WISDOM AND PURITY
November 10, 2011
Today’s reading: Wisdom 7:22-8:1
What is considered “an aura of the might of God” and “the refulgence of eternal light” (Wis 7:25a,26a)? What has been described thus: “For to men she is an unfailing treasure; those who gain this treasure win the friendship of God” (Wis 7:14a)? She is wisdom. Wisdom intimately connects us with God. Wisdom in us reflects the might and light of God.
What is wisdom? It is knowing how to act according to the ways of God. Wisdom enables us to make decisions according to the mind of God.
Wisdom is a spiritual gift. There are basically two types of spiritual gifts: sanctifying gifts and charismatic gifts. Sanctifying gifts are intended to help a Christian grow in personal sanctification. Charismatic gifts are intended to help a Christian do effective service as part of the body of Christ. The former have to do with the internal dimension of our faith, and the latter with the external dimension. The former relate to the call to holiness, the latter to the call to service. Wisdom is both a sanctifying gift (Is 11:2) and a charismatic gift (1 Cor 12:8a).
Now wisdom is “a pure effusion of the glory of the Almighty” and is “the spotless mirror of the power of God” (Wis 7:25b,26b). Wisdom is pure and spotless! Further, “nought that is sullied enters into her” and “wickedness prevails not over Wisdom” (Wis 7:25c,30b). Wisdom is not compatible with anything that is sullied or wicked. Wisdom is “holy, …. unstained ….” (Wis 7:22). Wisdom “penetrates and pervades all things by reason of her purity.” (Wis 7:24b). Wisdom is pure.
To be wise is to live pure. To live pure is to have wisdom.
What does wisdom teach us, such that we can live pure? Wisdom “teaches moderation and prudence, justice and fortitude” (Wis 8:7b). These virtues are crucial for us to live pure.
* Moderation. We can enjoy the good things the world offers, but always in moderation—from eating to spending to doing pleasurable activities. Acting in excess results in gluttony, materialism/consumerism, hedonism, and thus leads to impurity.
* Prudence. We are to watch our speech, our dress, our use of time, our stewardship of finances, our actions—all to ensure conformity with God’s standards. We are prudent but not prudish.
* Justice. We are to give to all what is their due—worship to God, respect to our fellowmen, an equitable share of the world’s goods to the poor.
* Fortitude. We are to have the strength of character and the integrity to stand for what is right and just and true. We proclaim and live Christ.
So we see that to live pure touches on every aspect of our lives. It is to know what is God’s way (to have wisdom) and to act accordingly.
Now Wisdom passes “into holy souls from age to age, she produces friends of God and prophets.” (Wis 7:27b). With wisdom we are able to live pure. In living pure we become friends of God, who is holy, and we become prophets who speak in the name of a pure God.
Ultimately, to live pure, living in wisdom, is to be like Christ, for Christ is “the wisdom of God.” (1 Cor 1:24). To have the wisdom of God is to be like Christ, and to be like Christ is to live pure.
“For there is nought God loves,
be it not one who dwells with Wisdom.”