Readings for Sunday, October 11
“Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom for the future. The human mind may devise many plans, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will be established.” Proverbs 19:20-21, NRSVCE
Seeking the Lord’s Will (& not our own) in my opinion, would be a good example of wisdom. To read scripture and trust in the promises of the Lord is to “listen to advice and accept instruction.” This is wisdom. Our future is certainly uncertain. Only God knows what is in store. We should pray for an increase in the gift of wisdom from the Holy Spirit – the gift of being wise enough to know that God’s plans are infinitely better than our own, and to surrender to His Will for our lives, our Church, and our world! He’s got this!
In digging deeper into the subject, I stumbled upon this quote from Psychology Today regarding wisdom: It “is able to apply an understanding of the connections between virtue and happiness to her everyday life.” https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ethics-everyone/201107/wisdom-and-the-search-happiness A truly wise person lives a life of virtue. Virtue, when well-practiced, crowds out vice. Good habits produce good fruits. Bad habits produce bad fruit. It is wise indeed to spend time cultivating virtues like faith, hope, love, prudence, fortitude, justice, temperance, kindness, etc. This takes discipline. I’ve heard it said that it takes discipline to be a good disciple. Perhaps we should pray for discipline too! ( I know that I need more of it!)
The psalmist cries out, “Return, O LORD! How long? Have pity on your servants!” This reminds me of what my momma used to say when times would get too stressful/difficult when I was a kid. She would say, ” I sure wish Jesus would come back today and save us all!” I would protest, saying that I didn’t want Him to make His great return, because I still had a lot of things I wanted to do first. Now that I am a parent, struggling to raise my children in a world swirling with evil, I sometimes cry out, “Return, O Lord! How long?” Do you ever do that?
In the second reading, Paul tells us that “The word of God is living and effective,
sharper than any two-edged sword…” Sometimes, I fear that Catholics don’t value scripture as much as our fellow Christians do. It is the Word of God. The truths that God wanted to communicate to us are in this Sacred Book. It is God’s love letter to us. If we claim to love Him, wouldn’t we want to know more about Him? Wouldn’t we want to get to know Him intimately?
What does it mean to say that the bible is “living?” Though, as Catholics, we depend upon the Magisterium to interpret scripture for us, we can uncover new layers/depths each time we read a passage – depending upon where we are on our spiritual journey when we read it. It’s kind of like peeling back the layers of an onion. Occasionally, I will read a passage that I’ve already heard many times in my life, and see/learn something new from that same set of verses! I love those light bulb (Holy Spirit) moments!
How is scripture “effective?” Do you know that St. Augustine had a major conversion after reading this passage in the bible? “Not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual excess and lust, not in quarreling and jealousy. Rather, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.” –Romans 13: 13-14 Upon reading this, it was as though his soul was flooded with light. He turned at once from his very sinful life and became one of the most known and quoted saints of the Church. We should never underestimate the power of God’s Holy Word. For parents who have been praying for a child who has strayed from the faith, St. Aug’s story should give great hope. St. Monica prayed for her Son, Augustine’s, conversion for over 30 years! He opened the bible one day and BAM!
When reading the gospel of the rich young man, I used to think that it did not apply to me. I’ve never considered myself rich. I was raised in a hard-working middle-class family. These days, my husband and I both have to work to make ends meet for our family of five. When I think about all that I have been blessed with, however, I realize that I really am rich – and I’m not talking strictly about non-material things! All one has to do is turn on the world news and see the refugees living in tents, or the local homeless to realize how much one truly do has. I don’t think that I’m tied to my possessions. I think that I would be o.k. if I lost all of my stuff – now losing people – that’s a different story. “God alone suffices,” said St. Theresa of Avila, a very wise lady.
Some modern-day prophets say that God will soon simplify things for us greatly – that we will be brought back to our total dependence on Him. If that happens, it will surely be most uncomfortable – even painful – but it sounds like something that mankind really needs in order that souls not be lost for all eternity.
“Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.”