Friday, August 25, 2006

The Wisdom of Solomon

The Love of Wisdom

Solomon’s love of Wisdom has become a universal prayer for all people of faith. The practice of Wisdom is the Practice of the Presence of God. Let me suggest several ways for us to put the notion of Wisdom to work for our own lives.

Abide in Me

The Hymn “Abide in me” is a nice old chestnut. The tune is easy to sing or hum, and the sentiment is simplicity itself. The turn of phrase comes to us from today’s Gospel (John 6:56). The wisdom of the prayer is obvious. Still who can actually put into practice the ancient instruction from scripture that Paul gives us to live by today; “Give thanks to God the Father at all times for everything”? (Ephesians 5:20) Can we really pray at ALL times?

When I think about it, the idea of being “present” to God may not be as difficult as one might first suspect. It is as easy as singing a favorite Hymn. In and out; breathing, Abide in Me! It makes the Journey somewhat less burdensome; somewhat more joyous and certainly makes way for Wisdom as we “abide” in Him.

The Practice of the Presence of God

It is an absolutely delightful little book written by Brother Lawrence. It is the simplicity and the sincerity with which it is written that is so persuasive. Many of us have read it. I hope you have a chance to if you haven’t yet. There are so many ways to practice the presence of God. Some of us like to carry rosaries, prayer ropes, or wear a cross; tokens that we do indeed “Abide in Him”. I like to light a candle when I journal. There seems to be a “spirit” with me in my room in moments of silence as I write.

In Judaism there are prayer shawls, in Islam, there are prayer beads. There are many who have managed to put it into practice, the actual Practice of the Presence of God. It is as though we put on Christ as a “garment”, as we live out our lives “in” him.

The notion is that we are to Pray at all times. Paul says so again in Ephesians, “Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication”. Ephesians 6:18. There’s a challenge for you. If you cannot be quite perfect, then accept what time you do spend with God. Both you and God will be pleased that you do, and Wisdom will find a home in your life.

The Jesus Prayer

From ancient times the notion of a “breath prayer” has been central to our shared traditions. The Jesus Prayer is one such “breath prayer”. Many of us know it by heart; “Come Lord Jesus, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” It is said that if we put into practice the repetition of such a prayer, it eventually becomes part of our being. Thus with every breath we take, the “in and out” of the words comes and goes and so too the reality that goes with it. Thus with our breathing we pray at all time and in all things, and Wisdom is born in the human heart.

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