“[S]tand above present things, and contemplate the eternal ones.” (IC 3,38,1) | “Has not God made the wisdom of the world foolish?” (1 Cor 1:20d)

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis, Book III Chapter XXXVIII: “The Good Government of Ourselves in Exterior Things and of having Recourse to God in Dangers” (second entry)

What is in the headline is a mark of a person who is “lord and master of [his] actions” who always has one eye on heaven and does not allow temporal things to draw him away from God.

|Today’s first reading: 1 Cor 1:17-25

The online commentary accessed by the link above calls this section the “Paradox of the Cross.” Humans, at a natural level, see a man crucified and see failure, or at best a poor soul deserving pity for meeting such a miserable end. That’s the wisdom of the world. Paul tells his readers that this wisdom is turned into foolishness in God’s eyes. We will not attain salvation by reading and pondering Christianity. Rather, “it was the will of God through the foolishness of the proclamation to save those who have faith.”

|Reflection

We cannot save ourselves on our own. Grace — a free gift — makes possible eternal salvation. Faith, also, is needed — this too is a gift. Wisdom, properly understood, is a wonderful thing — this is not being given short shrift by Paul — it’s a gift of the Holy Spirit after all (Is 11:2)! And there are many “wisdom books” in the Bible (see here). But, if we think that being worldly wise, or calculating our way into heaven, is going to work, forget about it. And if we believe we know better than God what is good for us, we are already lost. What human person would come up with the story of salvation history and our way to glory? Even Hollywood wouldn’t take that script. So we look to the Church for true, lasting, and unchanging wisdom in its safeguarding and proclaiming of divine revelation (see here). We can contemplate these eternal things continuously for a lifetime and only never completely plumb their infinite depths. But that should not deter us, wherever we are in our knowledge of the Faith or spiritual journey, from diving in or going deeper.

Young & Catholic Nigeria | Symbolon #2: Divine Revelation

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