In today's first reading from 1 Kings 3, we meet Solomon. God told Solomon that he could ask for anything he wanted and he would be given it. Instead of asking for riches or fame or power, Solomon asked for "an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong." He asked for Wisdom.
Wisdom is one of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. In my latest book, A Minute in the Church: Back to the Basics, I have a chapter on each of these gifts, including Wisdom. I share it with you now.
Some people are very smart, but not very wise. That’s because wisdom and “smarts” are two different things. Being smart has to do with knowledge of the things of the world. But the gift of Wisdom reaches beyond the temporal to the eternal. It is seeing through the eyes of or being more in tune with the mind of God. St. Augustine said that “Wisdom is the knowledge of Divine things.” It helps us order our thoughts and actions according to divine truths.
So Wisdom is not necessarily reliant on the intellect. One can have great knowledge, but not possess Wisdom. Conversely, one can be very wise but lack formal education. And while Wisdom is a gift of the Holy Spirit, it can also grow in one’s life. As an old saying goes, “With age comes wisdom.”
In the Old Testament, we have the Book of Wisdom. In this book, Wisdom is referred to as a person, with the feminine personal pronouns “she” and “her.” This book helps us understand what Wisdom is and how important it is to pray for a greater outpouring of this gift.
“For in her is a spirit intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, agile, clear, unstained, certain, not baneful, 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. And she, who is one, can do all things, and renews everything while herself perduring; and passing into holy souls from age to age, she produces friends of God and prophets.” (Wisdom 7:22-23, 27)
Father, give us Wisdom and help us grow in this gift daily, through the imposition of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Amen.
Learn more about the other Gifts of the Holy Spirit and so much more with A Minute in the Church: Back to the Basics, available at www.GusLloyd.com.
My grandmother went to the 6:00 AM Mass every day and possibly had her whole prayer book memorized. She had one prayer hanging in her kitchen:
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
When I asked her why she kept it there, she explained that it was because the last part is the key – the wisdom to know which of the first two (acceptance or change) we are supposed to do.