makes her home with the meek, the ordinary and the earnest.

If we spend time with these verses today and compare varying versions of the text, let us take stock of the places we frequent, the people we befriend, and the time we spend with our creator.


In some traditions, the book of Sirach is categorized as Apocrypha. Use the scripture link to explore different versions of this citation and listen in earnest for Wisdom’s whispered words.

Image from: http://whomshallisend.blogspot.com/2012_02_26_archive.html

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Wisdom 1: The Key to Lifekey of life

March 10, 2015

Love justice . . . seek the Lord with integrity of heart . . .

Perverse counsels separate a man from God . . .

The holy spirit of discipline flees deceit and withdraws from senseless counsels . . .

When injustice occurs it is rebuked . . .

God is the witness of the inmost self and the sure observer of the heart . . .

The spirit of the Lord fills the world, is all-embracing, and knows what each one says.

No one who utters wicked things can go unnoticed . . .

A jealous ear hearkens to everything . . .

Discordant grumblings are no secret . . .

Guard against profitless grumbling, and from calumny withhold your tongues . . .

A stealthy utterance does not go unpunished . . .

A lying mouth slays the soul . . .

Justice is undying.

God says: These words of wisdom are sent to you through my servant who recorded these thoughts for you centuries ago. They are ancient words yet they hold modern meaning. In this season of Lent as you anticipate the miracle of Easter, open your arms, widen your horizon, unbend your stiff neck and renew your heart. Separation from me does not occur like a thunder clap or an explosion; rather, it begins by tiny steps away from me, away from the light that breaks through all darkness and calls forth all healing. If you wish to hold the keys to life, remain in me as I remain in you. I will give you rest and mercy and peace. 

Use the scripture link to explore different versions of these verses, and allow them to reveal the wisdom of God’s words.  


Image from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/79102167@N00/12687461/

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finding restSaturday, December 18, 2021

Joy and Sirach 6

Rest

Today we come to the end of the wisdom recorded by Jesus ben Sirach, the last of the Wisdom Books offered by the ancients; and we discover that all we need to know about finding wisdom is within. All we need do is rest in the wisdom of the Lord . . . and in this we find great joy. If today’s Noontime calls you to search for more ways to encounter wisdom or joy, click on those words in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter the words in the blog search bar. Today we determine to rest in wisdom, to rest, to rest in wisdom, to rest in the Lord.

Reflecting on Sirach’s description of wisdom, we pause with these verses from Chapter 6 (18-37) Click on the scripture link and compare different versions of these words and rest in the Wisdom that speaks within.

My child, from your youth choose discipline;
    and when you have gray hair you will find wisdom.

As though plowing and sowing, draw close to her;
    then wait for her bountiful crops.
For in cultivating her you will work but little,
    and soon you will eat her fruit.

She is rough ground to the fool!

To encounter true wisdom, we must allow ourselves to rest in God . . . and this can be as difficult as plowing a spring field after the ice and snow of winter.

The stupid cannot abide Wisdom.
She will be like a burdensome stone to them,
    and they will not delay in casting her aside.

For discipline is like her name,
    she is not accessible to many.

Listen, my child, and take my advice;
    do not refuse my counsel.

Put your feet into her fetters,
    and your neck under her yoke.

Bend your shoulders and carry her
    and do not be irked at her bonds.

To encounter true wisdom, we must allow ourselves to rest in God . . . and this can be as difficult as bending our necks in obedience to a plan that is not of our making.

joyWith all your soul draw close to Wisdom;
    and with all your strength keep her ways.
Inquire and search, seek and find;
    when you get hold of her, do not let her go.
Thus at last you will find rest in her,
    and she will become your joy.

Her fetters will be a place of strength;
    her snare, a robe of spun gold.
Her yoke will be a gold ornament;
    her bonds, a purple cord.

You will wear her as a robe of glory,
    and bear her as a splendid crown.

To encounter true wisdom, we must allow ourselves to rest in God . . . and we will discover that the yoke we thought a burden has become a source of joy.

If you wish, my son, you can be wise;
    if you apply yourself, you can be shrewd.
If you are willing to listen, you can learn;
    if you pay attention, you can be instructed.

Stand in the company of the elders;
    stay close to whoever is wise.
Be eager to hear every discourse;
    let no insightful saying escape you.
If you see the intelligent, seek them out;

    let your feet wear away their doorsteps!

Reflect on the law of the Most High,
    and let God’s commandments be your constant study.
Then God will enlighten your mind,
    and make you wise as you desire.

To encounter true wisdom, we must allow ourselves to rest in God . . . and this will fill us with such great joy that we will be moved to share it with others.

Choose another chapter from the Book of Sirach, compare the verses in different Bible versions, and allow God’s wisdom and joy to fill you in this time of Advent waiting.


Image from: http://www.gopixpic.com/500/finding-rest-in-god-%F0%9F%99%87-godismystrength-psalm-/http:%7C%7C24*media*tumblr*com%7Ctumblr_ma951dNwK51qaxjifo1_500*jpg/

For more information about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

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Balancing stones

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Isaiah 1

Joy and Balance

In the first chapter of Isaiah’s prophecy we read all that we need to know about who we are, how we are to act, and how we are likely to act as we journey through life. Here Daughter Zion is described in her wanton lust to do all as she wishes. We know women like this. The strong man sees his work become a spark and there is nothing to quench the destruction. We know men like this. Isaiah speaks to the corruption of his time and he speaks to us, bringing a warning that we must maintain balance in our lives.

It is easy to think that the first chapter of this prophecy we hear so much during Advent that refers only to overt lust, greed or pride. With a bit of energy and openness, we can also think of the subtle ways we allow our own little corruptions to ease into our lives – we succumb to old fears when we have been assured that all is well, we stir up old dramas when these dramas have been resolved, we sulk over losses, we rekindle old gossip that puts others in chains, and we refuse to move forward into the new paths of our new life.

Moderation is the hallmark of the developed soul. Just enough prayer balanced with just enough action. Just enough sleep balanced with just enough work. Just enough companionship balanced with just enough solitude. Just enough joy balanced with just enough prudence. And an abundance of love balanced with just enough caution. 

We hope to remain on the narrow path that leads through the narrow gate of life yet we know we will slip. Fortunately, God has more than enough patience, wisdom and forgiveness for all. The size of our error does not matter. The intensity of our fall is not measured. All that God wants is our recognition of who we are, and our desire to be what God calls us to be. All that God wants is our love. 

On this Advent Eve, when we are asked the question: What has Christ done for you? Let us answer: He gave up all for me. And when we are asked: Why did Christ do this for you?  Let us reply: Because I am well loved by Christ. And when we are asked: What do you do for Jesus? Let us sing out with just enough courage, just enough patience, and just enough reality: I will love Christ with my whole heart, my whole mind, my whole body and my whole soul. I will do all for him. 


Adapted from a reflection written on Easter Sunday, April 24, 2011.

Image from: https://leadingwithtrust.com/2018/02/18/forget-work-life-balance-and-focus-on-these-5-things-instead/

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joySunday, October 24, 2021

Deuteronomy 16

Joy and Feasts

From time to time we will visit scripture to look for stories about joy that will surprise us in a number of ways. If you wish to explore other stories in which joy astonishes us, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter the word Joy in the blog search bar. You may also want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com to see how joy surprises you there. Today our story is from the Book of Deuteronomy.

God of forgiveness, God of love, you teach us to celebrate with you; and yet, we forget your teaching.

God of hope, God of faith, you instill us with a model of your love; and yet, we put aside your inspiration.

God of promise, God of hope, you ask us to reverence you; and yet, we overlook your many miracles that grace our lives.

God of mercy, God of wisdom, you inspire us to worship you; and yet, we create vast deserts of days without thanking you.

God of feasts, God of joy, you offer us your merciful justice; and yet we hoard your compassion and neglect to share this gift so lovingly given by you.

Deuteronomy 16:15: Seven days you shall celebrate a feast to the Lord your God in the place which the Lord chooses, because the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful.

Let us remember to thank God for the gift of our health, our gifts, our hearth, our goods, our home, family and friends by sharing joy gladly, by celebrating freely, and by thanking God often for the great gift of Feasts.


To read about the feasts of Passover, Weeks and Booths, read Deuteronomy 16. Also visit: http://biblehub.com/dictionary/p/passover.htm, http://biblehub.com/dictionary/w/weeks.htm and http://biblehub.com/dictionary/b/booths.htm 

To learn about the importance of Feasts in the Old and New Testaments, click on the image of Solomon’s Jerusalem below, or visit: http://www.keyway.ca/htm2012/20121001.htm 

solomon's jerusalemFor more about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/ 

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Sunday, October 10, 2021

Jeremiah 23:1-4

promisesThe Messiah Promise

We become so occupied with news of the day and the obstacles we see in our lives that we struggle to find a half hour to be still with God. Sometimes we look for little pockets of silence in the tumult of schedules and appointments. When we arrive at the end of our day, we may sleep more easily if we set time aside to commune with the Lord. The book of Jeremiah still lies open before us. If we turn to Chapter 23 we see the gift of promise almost hidden in this prophecy of doom; we find hope in the darkest of places. Destructive pastors and restorative pastors. Which are we?

Each of us is called as “pastors over God’s sheep that they shall feed them,” and to the extent that we are able, we hope to shepherd those placed in our care with integrity, authenticity, truth, wisdom, fidelity, mercy and compassion. As much as we are able, we are likewise called to bring comfort to the troubled stranger, to offer peace to the enemy, to bring God’s presence everywhere we go and to all whom we meet.

In this way, may we all move toward forward in restoration in Christ. In this way . . . we become an integral part of the Messiah promise.

Enter the word promise into the blog search bar and explore ways in which we might bring hope to our troubled world.


Adapted from a reflection written on May 4, 2007.

Image from: http://ilifejourney.wordpress.com/2011/11/20/promise-vs-promise/

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Friday, October 8, 2021

colossians worthyColossians 1:9-12

Worthiness

We have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please God in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to God’s glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and[ patience; joyously giving thanks to the Creator, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.

It is a simple task to search a Bible Concordance to look for the verses that reference the quality of worth. Both Old and New Testaments give us insight; the letters of Paul alone serve as a springboard for understanding. We might search dictionaries or leaf through entries in a thesaurus to arrive at a better appreciation of what it means to be worthy of God; multiple connotations referencing financial, personal and social worth give us a great deal to ponder.

As we go through our busy days to rest weary heads on tired pillows, we may often wonder about the concept of worth. If we are stressed in our workplace or neighborhood we may feel undervalued or over-used. If we struggle with family difficulty we might speculate about the worth of demanding relationships. In all of this tussling and turmoil there is one sacred place in which we can find rest . . . and St. Paul reminds us of this today.

We have not ceased to pray for you . . . and so we pray for one another.

Be filled with the knowledge of God’s will . . . and so we rest in the knowledge that God sees and understands all that we experience.

Spiritual wisdom and understanding . . . and so we spend time each day asking God for guidance and protection.

Bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God . . . and so we witness to the Gospel and look for clarity.

Strengthened with all power . . . and so we look to God for courage.

Attaining steadfastness and patience . . . and so we ask for fidelity and wisdom.

Joyously giving thanks to the Creator . . . and so we thank God for the love placed in us.

We who share in the inheritance of the saints in light . . . and so we thank God for the worthiness engendered in us.


Use the scripture link above to compare various versions of these verses, and ponder the value of worthiness

Image from: http://gracechurchin.org/sermon/colossians-47-18/

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hard-heartFriday, August 6, 2021

Jeremiah 17:1-11

Obstinacy

Jeremiah speaks so much about the human heart, that place where God speaks, that place where God writes, that place that chooses to respond to the Call we know we hear. Today’s reading is about the stony heart, the hard heart that accompanies the stiff neck, the heart that turns away from Wisdom and so becomes cold and lifeless.

Jeremiah predicts that God will write a new covenant (31:31), a new message on our hearts of stone.  Just as the Israelites turned back to God after having worshiped false gods, so will we once we hear the message of the voice that speaks in that inner place – the only place we trust.

Jeremiah also tells us that the Lord has in mind wonderful plans for us, plans for our joy rather than tears, plans for a newness of heart (29:11).

What is it that hardens hearts and stiffens necks?  The writers of the MAGNIFICAT Mini-Reflection tell us that it is pride when we believe that we have all of the answers to all the world’s problems when in truth we have none.  The true answers to the deepest of mysteries are opened to us by Wisdom that comes to us when we trust only in God.

Pride sets subtle snares.  Whenever we imagine that we are in control of life – our own or someone else’s – we have fallen prey to the ancient whisper in the Garden: “You shall be like Gods”.  Mortality is the enduring reminder that we become like God not by our own power but by the power of the cross.  (Cameron 270-271)

We constantly forget that we are already divine. We repeatedly succumb to the subtle call of pride. We regularly forget that we learn best when we fail. Obstinacy in our own plans brings pain. Perseverance and faithfulness are gifts of the Spirit.  Pride in our possessions and accomplishments brings disappointment. Obedience and patience are joy. Hardness of heart brings narrowness. Softness of heart opens the mind, body and spirit. Once we agree to kneel in order to crawl though the Eye of the Needle, we will know Christ’s healing power. The power he gained through his own refusal to succumb to the siren call of pride. The life he gives when we put aside all obstinacy.


Adapted from a reflection written on August 19, 2008.

Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Morning.” MAGNIFICAT. 19.8 (2012): 270-271. Print. 

Image from: https://therock.life/

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