O Wisdom O Antiphon Reflection 2011

 Today is the first of the O Antiphons - (See previous post on these here)



O Wisdom, O Holy Word of God, 
you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care. 
Come and show your people the way to salvation.
Artist Ansgar Holmberg, CSJ, has paintings of the whole series on the O Antiphons here

your kingdom from jonny baker on Vimeo.


 Temple of Apollo in DelphiImage via WikipediNorthwest from Athens, on the road to Corinth, beside the slopes of Mount Parnasus are the ruins of a once great city, Delphi.
It was thought by the Greeks to be the centre of the world. Here, in the 6th century B.C., the Oracle in the Temple of Apollo, was called on to dispense wisdom and to give answers to some of the pressing questions of the day. 




 Русский: Развалины храма Аполлона в г.Дельфы, ...Image via Wikipedia
At the entry porch, are inscriptions in Greek characters. One set of characters stand for Gnothi Seauthon which translated into English means “Know yourself”. 
Socrates would probably have read these; the same Socrates who said: “The unexamined life is not worth living."



But, the Oracle of the classical world was silent before the age old profound questions like Who am I? Why am I here? What should I be doing? and Where am I going?


From the beginning of time mankind has been trying to make sense of itself and the world. The search to understand has preoccupied us for centuries and I wonder sometimes if we any closer to getting the understanding we seek. 

We don't seem to have been able to have improved our decision making on big issues of social justice and environmental stewardship nor have we been able to conquer the darker sides our own nature. 

My own efforts to seek wisdom to guide my daily life in the small and the bigger decisions and actions are often faltering and full of the same mistakes made over and over again. 
Sometimes in the darkest days even the thought of making a small effort can seem futile.

With all the great minds and thinking that have gone before us, with all the lessons of history left for us to examine, it is difficult to imagine why we aren't further along than we are. In spite of all the knowledge we have we are none the wiser.

We are still asking the same questions in our search for meaning, that the Greeks were asking 2600 years ago.
We are overloaded and hit with information at every turn; at work, at home, as we try to relax and at all points in between but information and knowledge does not make many answers or decisions clearer.


What are we doing with this information? History tells us that we haven't learned much in spite of all we know. Situations may change, but the problems remain the same.

T.S. Eliot in his poem The Rock, posed the question: "Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?" 

While philosophical wisdom is an abstraction, God’s wisdom in Christ is particular, historical, and counterintuitive to human reason.
It involves the incarnation of God’s Son, his death on the cross, the triumph of the resurrection, the sending of his Spirit, and the promise of a glorious re-creation of the world.
It is an invitation to people everywhere to know and enjoy the triune God of Scripture in all this particularity. This is an offense to the wisdom of human philosophy .
–Daniel Ebert, Wisdom Christology.


The Great Mystery of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ by Dorothy Day.



"The great mystery of the Incarnation," Dorothy Day said as she spoke about the inspiration for the daily life of those in the Catholic Worker movement, " meant that God became man that man might become God, was a joy that made us want to kiss the earth in worship, because His feet once trod that same earth.

It was a mystery that we as Catholics accepted, but there were also the facts of Christ's life, that He was born in a stable, that He did not come to be a temporal King, that He worked with His hands, spent the first years of His life in exile, and the rest of His early manhood in a crude carpenter shop in Nazareth. 

He trod the roads in His public life and the first men He called were fishermen, small owners of boats and nets. He was familiar with the migrant worker and the proletariat, and some of His parables dealt with them. He spoke of the living wage, not equal pay for equal work, in the parable of those who came at the first and the eleventh hour. 


"He died between two thieves because He would not be made an earthly King. He lived in an occupied country for thirty years without starting an underground movement or trying to get out from under a foreign power. 

His teaching transcended all the wisdom of the scribes and pharisees, and taught us the most effective means of living in this world while preparing for the next. 

And He directed His sublime words to the poorest of the poor, to the people who thronged the towns and followed after John the Baptist, who hung around, sick and poverty-stricken at the doors of rich men." 

( The Long Loneliness, pp. 204-205).
Houston Catholic Worker, Vol. XXIX, No. 6, November-December 2009.

I recommend Brother Dan's reflections here today at Dating God on the first of the O Antiphons: Wisdom that ask me to reflect deeply on the Wisdom of God shown in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ; a wisdom that is nothing like the wisdom of our present world ......


I also am re-posting this below from last years Advent :-  Oscar Romero's prophetic words that embody the Wisdom the world still needs to hear today, just as much as when he first spoke them.

God comes, and his ways are near to us.
God saves in history.


Each person’s life, each one’s history,
is the meeting place to which God comes.


How satisfying to know one need not go to the desert
to meet him,
need not go to some particular spot in the world.


God is in your own heart.

Who will put a prophet’s eloquence into my words
to shake from their inertia
all those who kneel before the riches of the earth –
who would like gold, money, lands, power, political life
to be their everlasting gods?


All that is going to end.

There will remain only the satisfaction of having been,
in regard to money or political life,
a person faithful to God’s will.


One must learn to manage the relative and transitory
things of earth according to his will,
not make them absolutes.


There is only one absolute: he who awaits us
in the heaven that will not pass away.


Oscar Romero, 10 December, 1978


Father Austin's prayer at A Concord Pastor Comments today is one that asks for perseverance: it is a great one for today and beyond. Extract below...
"In the dark of night, Lord, give me perseverance...
In the dead of winter, Lord, give me perseverance...
In the heat of the day, Lord, give me perseverance...
On the uphill side, Lord, give me perseverance...
When the odds are against me, Lord, give me perseverance...
When others have abandoned me, Lord, give me perseverance...
When I do not know the way, Lord, give me perseverance...
When I cannot find your face, Lord, give me perseverance...
When my burdens seem too great, Lord, give me perseverance...
When I suffer for your name, Lord, give me perseverance...
When I hunger for your word, Lord, give me perseverance...
When I thirst for your joy, Lord, give me perseverance...
When my hope unravels, Lord, give me perseverance...
When I want to give up, Lord, give me perseverance... 
When my faith wears thin, Lord, give me perseverance...
When one more step seems too much, Lord, give me perseverance...

Send your Spirit, Lord, to strengthen our hearts,
to give us new purpose, to fire up our fidelity,
to light our path, to show us the way, and,
to give us perseverance, Lord...

Come, Lord Jesus, come!
Amen."

In this last week of Advent I pray for perseverance and also for the whole world.
May we all be taken closer to the place in our hearts, where we can find out for ourselves who we truly are beyond words, beyond the limits of our thoughts, right into the sacred beating heart of the wisdom of God incarnate.
Let me truly believe that everything really is and still can be different through You.
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