Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Wisdom

Wisdom is one of the seven gifts which are listed traditionally as being of the Holy Spirit the number seven when used in the Bible indicates completion fullness or fulfillment in the Bible numbers can be taken literally sometimes as when we learn for example that a man and a woman had six sons but just as often the numbers are symbolic and their youth teaches something or reveals a truth that might otherwise have lain hidden or undiscovered amongst the details of the story when we modern people use numbers we tend to be much more precise in their use much less symbolic let’s take an example you’ve probably learned that there are seven gifts of the Holy Spirit given to us in baptism sealed and affirmed for us in the Sacrament of Confirmation and then available for us to draw on all through life to strengthen us these gifts are the tools we need in order to live the Christian life and you’ve probably heard that these seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom knowledge understanding courage great judgment reverence and Wonder and awe in God’s presence we can take this number seven to be a mathematical truth revealing to us that there are indeed seven gifts of the Holy Spirit and this would be a wonderful truth revealing God’s generosity and providence in offering these gifts to guide sustain and inform our path through life there is another way that we could take this number the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit what is the number seven really does retain its biblical sense of fulfillment completion or fullness then when we name the number of the gifts of the Holy Spirit as seven we would not so much be numbering them as we would be making a statement of faith proclaiming that the gifts of our God are so bounteous so many so plentiful and so present that indeed God can be said to have poured forth these wondrous gifts in our lives so there aren’t only seven gifts of the Holy Spirit there are many many many gifts of the Holy Spirit and furthermore these gifts are not held in the hands of a stingy God who measures them out to us in couples these gifts are poured out rained out by a God of bounty sometimes the gifts they’re obvious to us sometimes we may have to look for the gift or the blessing but it is surety they’re even more wondrous these gifts of the Holy Spirit are not one-size-fits-all these gifts are offered to each of us when we need them as we need them and for as long as we need them the truth I think is that we’ve often thought about the gifts of the Holy Spirit as gifts from the Holy Spirit – who – me what about if we fine-tune this a bit what if these gifts are the gifts of God’s very self what if the Wonder is that they’re God’s call to us they reveal to us a little bit of what God is like and they point the way then to a way of becoming more like the very God in whose image and likeness we are created live move and have our being so with that in mind what can we say about the Holy Spirit’s gift of wisdom think about a person you know or know of who you might describe as wise who is that is the person in your mind’s eye old or is that person younger in the book of Proverbs chapter 8 we hear this the Lord created me at the beginning of his work the first of his acts of long ago ages ago I was set up at the first before the beginning of the earth when there were no depths I was brought forth when there were no springs abounding with water before the mountains had been shapes before the hills ayah was brought forth when he had not yet made earth and filled the world’s first bits of soil when he established the heavens I was there when he drew a circle on the face of the deep when he made firm the skies above when he established the fountains of the deep when he assigned to the sea its limit so that the waters might not transgress his command when he marked out the foundations of the earth I was beside him like a master worker and I was daily his delight rejoicing before him always rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the human race although we often think of wisdom as a gift given to the elders among us this reading shows us another picture in this scripture passage wisdom is young and fun loving playful delighting God with her curiosity and the wonder with which she receives and behold God’s works when I think of wisdom and wisdom figures in my life a few standout may Almighty God bless you the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit one with father Ray horrible a Redemptorist priests who preached on these televised devotions in honor of our mother of Perpetual health many times he was recently called home to God and I named him as a wisdom figure not because he was an old man although he was older than I I named him not because he was a man of great learning although he was that I named father Ray as a wisdom figure because of the delight he took in learning whether that learning came about through books or movies or conversation or observation of others father Ray was fascinated by people by ideas by life that was what motivated him and his curiosity was insatiable his path to God was the path of fascination childlike wonder infinite curiosity that’s what made him wise a truly wise person I think is playful a truly wise person sees the inconsistencies in other people and in life itself and is fascinated by them and by the God who called them into being now let’s go back to our reading from the book of Proverbs who was speaking in the passage from Scripture who was created by God at the very beginning who came to be before the beginning of the earth who was there alongside of God before the Seas rolls before the mountains thrust forth from the Earth’s center who was there before there was soil or earth or fields who was with God when the waters sprang forth it was wisdom and in the book of Proverbs wisdom is feminine she is described as God’s companion with God from the very beginning working alongside God as a master worker assisting in creation delighting in all that God brought forth and especially rejoicing in God’s creation of human beings what a wonderful image of wisdom not only a gift of the Holy spirit which it is certainly but the Holy Spirit herself an attribute of God’s very self the reading that we’ve just heard however depicts wisdom as a bit of a child dancing with delight at what God’s creativity uh sure’s into being rejoicing with shrieks of laughter and playful energy as God surprises her with new wonders how do we become wise we become wise by practicing wise ways by doing wise things the more I take out of this bank account the more there is to draw on it grows by being used it’s like a spiritual muscle it grows and become stronger by being exercised when you become wise by losing our jaded outlooks or habitual judgments we become wise by taking delight in the diversity and the wonder of God’s created world so today I urge you to get some spiritual exercise go out to your favorite coffee shop order yourself a beverage and sit back to chuckle marble and delight in the diversity of our world and the people in it you can be certain that another wise person is sitting somewhere in the coffee shop observing you with a chuckle perhaps you’ll meet you

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