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What does wisdom look like?

But if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it. (James 1:5)

What does wisdom look like?

Contemplation of eternal things

St. Augustine says that "action, by which we use temporal things well, differs from contemplation of eternal things; and the latter is reckoned to wisdom, the former to knowledge." (De Trinitate, XII.22) So wisdom is the contemplation of eternal things.

We are so caught up in the ephemeral and earthly, that only rarely do we rise our minds and hearts to the contemplation of eternal things, such as truth, beauty, and goodness. But the contemplation of heavenly things lifts and nurtures our soul in a way that ordinary action could never do. We are called to actio - action, but also to contemplatio - contemplation. It is only when we are engaged in both that we are becoming more fully human.

Centered on Christ

"Christ is our knowledge, and the same Christ is also our wisdom. He Himself implants in us faith concerning temporal things, He Himself shows forth the truth concerning eternal things." (St. Augustine, De Trinitate, XIII.19) Christ shows us how to look forward to eternal things, at the same time that he teaches us how to live our day-to-day lives. We should not separate our daily lives from our meditation and contemplation of spiritual goods. It is not acceptable to have a mask on when we go to church that we tear off the moment that we walk back out into the world. We are called to be focused on Christ in the totality of our lives.

Generosity of God

So what should we do when we are not focused primarily on Christ? We ask God the Father for help through prayer. God is more interested in our growth in holiness than we are. We often ask for silly or mundane things in our prayer time. Here is something that is great to request and that God is only too willing to give to us: true wisdom.

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