February 22, 2017
Wednesday, Week Seven, Year I
O Lord, great peace have they who love your law.
What advantage is there in embracing discipleship? What does “wisdom” give us? Sirach 4:11-19 lists some advantages:
Wisdom “instructs her children and admonishes those who seek her.” Disciples want, and get, input: both general instruction and insight into their own failings. Those who want wisdom “love life,” because they want to grow into more life, into “life to the full.”
Those who seek wisdom “win her [God’s] favor” just by desiring to grow. But to be authentic, desire has to pass into action. And only those who “hold her fast” through perseverance will “inherit glory.” Perseverance is the measure of desire. Still, wherever we are along the way, “the Lord bestows blessings.” He rewards and helps us from the moment we take the road of discipleship.
Discipleship enhances our life, but it is not just self-serving. “Those who serve her [wisdom] serve the Holy One.” We were created “to know, love and serve God.” The first two are included in the third. When we try to grow in knowledge and love we are serving God in addition to ourselves.
Discipleship is not a one-sided effort, It is not just self-improvement. God is involved. “Those who love her [wisdom], the Lord loves.” Reading Scripture is live interaction with God. “In the sacred books the Father who is in heaven meets his children with great love and speaks with them.” God has a special love for those who love truth, and goodness enough to seek to grow in them. He “fills them with life and goodness.” He “blesses them and makes them holy.”
Those who “hearken” to what God tells them will “dwell in the inmost chambers” of God’s heart. Jesus said “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. The fruit of discipleship is union. Ultimately, it is the perfect union of the “spiritual marriage” which St. Teresa of Avila sees as the goal of a prayerful Christian life. But St. Paul preceded her in this!
We need to decide, with faith, what we will put our trust in to lead us to the fullness of life — here as well as hereafter. Sirach says that those who “trust her [wisdom]” to do this “will possess her.” St. Thomas Aquinas defines wisdom as “appreciation for spiritual things,” and the “habit of relating everything to our last end.” It takes wisdom to seek wisdom. We experience it when we consciously, deliberately, deeply decide and choose to become disciples — to be “students” of Jesus Christ, Wisdom Incarnate, teacher of Truth and Goodness, the Way, the Truth and the Life. If we choose this, not only will we possess wisdom; our “descendents too will inherit her.” There is no greater heritage to pass on to our children.
When we are “strangers” the path of wisdom may lead us through “fear,” but it leads to “happiness.” Wisdom “tries” us until our hearts are “fully with her,” because God only gives All for all.
Meditation: Do I truly want “wisdom”? Enough to become a disciple?