Grace to you!
On a number of occasions, I’ve had the privilege of preaching retreats for married couples. I leave those retreats feeling the couples have actually led me on a retreat. They give me so much.
Listening to the couples share the stories of their relationships opens a wide inspirational vista. One hears stories such as when they started dating. They tell jokes about “How I met him/her.” Those secret admirations, seeking out opportunities, etc., and how eventually when they marry, they share freely how they had loved each other and individually sought for occasions to meet. Hardly do they know that what was going on in the mind of one was also happening in the heart of the other.
Reading the Book of Wisdom 6:12-16, I'm thrilled to discover how “Wisdom” searches the seeker. The poetic description of wisdom in this book is wonderful. If you’ve read the book, you would notice it seems wisdom is talked about as a person, and in other places as a virtue.
We read that wisdom searches and is at the same time sought. Here wisdom is referred to as a person: “Wisdom is radiant and unfading, and she is easily discerned by those who love her, and is found by those who seek her. She hastens to make herself known to those who desire her. He who rises early to seek her will have no difficulty, for he will find her sitting at his gates” (Wis 6:12-14).
Beautiful imagery. God's word reassures us that if we’re searching for wisdom, wisdom is already by our gate. Thus when we open the door to go looking for her, she is already by us because she was looking for us also.
This reminds me of our Christian understanding of faith and the God-human relationship. God searches for us and the Wisdom of God reaches out to us. The Lord will say to us, “You did not choose me. I chose you" (Jn 15:16).
Isn’t it amazing to know that as we desire divine wisdom, wisdom is by our doorsteps and already asking to be welcome in our hearts? This wisdom personified is the Lord. Saint Paul tells us that Jesus is the Wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:24).
You may’ve read the Parable of the Ten Virgins in the Gospel of Matthew 25:1-13. It’s a beautiful biblical story. In it Our Lord, the Wisdom of God, gives us a powerful insight concerning wisdom.
I have reflected on this parable from a different point of view in my book Word for A Wounded World, volume 1. I wrote about some of its perspectives regarding channels of grace and the “marriage of the Lamb.” Today, I look at it in the light of the theme of wisdom as above.
The wise and the foolish virgins were united in one mission—to be at the wedding feast. The bridegroom was coming and the virgins were waiting to meet with the bridegroom.
The wise virgins were smart to have enough oil. To have enough oil is wise. Wisdom is tapping from the free fountain of the oil of grace.
When the announcement came that the bridegroom was nearby, the wise virgins moved towards the bridegroom as the bridegroom was coming to meet them (and the bride). The foolish virgins, on the other hand, moved farther and farther away from the bridegroom because they had no oil. They then wanted to go and get oil. Going to get oil entailed moving away from the main vision for which they had come in the first instance. It’s moving away from the goal. Hence they were called foolish.
Wisdom is to be in the right direction for which we are here. Going in the right direction is going towards our ultimate goal. It is to possess the grace that makes encounter with the bridegroom possible; the grace that leads us in the way to the feast.
It is wisdom to go in the right direction of divine-human encounter. It is wisdom to respond to the invitation of God. It is wisdom to open the gates so the righteous may enter.
God doesn't force himself on anyone. Wisdom from God isn’t forced on anyone either. Yet divine wisdom is near, nearer to us than our intimate sentiments. It’s wisdom to embrace this divine invitation; open our hearts to grace.
Praying that we always notice and welcome moments of grace, because that’s wisdom. Amen
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[32nd Sunday A: Wis 6:12-16; 1 Thes 4: 13-18; Mt 25:1-13]
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.