So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Wisdom for Daily Living from the Book of Proverbs: the value of wisdom and the fear of the Lord.

The Value of Wisdom. Proverbs 2:1-15 

My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you cry out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and preserving the way of his saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; discretion will watch over you; understanding will guard you; delivering you from the way of evil, from men of perverted speech, who forsake the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness, who rejoice in doing evil and delight in the perverseness of evil; men whose paths are crooked, and who are devious in their ways.

A Brief Catechism On Wisdom

1. Where do we learn wisdom?
We learn wisdom in and through Holy Mother Church, especially in and through the Mass wherein we encounter the word of God, and by embracing the teachings of the Doctors of the Church and the wisdom of the saints. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is a profoundly rich source of wisdom.
2. How do we prepare our minds to receive wisdom and attain knowledge?
We prepare our minds by first considering that we do not know all there is to know: Scio me nihil scire. I know that I know nothing [cf. Socratic Paradox]. 
We do not see as God sees or know as God knows. God, however, can grant man a share in His wisdom and thus man's faculties, aided by grace, attain to a higher (or deeper) level of reason and a more profound grasp of reality.
Proverbs 1:7
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 9:10
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
['Fear of the Lord' is an expression that is not readily accepted nowadays. Whenever the phrase comes up during the Liturgy of the Word, homiletic explanations seeking to soften the text really do a disservice to the potential of man to humble himself before God in order to receive God's life, love and true joy. The common retort to the phrase is that a religion of fear is no religion at all. There's truth in that statement, but it is a misplaced modifier of the phrase in question. 'Fear of the Lord' is a gift of the Holy Spirit. SEE FOOTNOTE.]
We prepare our minds by listening to God in prayer, meditating on Holy Scripture and on the writings of orthodox authors, especially the Doctors of the Church, and examining our consciences for ways to improve humility and deference to legitimate authority in the Church. It helps to remember that our agenda is no agenda if not the agenda of Jesus Christ and His Church.
3. What kinds of devotional practices aid us in recovering and maintaining a sense of humility and a need for ongoing discernment?
The Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office, the Breviary) and The Holy Rosary, also known as Our Lady’s Psalter, offer us sublime avenues into the word of God. The Rosary has us meditating on scenes from the life of Jesus and Mary so that we may enter into the Gospel and more fully embrace the life Christ offers us.
Confraternity of the Holy Rosary: click here.
Catholic Education Resource Centre: Gifts of the Holy Spirit/Fear of the Lord
The fear of the Lord: gift of the Holy Spirit. This gift enables a person “to avoid sin and attachment to created things out of reverence and love of God.” Primarily, this gift entails a profound respect for the majesty of God who is the supreme being. Here, a person realizes his “creatureliness” and dependency upon God, has a true “poverty of spirit,” and never would want to be separated from God, who is love. As such, this gift arouses in the soul a vibrant sense of adoration and reverence for God and a sense of horror and sorrow for sin.
This gift of fear of the Lord is sometimes misunderstood because of the word “fear.” “Fear of the Lord” is not a servile fear whereby a person serves God simply because he fears punishment, whether some sort of temporal punishment in this life or the eternal punishment of hell. A genuine relationship with God is based on love, not fear. Therefore, this “fear of the Lord” is a filial or reverential fear that moves a person to do God’s will and avoid sin because of love for God, who is all good and deserving of all of our love.—Fr. William Saunders.

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"A multitude of wise men is the salvation of the world(.)—Wisdom 6:24. Readers are welcome to make rational and responsible comments. Any comment that 1) offends human dignity and/or 2) which constitutes an irrational attack on the Catholic Faith will not go unchallenged. If deemed completely stupid, such a comment will most assuredly not see the light of day. Them's the rules. Don't like 'em? Move on.

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