Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"Happy the man who finds wisdom"

Please sign up for The Great Adventure!! If you or someone you know is interested in TGA Bible Study, please sign up today. You can register up until March 2, but we will be placing the order for the materials tomorrow and it would help us to have all the registrations in. So far, over 30 people have registered. You can register by sending me an email (gshaffer@adwparish.org) saying that you are interested in the Bible study.
In my homily at Mass this morning, I made the point that the more I read Sacred Scripture, the more I find the answers to people’s questions. Well, maybe the passages from Scripture don’t fully answer people’s questions, but they certainly provide more understanding and authority than anything I say! I was especially thinking of questions on this site from bloggers as I’ve been reading through the Book of Proverbs recently. One passage (Prov 3: 11-12) in particular addressed questions about suffering:

“The discipline of the Lord, my son, disdain not;
spurn not his reproof;
For whom the Lord loves he reproves,
and he chastises the son he favors”.

This is identical to a passage from the Book of Judith (8:27) that I’m almost certain I’ve posted here before: “It is by way of admonition that (the Lord) chastises those who are close to him”. And, the passage from Proverbs is recalled exactly in Hebrews 12: 5-6. God reveals throughout Sacred Scripture that He disciplines those He loves. We shouldn’t hate the suffering or chastisement or reproof that comes from God because they are all signs that He loves us!

Now, I understand that this is a hard concept to grasp, indeed. But, please keep in mind that it is under the heading of Wisdom. God reveals true Wisdom to us in Sacred Scripture! In fact, here are the lines that follow the above passage in Proverbs:

“Happy the man who finds wisdom,
the man who gains understanding!
For her profit is better than profit in silver,
and better than gold is her revenue;
she is more precious than corals,
and none of your choice possessions can compare with her
” (13-15).

In different places in the Gospel – such as today’s Gospel (Mk 9:30-37) - Jesus holds up children as the model for us to follow when it comes to faith. One of the best things about children is that they trust what their parents tell them. They trust that their parents are telling them the truth and they follow it. I can already hear the comments from some bloggers: “Father, you’re obviously not talking about my kids!”. This doesn’t apply to all kids all of the time, but by and large, what our Lord says about children is true: parents instill wisdom in their children and children accept it.

We are to be the same with the wisdom God has instilled in us through Sacred Scripture (and Sacred Tradition). The above passages, then, are Wisdom speaking to us about suffering. When we enter into relationship with God, we can expect some level of discipline via suffering. When we can recognize this discipline, we then use Wisdom to know that it is a sign of God’s love for us! For those who don’t accept the lesson of Wisdom from Proverbs and Judith, God has given an even greater lesson: His Son’s Passion and Death. He allows him to suffer tremendously, and yet has infinite love for His Son. Suffering, then, is a sign of God’s love for His Son and anyone who imitates the Son in taking up their cross. The Cross is a gift!

If we, as children of God, can simply accept what our Father reveals to us in Sacred Scripture, then we can begin to grow in wisdom and understanding.


At 1:16 PM, Blogger CynthiaBC said...

"I can already hear the comments from some bloggers: 'Father, you’re obviously not talking about my kids!'. "

Well, here's my comment!

From the time she was very young, my husband and I spent time teaching our daughter "c" important things that would stand her in good stead later in life, such as Sounds Animals Make.

One afternoon, when c was about a year old, I took her for a wagon ride around the neighborhood. We approached a yard with a small white dog.

Me: (pointing at the dog) Look, sweetie! What do you see?
c: Dog!
Me: Good job! What does a dog say?
c: WOOF!
Me: That's right, honeypot!
Small White Dog: Squeak! Squeak!
c: *gasp*

c turned to look at me with a shocked expression on her face. This dog did NOT say woof! She had been lied to!

I tried explaining that SOME, not ALL dogs say woof. But it was too late: c had developed a skepticism of parental wisdom.

Ever since I don't think she believes half of what I say.

At 1:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know the Angels,Saints, Our Lady and Our Lord are helping me. But how much suffering should one take on, when they have control over the pain of this gift.(the cross.)

At 2:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My mom and I bump heads regarding my eldest son (he’s 21). I’ve always joked that she had both access and influence but if she didn’t influence him the way I saw fit, she wouldn’t have much access. Anyway, she recently gave him a GC for a manicure and subscription to GQ. Now for those men who like those things, that’s fine- but for a long time I was a single mom who was pretty measured in overwhelming my son with feminine virtues and sensibilities (so the girly stuff seemed way weird). I could not teach him how to be a man, but I did give him a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” upbringing that I think is often taught via our dads.

When we’d take my son to the park, I’d say, “Let’s see how high you can swing,” while my mom would say, “Oh- be careful!” If he ran and fell, I’d say, “Shake it off,” while my mom would bandage and kiss every boo-boo. She didn’t love him more. I loved him enough to let him fall so that he’d learn it was okay to fall- he’d be okay. Furthermore, I taught my son that when he’s down, there will be a hand extended to lift him up; he just needs to reach out. In thinking about it, it’s funny to me that I consider this a masculine, “fatherly” way of thinking, and I definitely see it as an expression of love and care. Yet, I’ve struggled a lot with understanding the purpose in suffering and seeing it as a loving expression rather than punishment.

At 3:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But how much suffering should one take on, when they have control over the pain of this gift."

I don't understand what you are saying.


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