The Wisdom of God
Fr. Phil Paxton, CP
Sunday is Trinity Sunday, and although the doctrine of a Triune God is full of mystery and theological formulations, I appreciate our belief in One God and Three Persons. In fact, if I took a title as they used to do in religious life, I would take the title “of the Trinity.” That is because I feel drawn to those aspects of our faith that speak of community. To believe in a Triune God is to believe that God has revealed the Divine Self in terms of relationships. God is love, as 1 John states, and that love is expressed not only by people as individuals but as beings connected to one another.
It is in this context that I found myself reflecting on our first reading from Proverbs (8:22-31). Our reading is written from the perspective of “the wisdom of God” personified. Christians would later see this personification of Wisdom in Jesus Christ.
So from all this I thought, “What is the wisdom of God?” In our reading from Proverbs, Wisdom states: “…from of old I was poured forth, at the first, before the earth…When the Lord established the heavens I was there…then was I beside him as his craftsman, and I was his delight day by day, playing before him all the while, playing on the surface of his earth; and I found delight in the human race.” In these verses we are reminded that God is the source of all creation, and so it seems to me that the wisdom of God involves recognizing the sacredness of all creation. As part of creation, we are to be grateful for the abundance of creation. We are to “delight” in it, not exploit it or use it up, and definitely not to destroy it. We are to “delight in the human race.” Again, we are not meant to use each other for our own purposes or do violence to each other. The “other,” as different as he or she may be, is not automatically the enemy. And even if “they” were the enemy, we are still to love them as God does, even as we resist the evil and injustice they may perpetrate.
To see Jesus as the Son of God is to see the wisdom of God in believing in love as the power of God. In Jesus we see wisdom in embracing, not running away, from the Cross. The Cross leads to Resurrection! In our second reading from Romans (5:1-5), St. Paul writes: “Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” To live by the wisdom of God is to live in hope, and to work for the kingdom. To live by the wisdom of God is to be willing to give of ourselves for others.
Now I know all this sounds pie-in-the-sky, or Kumbaya, or just plain silly. But if we believe in God who chooses to be in relationship with us; who loves us more than we can imagine or deserve; who in the Son of God died for our sins and rose from the dead to give us life; and who in the Holy Spirit enables us to go beyond what is reasonable in service to each other, we see this apparent foolishness as the “truth.” (See our Gospel reading – John16:12-15).
May we live in the creativity of the Father, the love of the Son, and the power of the Holy Spirit! May we live in the truth of our connectedness to each other and to all of creation! And may we follow the wisdom of God and not the wisdom of the world!
I welcome any comments or questions. Thanks for your time. Happy Father’s Day!
In the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,