“O come, Thou Wisdom from on high, Who orde’rest all things mightily; to us the path of knowledge show, and teach us in her ways to go. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!”- We sing in the famous Advent Hymn.
Today, December 17, marks the beginning of the immediate preparations for the Feast of Christmas with the singing of the O Antiphons at Evening Prayer each of these 7 days. At this monastery we will chant a version translated by Sr. Colleen:
come teach us to walk in the paths of knowledge.”
Who or what is wisdom, that we are calling on to COME? “Wisdom” (Old English, witan, “to know”; Latin, videre, “to see”), is a gift of the Holy Spirit that, according to Catholic theology, is a special grace of the Spirit to help one practice virtue more perfectly. Wisdom is a kind of knowledge in the sense that it allows one to understand God’s purposes and the divine will.
In the Hebrew Scriptures, wisdom (a feminine noun) is God’s first creation (Sir 1:4) and is frequently associated with “fear of the Lord” – an expression that means reverence for the Lord
. In the New Testament, Paul identified Christ with God’s wisdom (1Cor 1:24) when he attempted to express Christian reliance on Christ crucified and to distinguish Christian faith from the empty wisdom of Greek learning. Relating wisdom to God’s incarnate Word, as Paul does, and to divinity itself, as Sirach suggests, indicates that wisdom is not a human virtue or a skill that can be acquired through self-effort. As the author of Proverbs put it, God gives birth to wisdom (8:22). While creatures can discover and understand valuable knowledge, wisdom always originates with the creator God. (Encyclopedia of Catholicism, Richard Mc Brien, ed.)
“O Wisdom, who comes from the mouth of the Most High, reaching to the ends of the earth with tenderness and power, come and teach us the way of prudence.”
In our Lectio time these days, let us create our own prayer to God each day, using these titles for Christ, as the symbols change in the big O on our Chapel banner: O Leader of the House of Israel….Come!
O Root of Jesse….Come!
O Key of David….Come!
O Radiant Dawn….Come!
O Ruler of Nations….Come!
Sr. Mary Tewes, OSB