Friday, January 28, 2011

Wisdom And Understanding

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. A good understanding to all that do it: his praise continueth for ever and ever. ~Psalm 110/111:10

There are some subtly profound differences between wisdom and understanding. Along with knowledge, they are all gifts of the Holy Spirit. However, knowledge and understanding has more to do with having certain facts and having an intellectual grasp of those facts. Wisdom on the other hand has more to do with knowing what to do with our knowledge and understanding and then going out and doing it. Scripture tells us: "For wisdom will enter your heart, knowledge will please your soul, discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you." (Proverbs 2: 8~11)
St Thomas Aquinas, whose feast we celebrate today, knew and lived this. It is often said of Thomas that he realized, in all its fullness, the Dominican ideal: to contemplate and then give to others the fruit of this contemplation. He knew that all of his knowledge and understanding could not be fruitful with out prayer. St Thomas certainly knew much, but more importantly he prayed much.
While Aquinas is one of those saints I have not had much experience in reading, I can take this little bit from him. All of us, as Christians are called to bear fruit for God's Kingdom; we cannot do that without beginning with prayer. Whether it be our blogs, ministries in which we serve, or simply sharing our faith with another in conversation, we need to begin with prayer. We cannot give what we do not have, as the saying goes.
So if nothing else, let us at least take this little lesson from this giant of a saint. Let us ask St Thomas for his intercession in praying for the grace and gifts of knowledge and understanding of our faith and the wisdom of practicing it in a way that will bear fruit for God's Kingdom here on earth.
St Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.
Fr.Robert Barron has a good post and video on this saint and Doctor of the Church.


Colleen said...

Amen! Love this post. I find St Thomas Aquinas fascinating because he was so intellectual but then he had a vision and said all of his writing was so much "straw." I often think of that when I am trying to stay in my head rather than my heart.
And I need that reminder about always praying before I do something. Thanks. Hugs and God bless!

Karinann said...

Thanks Colleen. I kind of laughed when I read about Thomas' vision of his writing being so much straw- I've been feeling a bit like that about my own writing lately and I'm no Aquinas!
Hugs back.

Closing Prayer

Psalm 45: Canticle of Love to the King

My heart overflows with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.

Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One,
In Your splendor and Your majesty!
And in Your majesty ride on victoriously,
For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
Let Your right hand teach You awesome things.
Your arrows are sharp;
The peoples fall under You;
Your arrows are in the heart of the King’s enemies.

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of joy above Your fellows.
All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad.
Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.