With Easter season over, and our daily readings from the Acts of The Apostles behind us, our first readings from the Book of Sirach brings us to the Old Testament’s Wisdom Literature.
Pardon me, but let me ask your help in settling on what Wisdom really means.
The Old Testament, as in the Book of Proverbs, sees Wisdom as the opposite of folly. While Folly sacrifices eventual happiness for the sake of short term successes, of immediate pleasure; Wisdom guides us to make the efforts now that will bring us joy in the long run.
Wisdom must also been seen as the heavenly reward that comes from putting ourselves quietly in God’s presence, earnestly begging him to let us see the right course.
David Brooks in his “The Road to Character” quotes Montaigne as saying, “We can be knowledgeable with other men’s knowledge, but we cannot be wise with other men’s wisdom.” He goes on to say that Wisdom is “the moral quality of knowing what you don’t know and figuring out a way to handle your ignorance, uncertainties and limitations.”
There is Wisdom in that. It begins by accepting all that you are lacking, then going on to make the best of what little you have. There was an old naval ditty that said, “If you have to take a licking, carry on and quit your kicking, don’t give up the ship.”