From the second Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians:
“We are treated as deceivers and yet truthful; as unrecognized and yet acknowledged; as dying and behold we live; as chastised and yet not put to death; as sorrowful yet always rejoicing; as poor yet enriching many; as having nothing and yet possessing all things.”
Last year I sat with a spiritual direction that has been listening to me for almost twenty years. We touch base at least twice a year even though we do not live in the same city. I have always sought a spiritual director in every city, but he is the one priest who listens with a unique ear, a holy and longing perspective on what is behind the words I speak.
He told me with boldness that I am to seek wisdom. He invited me into a new phase of life in not only my priesthood but within my heart. Wisdom, as he reminded me is not for the weak or faint of heart, it is a real paradox such as we hear in today’s first reading at Mass.
Wisdom is all about letting go. Wisdom is overcoming fear. Wisdom is learning the truth of our lives and the real reverence of our voices, so that we can live the truth and use our voices for other people.
Wisdom is living the paradox that when we finally learn of the real things in life our bodies change, our physical strength become weakness and our physical beauty is replaced with the loveliness of the soul.
Wisdom is not a possession but a journey. Wisdom is not a plan but a discovery. Wisdom cannot be bought but costs our entire lives. Wisdom cannot be manufactured but only is given with grace. Wisdom is not artificial but comes with the natural process of aging. Wisdom is not always obvious, but a treasure sunken deep within pain, suffering, doubt and turmoil.
I pray that I may discover this holy wisdom before my personal weaknesses and sins grow even stronger, so strong that wisdom will decide to move on to someone else. I pray that we all may search for the holy exchange of our attitudes for the wisdom of God’s whisper within our hearts. I pray that we may use the strength of our bodies to house the holy force of the Spirit’s love. I pray that we all may recognize our accomplishments as a house of cards and live for our place prepared for us in the Kingdom of God.