PROVERBS 1:20 – 2:22
Wisdom cries aloud in the street;
in the markets she raises her voice;
on the top of the walls she cries out;
at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:
“How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?
How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing
and fools hate knowledge?
Give heed to my reproof;
behold, I will pour out my thoughts to you;
I will make my words known to you.
Because I have called and you refused to listen,
have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded,
and you have ignored all my counsel
and would have none of my reproof,
I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when panic strikes you,
when panic strikes you like a storm,
and your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
when distress and anguish come upon you.
Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer;
they will seek me diligently but will not find me.
Because they hated knowledge
and did not choose the fear of the Lord,
would have none of my counsel,
and despised all my reproof,
therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way
and be sated with their own devices.
For the simple are killed by their turning away,
and the complacence of fools destroys them;
but he who listens to me will dwell secure
and will be at ease, without dread of evil.”
My son, if you receive my words
and treasure up my commandments with you,
making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to understanding;
yes, if you cry out for insight
and raise your voice for understanding,
if you seek it like silver
and search for it as for hidden treasures;
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and
he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
guarding the paths of justice
and preserving the way of his saints.
Then you will understand righteousness and justice
and equity, every good path;
for wisdom will come into your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
discretion will watch over you;
understanding will guard you;
delivering you from the way of evil,
from men of perverted speech,
who forsake the paths of uprightness
to walk in the ways of darkness,
who rejoice in doing evil
and delight in the perverseness of evil;
men whose paths are crooked,
and who are devious in their ways.
You will be saved from the loose woman,
from the adventuress with her smooth words,
who forsakes the companion of her youth
and forgets the covenant of her God;
for her house sinks down to death,
and her paths to the shades;
none who go to her come back
nor do they regain the paths of life.
So you will walk in the way of good men
and keep to the paths of the righteous.
For the upright will inhabit the land,
and men of integrity will remain in it;
but the wicked will be cut off from the land,
and the treacherous will be rooted out of it.
The Madonna Of The Lilies, by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1899
MEDITATION – Dr. Andrew Seeley
A lovely book on the life and sayings of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton by Richard Cardinal Cushing contains a section devoted to simplicity among her “spiritual gems”, among which is this aspiration: “Dear simplicity, so loved by our Divine Master, I embrace thee and prefer thee a thousand times to the wisdom of the world.” Yet in the passage from Proverbs, Wisdom chastises those who linger in simplicity. Is there a “simplicity of the world”, as there is a wisdom beloved by the Divine Master?
Wisdom chastises those who have no interest in growing in knowledge and calls them complacent fools. She warns that, when disasters happen they will deeply regret their ignorance. They will realize then that they need wisdom to guide them, but it will be too late. She promises that those who “cry out for insight” and “seek it like silver” while they have a chance will have discretion and understanding to guard them from the deceptions of “men of perverted speech”.
How we have suffered from the lack of wisdom over the past several years! By the gifts of God and the prayer and labor of great saints, the Church has stored up a great ocean of wisdom, but the world has not cared to listen. Unfortunately, too many Catholics have no idea that the Church has traditions of wisdom that can provide guidance and strength in times of crisis. Without it, how will they make sound decisions for themselves, their families, and their communities when the ordinary ways of living are thrown into confusion?
Have I eagerly sought to grow in the wisdom of the Church? Have I been a model for my students in learning? Have I fostered in my students a serious love for “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise”? (Philippians 4:8)
Please also offer one Mass and one Rosary sometime this month for the intentions of the members of the Confraternity.