Lectio Divina On ( Wisdom 9 : 13 – 19 )   Leave a comment

Introduction

This series is my Lectio Divina, or Divine Reading series, in this series I am going to present to you the reader my experiences with applying Lectio Divina to certain scripture excerpts. Lectio Divina is called Divine Reading for a reason; for it is more contemplative then the typical and casual reading that most people do in a busy day. Divine Reading is meant to speak to your whole being rather than solely the intellectual part of your being. Certain excerpts are large, so they were broken up into smaller pieces to respect the key contemplative aspect of this ancient practice; these are the notes which I made in light of each Lectio Divina reading. I used the Orthodox Study Bible for Reading and for its commentary on scriptural entries in order to begin the first and move into the second part of the process.

According to The Orthodox Study Bible the Commentary reads for this section, “Through the death and resurrection of Christ, He made the corruptible body immortal (e.g. Transfigured). We see also the Presence of the Holy Trinity at work here: God The Father is seen in ‘your give wisdom’ God The Son is that ‘Wisdom’ and God the Holy Spirit is the one ‘Sent for our correction.’”

Wisdom 9:13

“For who among men is he that can know the counsel of God? Or who can think what the will of God is?”

Upon reading this I reflected for a moment on the questions that Solomon posses and my answer was that, we cannot know anything unless God reveals it to us for we would otherwise be so distracted by things below. God’s counsel is a mystery to us, it always was and it always seemed to evade us, but again not because it avoided us but rather because we avoided it, for Wisdom is learned in difficulty, but how often do we when we encounter difficulty would find it better to runaway and numb the pain? Likewise, since God is mysterious and since we avoid the opportunities to learn we could scarcely guess what God would will. However, there is hope for us, it become clear that the only way to learn is through Humility and Fortitude, this cultivates within us a sense of Receptivity, we are most Receptive when there is Silence, and we enter into The Cloud of Unknowing with those virtues set strongly on receiving The Theological Virtues of Trust, Hope, and Love.

However in light of these questions a new question emerges, can we not know anything without God’s Help? Well yes and no, No in the sense that God is Continually Creating if He stopped then all things would cease to be and there would be no way of knowing. However, we can know things without God telling us what the answer is, I recall a quote from Galileo who said that, “The Holy Spirit intend to teach us how one goes to heaven, not how the heavens go.” For this I think it would be good to look at the relation between Revelation, Faith, Reason through the Works of St. Thomas Aquinas.

According to St. Thomas, there is Pure Theology that is knowing God based on what God has revealed, then there is Natural Theology which is “knowing that God is” through our own rational minds, then there is Philosophy which goes about dealing with a variety of issues in human thought through our own rational powers, and there is Science which is the study of Cosmos based on The Scientific Method and Empirical information. To St. Thomas Aquinas these things do not conflict, he thought that all of creation — natural and supernatural — and all truth, revealed or rational, emanated from God. The two sources of knowledge, reason and revelation, do not conflict: Revelation does not conflict with reason.

Wisdom 9:14-16

“For the thoughts of mortal men are fearful, and our counsels uncertain. For the corruptible body is a load upon the soul, and the earthly habitation presses down the mind that muses upon many things. And hardly do we guess aright at things that are upon earth: and with labor do we find the things that are before us. But the things that are in heaven, who shall search out?”

Going further upon this reading I could only think that of an existential truth in our fallen state that we reason based on Fear, and since Intention is the basis of our action, Fear is a weak basis to act on.

During the reading I had a strong impulse to believe that, In the end everything ultimately comes down to the Fear of Death, our actions in the fallen state seem guided by it. We destroy the natural order of things because of this fear, take for example the inordinate desire to amass great amounts of money for the sake of procuring material things, also called Greed, but Greed is rooted in the Fear of Death, we want to have a lot of things before we die.

Take for another example, the inordinate desire for sexual release, whether it’s a panic in our social and reproductive life or the sole enjoyment of the orgasm alone, we want to maximize pleasure before we die, because we Fear Death. One can go on and on but another root cause to our sinfulness is our own Pride, which is a sin in itself, for Pride and the Fear of Death are seemingly like an unholy union the 2 are complete in each other and from these 2 all our evils seem to flow, consider “I Am Afraid To Die” Pride is most present in this, for the Prideful fears being annihilated, destroyed, or give up something that it held on to and became so identified with, and this is true literally or metaphorically in one’s life. One could argue of course that The Fear of Death could be equated with The Fear of the Unknown as well, because we cannot have certainty until we reach that point. However, for someone who follows the Wisdom of God throughout Life they will begin to understand how they will gain Eternal Life.

So since we reason on Fear, we reason on uncertainty and from a position that is not as life-affirming as we ironically say we are. So our intention becomes fearful our actions only manifest Fear and Pride. Now is this true in the absolute sense? That everything we do is purely a manifestation of Our Pride and Our Fear, I would say no its more like an admixture of varying degrees of intensity based upon how much of God’s Grace we’ve accepted into our Hearts, The Circumstances we find ourselves in, and The Actions we’ve already done. In this case then, the Grace that Breaks through comes by way of a spontaneous manifestation of Courage, and since all the Virtues are grounded in Love and Humility then our actions are not purely or absolutely Fear-based and Pride-based.

In doing this reading I also felt a somewhat more Platonic (corruptible body burdening the soul) impression from King Solomon. But being that this individual is of Jewish Heritage he would know that Platonic outlook of the world is not the correct view of the world. By corruptible body, I would argue that he does not mean the actual physical body but rather The Passions that surround us and try to engulf us, in light of our Fallen Nature. This Platonic problem is solved however through The Cross of Christ for it alone can unburden the Heart of these distracting thoughts that surround the corruptible body, for The Cross of Christ allows one to fight the Spiritual War against The Passions and the Unrighteous Way of Life, largely through The Theological Virtues but also through the Virtues of Humility, Chastity, Poverty, and Obedience unto God, because through these Virtues does God’s Grace get all the more amplified in our life.

Finally, to conclude the St. Thomas Aquinas discussion from above it looks like there is a scriptural basis that Aquinas is correct when even King Solomon himself says that, we understand things by ourselves but only in part. This then lends itself to say that, Science and Philosophy really only make the most sense when it has been enlightened by Theology. Contrary to what “Enlightenment Era” believers say, that Science and Philosophy can give or take credibility to what Theology speaks of. Through understanding how the World is Ordered can one make sense and live in conformity to what insights and discoveries are made, but to know How Creation is Ordered requires us to know the one who Ordered it, and that requires that the Ordering Principle, namely The Logos reveals itself to us, as it did through Jesus Christ.

Wisdom 9:17-19

“And who shall know your thought, unless you give wisdom, and send your Holy Spirit from above: And so the ways of them that are upon earth may be corrected, and men may learn the things that please you? For by wisdom they were healed, whosoever have pleased you, O Lord, from the beginning.”

While I was reading this thought of what Jesus says to His Disciples came to mind namely that He said, “Many are called but few are chosen.” Through this Wisdom concludes its teaching God seeks to give wisdom to all, but some in being called will inevitably accept His Wisdom which the world knows not. He makes it even clearer when He says at the Last Supper, “I choose you; you didn’t choose me.” Affirming the point once again that, those who are chosen are made Holy by Wisdom and God’s Transformative Grace, but anyone Chosen by Christ will suffer because Transformation entails suffering and correction, so if you wish to be chosen by God, Humble yourself, make yourself an acceptable sacrifice unto God, for the Road is difficult but well worth it. We are saved by Wisdom who is Christ both in the embodied form and transfigured form, we are no longer confused about where we should go, we go down the Path of Christ and Head toward Christ until the day we draw our last breath and see Him face to face in the Glorious City of God.

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