The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
We rightly fear the omnipotent One. He made everything out of nothing. His power dwarfs our capacity to conceive it. Everything exists solely by His pleasure. Without His will sustaining us–and sustaining the sky, and the earth, and the air–without His constant gift of existence, everything would crumble, collapse, disintegrate, vanish. [Spanish]
At Sunday Mass, we hear Lord Jesus say, All that you see here–the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone. (Luke 21:6)
The one thing that separates us from chaos and ultimate nothingness is: the divine good pleasure. True wisdom involves acknowledging this. If we find ourselves enjoying good things in life, it’s because God has made them and keeps them in existence, to give as gifts to us.
The wise person fears the awesomeness of this great Giver of all, Who is truly, wonderfully, magnificently good. His power dwarfs us, and so does His goodness. We do not measure up to it. Rather, we receive from His largesse as unworthy beneficiaries. He blesses us so abundantly because His love flows so freely. Not because we have any claim on Him, or any “rights” before Him. He just gives, out of pure generosity.
So we rightly stand in awe of this infinitely powerful and infinitely gracious God. Nonetheless, He makes friendly and intimate promises to us. “Fear nothing,” He says, “because I myself will give you wisdom.”
The God we rightly fear does not choose to tower above us. Rather, in the midst of all the great flux of events over which He exercises sovereign control, He moves toward us and embraces us. By uniting Himself with us in Christ, God Almighty has Personally entered into His own creation, fragile as it all is. He meets us right here, and clasps us to His bosom. He makes us His friends, the friends of the King.
By the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, we participate interiorly in God’s sovereignty over all things. We share His permanent solidity, His serene transcendence.
Material things pass. We human beings are material things that naturally pass, too—at least our bodies are. But, by His grace, God has joined us to His permanent Self. So we do not pass, but rather we endure forever, with Him.
We perceive all this by the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ Himself was the first to have these gifts, in full. He perceived in His human mind the infinite extent of the divine love of the heavenly Father.
Thus the Lord Jesus feared God, in the sense that He would not deviate from the will of His Father. He submitted Himself completely to the mission the Father had entrusted to Him. Christ embraced that mission completely, with tender piety, and with unswerving bravery. Christ understood everything that the prophets had written. He taught the eternal law, to love God and neighbor, and thereby fulfill all human knowledge of created things. Jesus perceived the fundamental cause of creation, and of all the events of history: namely that God would receive the glory of His Christ, crucified and risen. Jesus’ divine wisdom involved His perception of how He would glorify the Father—in Himself, and in all the members of His mystical Body.
Our Lord pours these interior gifts into our souls when we commune honestly with Him. The Gifts of the Holy Spirit move us to repent of our sins, and they heal us interiorly, through God’s mercy.
We live in tough times. The last time we heard the same Sunday readings—three years ago—something pretty stunning had just happened. A certain gentleman had just been elected President of the United States. Now these readings come around again, and we as a nation face a painful impeachment process.
We need the supernatural point-of-view, the point-of-view of Jesus Christ Himself. The Gifts of the Holy Spirit give us that perspective. We need communion with the divine love of Jesus Christ. He offers us sobriety, patience, and confidence in the ultimate triumph of the right.
The Senate will get to judge the impeachment case, if it goes that far. And it appears that it will go that far.
But Christ the Lord will judge the judges. He will judge the judges of this case, and of every case. And, unlike human verdicts, which involve some degree of error, even in the best circumstances; unlike verdicts here below, Jesus Christ’s final verdict will reflect every aspect of the truth.
So help us, dear Lord, to see, live, and love by the Your Holy Spirit. We entrust ourselves completely to Your guidance, through thick and thin. Give us our share in Your all-encompassing wisdom.
4 thoughts on “The Gifts of the Spirit, Including Wisdom”
All the virtues and gifts of the Holy Spirit embodied in one Person – and He was/is one of us. With food for the journey (Eucharist), and a roadmap/instruction manual (Scripture/Tradition) to guide us, we share (in faith and humility) the divine life of the Creator/Redeemer/Sanctifier of the universe and everyone in it. My puny brain can’t compute, my heart can’t embrace, my soul can’t absorb it all, without His grace. Through the Sacraments and prayer, may we all be filled to overflowing with His grace.
Beautifully expressed; thank you Fr. Mark.
Your writing is just superb. You make me understand relations between humans and God better than most clergymen I know. Thanks.
Two excellent teachings! Thank you Fr. Mark and lafblast.