5 Scriptural Guides for Attaining Wisdom

Wisdom comes in handy when you have kids or grandkids who pepper you with tough questions about life. In more serious situations, wise judgements would have dramatic consequences in a families life. King Solomon had asked God for wisdom above everything else:

So God said to him: Because you asked for this—you did not ask for a long life for yourself, nor for riches, nor for the life of your enemies—but you asked for discernment to know what is right—I now do as you request. I give you a heart so wise and discerning that there has never been anyone like you until now, nor after you will there be anyone to equal you (1 Kings 3:11-12).

The Book of Wisdom describes the richness of this gift:

She [wisdom] knows the things of old, and infers the things to come. She understands the turns of phrases and the solutions of riddles; signs and wonders she knows in advance and the outcome of times and ages (Wis. 8:8).

St. Thomas Aquinas defined wisdom as “the direction of human affairs according to Divine rules”, teaching that it was distinct from book-knowledge and a gift of God:

The wisdom which is called a gift of the Holy Ghost, differs from that which is an acquired intellectual virtue, for the latter is attained by human effort, whereas the former is “descending from above” (James 3:15) (Summa II,II, Ques. 45, Art. 1)

Thomas also taught that while all who are in a state of grace have a measure of wisdom necessary for salvation, some will receive a “higher degree” of the gift. Scripture provides guidelines on how to attain this level of wisdom.

First, as Thomas stated, we must be in a state of grace. To this end we will want to stay close to the sacraments, especially confession:

Because into a soul that plots evil wisdom does not enter, nor does she dwell in a body under debt of sin (Wisdom 1:4).

Secondly, we must love and value Wisdom:

Resplendent and unfading is Wisdom, and she is readily perceived by those who love her, and found by those who seek her (Wis. 6:12).

Third, we must pray for it with faith:

But if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it. But he should ask in faith, not doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed about by the wind (James 1:5-6).

Fourth, we should be mindful of our mortality; life is short:

Seventy is the sum of our years, or eighty, if we are strong; most of them are toil and sorrow; they pass quickly, and we are gone. …Teach us to count our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart (Psalm 90:10-12).

Finally, we must shun pride and embrace humility to have wisdom:

When pride comes, disgrace comes; but with the humble is wisdom (Prov. 11:2).

God wants us to seek His wisdom:

For God loves nothing so much as the one who dwells with Wisdom (Wis. 7:28).

…rjt

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