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Thursday, December 17, 2015

O Wisdom, A Needed Prayer for Our Times

 December 17 marks the beginning of the final part of Advent, the time when we move to the immediate preparation for our celebration of the Lord's birth.  Each day between now and December 24 is marked by the recitation, or even better, the chanting, of one of the O Antiphons.  We find these during the Alleluia verse at Mass as well as at the praying of the Magnificat at Evening Prayer (Vespers).  These Antiphons, composed in the sixth or seventh century beautifully express the world's longing for the coming Messiah.  While I won't be able to write on each of the coming days I find it worthwhile to comment on this first of the O Antiphons.

   O Wisdom, O Holy Word of God, you govern all creation with your strong yet gentle care, Come and show your people the way to salvation.

    Wisdom is a virtue that we all admire, yet I find that it is sorely lacking in today's world.  There are indeed individuals who are imbued with wisdom, but overall it is much needed in our world today.  Our political and social discourse and even many of our religious discussions are in need of wisdom.  Wisdom is different from knowledge and intelligence.  It is the quality of knowing how to use knowledge and intelligence.  Without it we see the tendency to oversimplification.  What passes for political debate in both of our parties is not debate at all.  It is largely the utterance of one-liners and remarks that "show up" the opponent.  With wisdom would come the recognition that problems like fixing the economy, defending against ISIS and other terrorists, gun violence on our streets, immigration reform and a host of other issue, are not solved by quick fix answers.

   Even in Church circles we too easily get polarized into liberal and conservative camps and settle for merely attacking the other side.  Wisdom calls us to pray to find the deeper truth that unites us.

    I use social media and this blog is always posted on Facebook and Twitter, but I must admit that I am often tempted to abandon the social media because it is filled with a lack of Wisdom.  I have indeed at times been guilty of that myself.

   Among the many prayers we might utter between now and Christmas, and well beyond is "Holy Spirit, Fount of Wisdom, fill us with that gift as we strive to meet the challenges presented to us by the world in which we live, and give us leaders in the Church and in society who are imbued with that wonderful gift.

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