Monday, September 27, 2010

Wisdom Chapter 6

You can find Wisdom Chapter 6 online here.

Keeping Wisdom's laws->Love-> desire of discipline-> Wisdom -> incorruptibly-> God

Of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, Self-control is the seventh. By self-control of the desire of discipline, we control our tendencies toward sin and keep our desire for goodness pure. As it is explained n chapters 1 ad 4, Wisdom cones to those who are good and pure. It is by love that we persevere in disciplining ourselves, for out of love of God and of what is good and of other people, we restrain ourselves from doing thoughtless and reckless things. Restraining ourselves from doing stupid things, keeping our desires pure, and acting accordingly is nothing less than living by Wisdom's laws. Living thus is living virtuously, which leads to heaven. So by desiring discipline, and keeping that desire alive and pure with love, and living according to it we receive Wisdom, the first of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. In this way we reach heaven where we will be forever united with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Wisdom Chapter 5

Chapter 5 of Wisdom can be found here.

Although verses 3-15 are told from the point of view of wicked people, it is very truthful. Two things I find particularly insightful:
1) The connection between understanding and God. The minds of the wicked were clouded with sin so that they could not understand why the good were living as they were. As chapter 1 says, sin separates us from God, leaving us without wisdom, for "wisdom will not enter into a malicious soul." (1:4) This makes sense especially if the definition of wisdom is "the taste for goodness" as st. Bernard of Clairveiux said. For if one is in love with sins, one's 'tastes' are so askew that one cannot recognize goodness, and if one did 'taste' goodness, it would seem putrid. Catholic Masses always begin with the confiteor so that we may understand the wisdom spoken to us in the readings and Gospel and the living wisdom within us that is the Eucharist.
2) The lack of legacy. The good people have a legacy without going to any special effort to make a legacy. For when good things are done, they are good because they are done in God who is eternal. The wicked, however, leave no legacy, for there is no life except in God. And God draws even greater good from evil, so that everything that is wicked is eclipsed by God's goodness.
This chapter concludes with the destruction of the unwise, for not only are they unwise, but they are unwise because they are sinful and have rejected God.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Ascent and Prostrate

While hiking through the mountains as orientation for TMC last week, I thought of how all people seem to have a deep desire to ascend. We desire to strive,to go beyond limits, to soar and be unbonded. Perhaps that's why we climb mountains. It's like the mentality of the Tower of Babel wasn't just those people at that time. It is all of us always. And we are constantly building little Towers of Babel in our lives to be like ladders to carry us up. I think God has implanted this desire in us, as something curiously human, something to take us up to heaven where all that is human will be fulfilled in His magnificent glory. This desire then is a good and pure passion, and it drives us to seek purification and ascention from all that is muddied with sin and evilness. If sin is the lack of good, then sinning is lacking goodness. And if we are made to BE good, then sinning is ceasing, to some degree, to BE. Every time we sin we die a little.

Then during Mass that evening, kneeling on rock, it occured to me that it is when we lower ourselves that we become most human. It is when we cast ourselves down that we are entirely human, for it is then that everything in us in univocally in accord with what we are: lowly, helpless creatures before our awesome God. I think of when the priest prostrates himself at the Tres Ores on Good Friday- that is the true image of humanity. And every Tridentine Mass begins with the priest kneeling and begging God for forgiveness and to accept his prayers. And when we confess out sins, and when we recieve Christ in the Eucharist, we kneel.

It is when we cast ourselves down, accepting the patheticness of our fallen human state that God can elevate us. Only Christ could ascend, for He is God. Even the sinless Virgin Mary was carried into heaven- assumed. We cannot take ourselves up, but we can humble ourselves to accept God's help. So when we truly and sincerely cast ourselves down before God, kneel with all our hearts, and admit of the burden of our sins and our flaws- then God can lift our flaws and carry us up to Himself.

The next day I was really tired, and it was an even bigger mountain we were climbing, and then we had to climb all the way back down again, so my prayer was, "Lord what strength I have is in You. Carry me up, then help me back down again."

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Wisdom Chapter 4

Chapter 4 of Wisdom can be found here.

I find it very interesting that it is in matters of chastity that the good prove their goodness and in death that the good are blessed. Humans have a spectacularly deep longing for union, given to us by God so that we will thirst for Him and seek Him. The ultimate union is between God and us in heaven. God gives us Himself to unite us to Himself on earth in the Eucharist.
And He gives union with friends, parents, sibling, and primarily with one's spouse to be like peices of heaven on earth so that we can help each other get to heaven. It is in living virtuously in these unions that we attain to the Ultimate Union, so that our passage to God - death - becomes a blessed thing. But those who distort and pervert the God-given unions with family and spouse defile themselves so that they cannot enter into the Ultimate Union with God forever in heaven. So it is very imprtant to be chaste; for as verse 11 and 12 say, perversion changes one's understanding so taht one's mind is twisted. Jesus said, "Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God." (St. Matthew 5:8)