The first great Gift of the Holy Spirit is Wisdom. It is the doorway Gift into the blessed life. If you would be one to show great respect to God, then you would heed Proverbs 9:10 and its message: You would start with seeking Wisdom and Knowledge of the Holy One, unto an understanding of life.
There is a prayer that is said of petition to the Holy Spirit, which includes these words: O God, …by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant us to be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolation. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Or in short, it’s good to pray: Holy Spirit, help me to be wise. Get me started and going in Your holy gifts! So, the Holy Spirit is the One we can pray to…. in asking for wisdom.
In a humorous or silly answer to the question: How does one get wise? I think of myself as a kid. I had the perfect opportunity to get wise. If only wisdom did come in a potato chip…. I think I told a few of you before in a homily or talk of how I had once been a great fan of eating Wise Potato Chips. Do you know the brand? They have been around for about a century! When I was a young boy I lot of Wise Potato Chips, the brand had a big wise owl on the package. I enjoyed bags and bags of these chips, courtesy of hand-outs from relatives, like my Uncle Joe Smyth. He used to feed me and his dog Shaggy lots of these treats when I came over with my grandma to see him. He was interested in talking to his older sister, so Uncle Joe would send me and Shaggy to the living room with a large bag of Wise chips and some drinks. It kept us busy for quite a while.
So did all of this eating those Wise snacks make me more brighter and clued in?! Not really, except in knowing a good potato chips when I had one! All of those Wise chips brought me no greater wisdom. Just salty-ness. Well, Jesus did say we are to be salt to the earth, or something like that! At least I was a salty Christian boy! Shaggy didn’t seem to get any wiser either from all his consumption.
God doesn’t dispense wisdom in Wise Potato Chips, but He does have the Holy Spirit to dispense a lot of the Gift of Wisdom, available for us to use in living the better life as His followers. No eating required. Just praying, seeking and the hungering of the soul.
The writer of the Book of Wisdom, the Old Testament last’s book written, advices us to discover Wisdom and to live by it and be blessed. In Wisdom 7:7-12, or example, from the testimony of its author, he says on how he got wise: “Therefore I prayed, and prudence was given me; I pleaded and the spirit of Wisdom came to me. And I preferred her over my scepter and throne, and deemed my worldly riches nothing in comparison with her, even of all my gold, in view of her, was just bits of sand to me…. Beyond health and beauty I loved wisdom, her light was an ever radiance… In sum, all good things come together because of first having wisdom. In all the gifts to have, Wisdom is the one that leads to all others.”
That’s high praise for Wisdom.
We had the parish Youth receive their Confirmation here on Thursday. They received the praying over invocation of The Spirit by an apostle (Bishop Bevard of St. Thomas/Virgin Island) and the Anointing with the Holy Chrism. They were fully initiated into Catholic Christianity in this Sacrament, and they were instructed to ask for Holy Wisdom and Prudence for the journey ahead of faith.
They also were led to ask for the full seven-fold Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
The timing would be right to invite you to something of the same…for a renewal in the Holy Spirit in your life.
Friends, this is the week that leads up to The Ascension of The Lord. The Lord Jesus ascended on the 40th day of the original Easter. This Thursday is the 40th day of Easter Season 2018. We recall that Jesus told His followers at the Ascension Mount to then go and pray nine days and so to “await to be clothed from on high.” Then, on that 10th day, the Spirit descended from the Heavens, and the Church was born at Pentecost. Pentecost is Holy Spirit Day.
The Holy Spirit is foremost the Giver of Wisdom. It is the most important gift.
So, I invite you all to hunger and thirst for a life of much practice of Wisdom in the Spirit in your current practice of the Faith and in your community life in the Church.
Praying for Wisdom is right on target to be in our prayer leading up to Pentecost. We should also pray for each of those 7 Gifts of the Spirit to be at work in us, but starting with Wisdom. I call Wisdom the Gift of Having the Big Picture in Mind. Living with Eternity and God in mind. Living in connection to what Jesus and His Spirit brought down to us of the Kingdom of God experience.
I take us back to the Wisdom passage. Did you hear the passion of that believer? Did you sense they had experienced something powerful? They said: The Spirit of Wisdom came to me. (So that presupposes someone waiting upon the Lord.) Then they said: I’d rather have it than to be a king of the world, or to have gold, or to have all health and beauty! Wisdom is what I love the most. (Does that sound like a convinced person? Can you sense their personal blessing in God’s Spirit?)
I now take you to a New Testament passage on the same message on Wisdom.
James writes how we must learn to grow in wisdom, and then how we must keep to it. James chapter one talks of Wisdom as being of great need to the believer, exhorting:. If any of you lacks wisdom,* they should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and they will be given it. But they should ask in faith, not doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed about by the wind. For that person must not suppose that they will receive anything from the Lord, since they are thinking in two directions, and unstable… The blessed person will be faced with temptations, for sure, and the temptation of them will to be lured and enticed by selfish and arrogant desire… yet (my beloved) do not be so deceived. Brothers and sisters, simply believe and trust that all good gifts come from above from the Father of Lights. He gives the first-fruits….”
So, there are people today who have heard that message before to seek the Spirit. They are told by the Word to be wise, but some choose to be foolish.
The Gospel Parable of the Ten Maidens (in Matthew chapter 25, the How-To-Get Ready-For -Heaven chapter of the Gospel) addresses the divide of the two camps (of the wise and the foolish). Jesus speaks in the parable that out of ten women, who were asked to be ready for the return of the bridegroom for the party (a likely night visit) only half of them had the oil in their lamps filled in such readiness. The rest had the oil level way down low. So, when the momentous time came for these ten maidens, only five of them actually were prepared and could go to the feast. The others missed out. The low oil in their lamps and the disappointing end for the maidens is a teaching of Christ as admonition to the hearer to be always filling up with wisdom (the oil, The Spirit). The other five maidens living in wisdom, received the full blessing of the BrideGroom, and they went to go to the feast, the glorious wedding, as the amazing invitation was taken seriously by them.
I preached on this theme of Wisdom in my earlier Masses in the parish, back in late Summer 2017. I return to it here in May 2018. I looked up of what I said to you back then. I had read a definition of Wisdom to you, coming right out of that forementioned Bible book. “Resplendent and unfading… Wisdom is readily perceived by those who love her, and found by those who seek her. She hastens to make herself known in anticipation of their desire;( those hungry for real love, and) whoever watches for her at dawn shall not be disappointed, for he shall find her sitting by his gate.”
Go and seek Wisdom. Pray the Novena of the Holy Spirit this week. An easy version is printed in the parish bulletin. Mostly, pray for Wisdom, the starting block of all our Christian endeavor, and the Person of the Holy Spirit as our inspiration.
The Novena of the Holy Spirit starts May 11th in this 2018 and concludes on Pentecost Sunday.