Divine Intimacy § 234

Divine Intimacy § 234 is titled “Infinite Wisdom”.
The following reflection is based upon Father Gabriel’s meditation:

Wisdom can be difficult to define for many reasons.  In our own day, one such reason is that wisdom is so rare.  We can’t recognize what we don’t see.

One might argue, of course, that amidst the confusion of modern culture, the light of the Catholic Faith shines brightly, like a beacon dispelling the fog of secularism, and displaying the beauty of divine wisdom.  But to what extent is this true?

We can answer that question by reflecting upon what wisdom truly is, and is not.  We can answer by distinguishing wisdom from mere knowledge and mere reasoning.  We can answer by distinguishing wisdom from facts and figures, dates and data.

What is wisdom?  Piecing an answer together from our human experience, we might say that wisdom is “the big picture”.  If wisdom is one of the rose windows of Notre Dame Cathedral, then the facts, figures, and dates of knowledge are the pieces of colored glass.

Instead of a visual image, we might rather reflect upon the nature of wisdom by considering the contrast between time and eternity.  If pieces of time—years, months, days and seconds—are the frames within which the events of our lives and the events of human history and salvation history occur, then wisdom is the single perspective of all events throughout time, considered together.  In terms of human history, we correlate God’s divine Providence closely with divine Wisdom.

To consider wisdom philosophically, we might say that pieces of data are the “What?”, “Where?” and “When?” of knowledge, while wisdom consists in the “Why?”

Nonetheless, all these perspectives look for wisdom from the vantage of human experience.  Wisdom ultimately resides only in God, and is one of His divine perfections.  Father Gabriel observes that while divine “wisdom is, before all, perfect knowledge of God”, which no creature can exhaust, divine wisdom also “sees all things as depending upon God and ordained by Him to His glory; therefore, it” judges them “solely according to the value, place, and meaning [that] they have in God’s eyes.”

Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen 001

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