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  • Writer's pictureImmersed in Christ

Immersed in Christ: December 17, 2020

Thursday of the Third Week of Advent

O Wisdom,

Word proceeding from

the mouth of the Most High,

Who show us all things framed between their beginning and their end;

Placing all goods in perspective under the strong, agreeable rule of truth;

Come, teach us the lifegiving way,

Come, show us the path of salvation.

Both Genesis 49:2-10 and Matthew 1:1-17 introduce people as having roles and relationships to respect. The Responsorial tells the fruit of respecting the role of the Messiah-King: “Justice shall flourish in his time and fullness of peace forever.” Jesus “guides creation with power and love.” As Wisdom.

An eight-year-old asked me at Christmas, “Why does God get to live forever and we don’t? It’s not fair.”

Nothing he had seen, either at home or in school, had given him any sense of perspective about God. I thought, “The beginning of Wisdom is Fear of the Lord.” Fear, not as fright, but as perspective. “God,” for him, was on the same plane as creatures.

And adults were on the same plane as children. His mother told me, in another context, that the reason he interrupted conversations and ignored commands was that “he thinks children and adults are equals.” And why not?

The key to the problem is relationship, which is the basis for order. We have to respect what every thing and every person is in relationship to others and ourselves. Interaction and relationship mutually define each other. And imply difference. Enter Fear of the Lord.

Seen in perspective, God is Absolute Difference. He is measured by nothing but is the Measure of all things: of all truth and goodness. He is the criterion. We don’t ask “why” God does anything except to learn what God is. What God is, is the “why” of everything.

If there is no Absolute, then nothing relative has any significance. “Good” and “bad” are just matters of opinion. Delete God and life has the purpose of a pinball (oldstyle): blindly launched, careening unguided off of whatever it meets, to rack up a meaningless score when it drops into its terminating slot.

But if there is an Absolute (recognized by Fear of the Lord), then there is a basis for taking relative values seriously—like goals and meaning in life, obedience to parents and to laws, speaking truth, doing justice, and distinguishing between human and animal life when we kill. Life has something to aim at. Enter Wisdom.

Wisdom is the “habit of seeing everything in the light of the ultimate end, the goal of life.” This is the key to order. And order is the key to peace.

Jesus is Wisdom made flesh, come to show us all things framed between their beginning and their end, placing all goods in perspective. The gift of perspective, Fear of the Lord, is both the source and the summit of Wisdom.

Come, teach us the lifegiving way,

Come, show us the path of salvation.

Initiative: See all things in perspective. Cultivate Fear of the Lord and Wisdom.

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