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Posts Tagged ‘wisdom’


James 1:2-3: The Value of Obstacles – Brightly coloured council road signs and equipmentTuesday, September 27, 2015

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.

James opens his letter with advice that will catch anyone’s interest. In our modern cultures we do not consider trials as gifts to be examined; we too frequently dismiss or even ignore tribulations as inconveniences to be shunted into the darkness. We too rarely consider obstacles as doors of opportunity or growth; yet this is James’ invitation.

You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.

Perhaps this is why we pray for smooth days and comfortable nights. We do not believe that we are up to the test. Or we do not see ourselves learning good lessons from hard times. We are uncomfortable with being vulnerable and we fear having to rely on family, friends, neighbors or even strangers.

So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely.

James asks us to suppress our natural tendency to avoid uncomfortable circumstances; we infer from his words that we might gain more from a constrained environment than from easy comfortable surroundings. Rather than skitter around stressful situations or difficult people, James begins, we might allow ourselves to grow in fortitude and wisdom if we rely on God’s guidance when we must maneuver hard times.

Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

Certainly we do not want to look for stress in our lives; the world presents us with enough disquiet to fill our days. Clearly we do not want to be the cause of conflict in our personal and professional lives. Yet just as certainly and clearly we understand that once we open ourselves to the guidance of God’s hand when we navigate straitened days, we will remember our success in dark times and recognize a certain confidence growing within.

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.
blocksWe live in a world that values power, fame and wealth. We humans tend to look at one person’s loss as being another’s gain; yet when we live an inverted life with Christ where loss is gain and gain is loss, we begin to better understand James’ lesson. Stumbling blocks become building blocks. Trials become jubilation. When sorrow and pain are traversed in God’s grace we begin to experience the joy of perseverance. When we live by God’s measure rather than our own, and when we allow God to guide us through the road blocks of our lives, we finally learn the value and joy of learning new faith and new life as a result of persevering through our obstacles.

Tomorrow, right attitude.


Use the scripture link to examine various versions of these verses to see which most plainly and clearly.

Images from: http://stevesponseller.com/page/2/ and https://www.dadometer.com/types-of-building-blocks-for-toddlers/

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Daniel 1: Wisdom and Prudence

Simon Vouet: Allegory of Prudence

Simon Vouet: Allegory of Prudence

Friday, September 23, 2022

In any question of wisdom or prudence which the king put to them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his kingdom.

Just like the Chaldeans, we marvel at the wisdom and prudence coming from one who lives in God.  These holy ones are able to bring light to darkness, reason to insanity, tranquility to the turbulent spirit. We might do well to imitate those who walk with God.  These four men, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, are more free in their captivity than their captors are in their freedom for what they possess is a pearl of great price. They know that we are all children of God.

From MAGNIFICAT:

You chose the lowly of this world to bring salvation to all nations: grant your people the wisdom to seek your love rather than worldly honor.

You chose the faithful to bring forth the fruit of your promise: strengthen us in fidelity amid the uncertainties of our day.

You chose the unexpected to bring forth the gift of life: grant us freedom of spirit to rejoice in your work in every circumstance.

For those who are enslaved by poverty and oppression: send people of wisdom and generosity to discover ways to set them free.

For those who are enslaved by prejudice and fear: send people of courage and self-forgetfulness to keep them out of the darkness.

For those who are enslaved by addictions, recognized and unrecognized: send people enlightened by their own struggles to guide them along right paths.

If we are in the darkness yet see the light, we must take up Christ as our courage to move into that light, and we must try to bring our sisters and brothers with us. If we rise from our suffering, we must turn to others who suffer to likewise bring them out of the darkness and into God’s marvelous hands.


Image from: http://www.prudencetrue.com/january2010.html

Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Morning.” MAGNIFICAT. 9.9 (2008). Print.  

A reflection from September 9, 2008.

 

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Ezekiel 37: From Dry Bones to Restoration – Part Vlighthouse

Sunday, September 18, 2022

If we cannot believe in restoration after the desert, let us at least begin by asking God to strengthen our gift of faith. Just as a mariner trusts that the lighthouse will guide ships past rocky shores, let us trust the Gospel story of Jesus. The writer of the letter to Hebrews shows us the way. From Hebrews 11.

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

If we do not have confidence, let us ask God for this gift of sureness.

By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.

If we do not have understanding, let us ask God for the gift of wisdom.

hebrews_1xIt was by this faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going.

If we do not have fidelity, let us ask God for the gift of certainty.

And even when Abraham reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith – for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise.

If we do not see or believe in God’s promise in our lives, let us ask God for the gift of hope.

For Abraham was looking for a city with eternal foundations, a city whose architect and builder was God.

If we do not feel or comprehend God’s power in our lives, let us ask God for the gift of fortitude. And let us pray.

Nat geo lighthouse in stormGood and loving God, your fidelity lives in us although we may not perceive it. Being your creatures we are made of love for love; yet we might not believe this. Breathe new life into those who are discouraged or unbelieving. Bring new strength to those who falter. And shower us with your hope and encouragement so that we might come to fully know, and feel and understand that your only wish for us is our restoration in and for you. We ask this in Jesus’ name, in unity with the Holy Spirit.  Amen.  

Tomorrow, laying a foundation for restoration . . . 


Images from: http://walkbyfaithkkw2011.blogspot.com/2012/05/contentment.html and https://www.pinterest.com/totogale/new-testament-hebrews/ 

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Mark 1:3The Voice

John the Baptist

John the Baptist

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

The voice of one crying out in the wilderness is often drowned out by the din of the world that clamors for its own comfort and pleasure. Prophets and martyrs are derided and put aside, punished and even murdered because of their fidelity to the voice that speaks to them in the inmost heart. Those who hear and respond to that voice in the wilderness are more often ridiculed than praised and more often silenced than thanked. This is the struggle we experience daily. How do we sort out the inner messages that tug at us?

Those who refuse to kowtow, who insist on speaking truth, and who ask tough questions also expect justice and mercy to overcome deception and evil. John the Baptist was one of these clear-throated voices that pierced through the cacophony of the moment to burn so brightly that we remember him still today. Most of us do not expect to live in such a momentous way, but our more quiet lives are no less important.

Satan Tempting Jesus

Satan Tempting Jesus

Matthew 4:8-10 is part of the Morning Prayer in MAGNIFICAT today and it tells the story of the conversation between Satan and Jesus at the moment when Christ begins his ministry.  In the meditation today entitled The Heart of True Wisdom, Dom Augustin Guillerand, O. Cart. (a spiritual writer of the last century) tells us that when we hear the voice of darkness whispering in our ear, we will know how to react according to the measure of our love for God. What is difficult here is to know whether the voice we hear speaks from good or from evil. This is our constant struggle; yet we will know that the source is goodness when we hear it calling us to right wrongs against those among us who are the weakest. We will know that the source is darkness when it encourages us to seek self-pleasure and comfort at the expense of the marginalized and forgotten.

hearing god's voiceIn the end, we act according to our understanding of the voice we hear and tend to best; even our most quiet activities are a demonstration of what we believe and what god or gods we worship. So this is perhaps what we must say to ourselves – just as Jesus does: The Lord my God I shall worship.  Him alone will I serve. 

Tomorrow, Jesus and his family. 


Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 16.9 (2009). Print.  

A Favorite from September 16, 2009.

Images from: http://sarahellenbrown.com/tag/john-the-baptist/ and http://www.catholicmannight.com/learn-about-jesus/blog/page/13/ and https://renewingthoughts.wordpress.com/2011/08/02/on-hearing-the-voice-of-god/

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Daniel 5:5-29:


Thursday, August 18, 2022spirit-of-god-breathe-in-me

A Favorite from June 6, 2009.

I have heard that the spirit of God is in you, that you possess brilliant knowledge and extraordinary wisdom . . . I have heard that you can interpret dreams and solve difficulties.

These are the words of the pagan king Belshazzar, the son of Nebuchadnezzar, who recognizes the superiority of Daniel’s wisdom over the sorcery of his court magicians.  He sees that the power of this God of the Jewish nation far outstrips the magic of his astrologers.

Brilliant knowledge . . . extraordinary wisdom capable of solving difficulties and of solving enigmas . . . these are certainly great powers . . . and they are beyond price.  When the king offers to pay Daniel for his gift of interpretation,  Daniel replies: You may keep your gifts, or give your presents to someone else; but the writing I will read for you.  Daniel is the only one present who is capable of reading the famous writing on the wall from verses 5 and 6. Daniel accepts no payment, knowing that he has not invented this wisdom on his own, knowing that God is the bringer of all wisdom.

The king was terrified; his face went ashen, and his lords were thrown into confusion. There are many times when we read our own writing on the wall that foretells cataclysm. There are many times when we are thrown into confusion by the events and people surrounding us. We look for someone in whom the spirit of God rests, someone who has brilliant knowledge and god-like wisdom.

The human Christ dies to release us from our earth cares and our human prison.  The divine in us is thus rescued from oblivion.  If Jesus has not been human . . . if we are not divine . . . the wisdom we seek when we are confused by the world would not come to us.  If we were not co-creators and co-redeemers with Christ as his adopted sisters and brothers, this brilliant knowledge that interprets the mysteries of our lives would not be available to us.

The story of Daniel is a variegated one; it is full of stories that encourage us when we are at our lowest, when we feel our exile, when we fear the lions and the fiery furnace.  Daniel foretells the coming of the Son of Man, the title Jesus takes on as his own.  Daniel suffers calamitous events, yet rises above them on this great tide of God’s wisdom, God’s spirit, God’s love, God’s saving power.

When we are deeply troubled, when we see no way out, when we see the writing on the wall that rises just inches from our faces, it is time to sit with this story.  It is time to welcome in this Spirit of God that can interpret dreams and solve difficulties; and it is time to accept no payment from this world.  It is time to behave as this faithful exile far from home; it is time to turn to God, to pronounce truth, and to listen to the word that hums within.

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2 Corinthians 10: God’s ToolsMicah6_8

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Explore THE MESSAGE version of these verses at the scripture link and compare it to other versions to allow Paul’s message to open in us more fully.

Can we apply Paul’s words to our lives today? Do they describe our world of social media and connectivity?

I hear that I’m being painted as cringing and wishy-washy when I’m with you, but harsh and demanding when at a safe distance writing letters. 

Can we see our world in Paul’s words today? What do we consider to be the tools of our trade and how do we use them?

The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. 

Do Paul’s assertions call us to God or send us away? Do we affirm or deny their truth?

What you say about yourself means nothing in God’s work. It’s what God says about you that makes the difference.

God says: When my servant Paul speaks of an unprincipled world, he does not mean to frighten you into obedience to me. No. He knows that the faithful respond best to love rather than fear. Yet, I understand that his words may seem harsh, strident or bitter to you. I do not hear them this way. No. What I hear is his deep devotion to living life in and through Christ. And I hear his earnest desire that all experience the warm and loving bond with me that he shares. So this is what I ask of you today and all days, and these are the tools I ask you to use. Walk with me humbly and willingly. If you do not want to be by my side, go apart for a while. I am always here when you are ready to be with me. I also that you love others gently and mercifully. It is my hope that you will live in me as I live in you, and that you will show this love to the world. And finally, I ask that you act justly. Rather than simper or berate, intercede for those who need my help. Ask forgiveness, pardon others, and act prudently and compassionately so that my justice will roll from your hands and hearts. Turn away from what you see is corrupt. Use the modern tools you have at your hands, but use my ancient ones as well for all else is meaningless. All else holds empty promise and false hope. All else is useless. Remain in my mercy, enact my justice, and live in my humble love. Become my tools in the world you experience in and around you today. 

Spend time with Micah 6:8. Consider how the prophet’s words are pertinent to our modern world, and consider how we might better become mercy, wisdom, humility, justice and love as we go through our days.


 Image from: http://www.4catholiceducators.com/Micah_6-8-poster.htm

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denarius

The Roman Denarius

Mark 12:13-17: The Mystery of Rendering

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.

These words seem oh so simple . . . and yet they contain such a depth of wisdom that a lifetime of reflection will not uncover all that Jesus wishes to tell us.

God says: When you are perplexed by the world, remember that your confusion comes from believing that there are two worlds you want to reconcile. There is only one world and one life. That world and life are me. Render your confusion to me. You will reap clarity and wisdom. When you are disappointed in the relationships you have forged, remember that no one’s opinion but mine matters. Others who pose and cajole you are speaking only on their own behalf. Truth comes from love and love comes from me. Render your lives to me. You will reap life eternal. When you are hurt and damaged by the hypocrisy around you, remember that integrity is the hallmark of my discipleship. I will deal with the lies and deceptions. Stay away from deceit and it will not ensnare you. Render your fidelity, hope and love to me. You will reap peace and serenity.

Spend time with these verses today. Use the scripture link to compare differing phrases and lexicon. Determine what it is that Jesus is saying when he answers a question with his own question. Decide what it is that Jesus is asking us to give over. And then consider what it is we gain by this rendering.


 Image from http://www.beastcoins.com/RomanImperial/RIC.htm

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Matthew 10:1-15: Our Commission 

Tissot: Exhortation to the Disciples

James Tissot: Exhortation to the Disciples

Seventh Sunday of Easter, May 29, 2022

We are a week away from Pentecost Sunday and so we take time to review our Eastertide Noontimes to consider God’s wisdom in each of us as we look for the answer to these questions: What does Jesus have in mind for us this Eastertide? How does Jesus expect us to bring compassion to the world? And, where will we find the wisdom, courage and strength to do so?

A foundational theme in Jesus’ work and words is the importance of inclusion. We see him interact with women, tax collectors, Pharisees and lost souls. He walks among the clean and unclean alike; he ministers to the deaf and blind as well as the comfortable and well-off. Today and tomorrow we reflect on where and when we might step into the mission God extends to us. Do we move out and away from the community in which we are planted or do we remain and look for new windows of opportunity to enact our commission? As we prepare for our newest assignment in this important work, we do well to remember Jesus’ words.

Go to the lost sheep . . .

Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons . . .

Without cost you have received, without cost you are to give . . .

Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it and stay there . . .

As you enter a house, wish it peace . . .

If the house is worthy l let your peace come upon it . . .

If not, let your peace return to you . . .


Use the scripture link above to search other versions of these verses . . . and allow God to reveal to you the commission he has in mind for your work. Enter the word Pentecost into the blog search bar and explore.

Image from: 

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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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