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Wisdom: The Gift Supreme

by Matthew Meehan

THE GIFT OF WISDOM IS ABOVE ALL THE OTHER gifts and directs them all. It is the gift supreme! It is the first gift mentioned by Isaiah: "There shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root. And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him: the spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit of counsel and fortitude, the spirit of knowledge and piety. And he shall be filled with the fear of the Lord." Isaiah 11:1-3

It is natural that in this gift of Wisdom, as in all the others, that there should be degrees. The first degree makes us cling to God, which gives us a right judgment, a supernatural rectitude, for judging divine things. In the second degree of Wisdom, we feel a special delight in divine things, which St. Paul and the Church repeat during the Paschal season: "If you have risen with Christ, mind the things that are above, and not the things that are on earth." Colossians, 3:1-2

St. Thomas Aquinas has an interesting observation: "It is better to know than to love things inferior to us. With respect to God, it is better to love Him than to know Him; for knowledge causes things to come to us, and to adapt themselves to our manner of being; but love, which is charity, makes us go out of ourselves and throw ourselves upon the beloved object.

"St. Thomas was so close to God in his Wisdom and his teaching. St. Thomas knew the answer well why he was on earth—"to know and love and serve God here on earth"—as he wrote his last letter before receiving Holy Viaticum as he died at the age of 50, after writing his famous Summa Theologica:

"I am receiving You, O price of my soul's redemption. All my studies, my vigils and my labors were for love of You. I have taught much and written much of the Most Sacred Body of Jesus Christ. I have taught and written in the Faith of Christ, and of the Holy Roman Church, in whose judgment I offer and submit everything." He used his Gift of Wisdom well, as we pray to do the same, as we come closer and closer to God.

You have the precious Gift of Wisdom the very moment the priest baptizes you with holy water as a little baby. What does that mean? It means as you grow up, you come to know your good God more and more from that first question:

'Why are you here on earth?"

"To know and love God here on earth and to be happy with Him forever after in Heaven." That is a wise question and a wise answer, for you, for me and for all of us. The question is: Do we live that way? Do we live wisely? Some do, some don't live wisely with God.

Be always like David's son, King Solomon—the wisest of men, who lived God's way when he was young and simply asked God for the gift of discernment— "to discern between good and evil." The Lord said: "Because thou has asked for thyself wisdom to discern judgment, I give you a wise and understanding heart, so no one will be like thee, before or after." 3 Kings 3:8-14.

And yet we know how Solomon lost the wisdom of God as he grew older and committed adultery and idolatry: "And when he was now old, his heart was turned away from God by women, to follow strange gods. His heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father." 3 Kings 11:3-8.

Sad, sad moment for King Solomon when he gave up the Gift of Wisdom for the foolishness of men. God's way is always best. God gives us right judgement. Use it and be wise in the ways of God through the Gift of Wisdom we received at our Baptism.

...from SFSpirit archives: ©1997 The Canadian Messenger of the Sacred Heart. Used with permission.