Thursday, June 23, 2005

Friday, June 23

The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime (pp. 125-126)

To read today's office, click here.

"So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom," says the Refrain. I've often wondered why it is that we don't have courses in our churches, or even in our colleges and universities to poke myself in the eye, on Wisdom. I could imagine a series of courses on Wisdom and ... the family, the workplace, the neighborhood, the political world, and international politics. We could use more thinking and strategizing about Wisdom as the most important goal a Christian can have. What does a Wise person look like? how does one speak? how does one listen? how does one do all sorts of things?

When Solomon was asked what he wanted most of all, he said Wisdom (2 Kings 3). He's about the only king in history who wouldn't have asked for Almighty Power.

When I was a 5-year old, my great-aunt took me to St Louis, to a large Department store (something like Sticks, Bayer, and Fuller), and told me I could have anything I wanted. I asked for a baseball glove and then had the temerity to ask for a new baseball as well. My great-aunt was relieved I hadn't asked for anything expensive.

If I was asked today if I could have anything I wanted, and especially if I could be taken back 30 years or so and asked that question, I hope I would ask for wisdom. Wisdom to know what to write when I am given assignments, wisdom to know how to speak to my neighbor who refuses to mow his grass, wisdom to know how to deal with my grown and married children, wisdom to know how to respond as we try to sell our house, wisdom to know how to treat certain kinds of students, wisdom to know how to deal with three wonderful departmental members, wisdom to know how to speak to those to whom I can give witness ... . Yes, I say to myself, that is what I would ask for.

But would I? I've failed enough times with family and students and administrators to know that I need Wisdom, and to know that I need to think about asking for it more often.

Wisdom is what Jesus had when he saw through the cracks of society and found people in them; wisdom is what Jesus had when he replied with utter brilliance when he said God's work was for the "sick."

If Wisdom is a supreme value, then perhaps numbering our days (and my days are ticking off as yours) will aid us to see its supreme value.