The gift of wisdom is the first gift of the Holy Spirit listed in Isaiah 11. I'm sure we each have our own idea of what constitutes wisdom, but when I think of a wise person, I often picture someone who is advanced in years and experience. I remember my grandfather who grew up in Wisconsin, raised his siblings during the Great Depression, moved across the country to California to work for his father, fought in a war, took over the family business, married my grandmother (who seriously looked like a movie star), drank beers with the astronauts who first landed on the moon, raised an incredible legacy of children and grandchildren and great grandchildren, made everyone feel important wherever he went, suffered through diabetes and kidney failure and continued to live, never ceased displaying unmatched generosity, and who, finally, passed away peacefully in the grace of our Lord. His funeral drew the attendance of local deli workers, restaurant managers and servers, our dentist, an estranged neighbor who we hadn't seen in years, and countless family and friends.
He exuded wisdom. He also exuded happiness and a love of life that drew people to him naturally. I'm sure many of you relate. No doubt there is at least one person in your life who fits the definition of having wisdom: "the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight"
Naturally, the longer we are on this earth and the more that we experience, the more we grow in our knowledge of right and wrong, just judgment, and discernment ‐ usually through trial and error and success and failure. So is this standard definition of wisdom different than the gift of wisdom from the Holy Spirit?
In short, yes! While the above example and definition are true, many of us also know someone who doesn't seem to fit the mold; yet we still know they are wise. We sometimes describe an individual like this as "wise beyond her years." Well, what makes their wisdom different? What makes the gift of wisdom different?
Pope Francis recently said this:
"This is wisdom: it is the grace of being able to see everything with the eyes of God...This gift comes from intimacy with God...This is, however, not in the sense that he or she has an answer for everything, or knows everything, but in the sense that he or she "knows" of God, how God acts. They know when something is of God and when it is not."
Have you ever met someone who seems to have this gift of wisdom as opposed to our regular human understanding of wisdom? Usually these people are sought after for comfort, advice, conversation, and friendship. They seem to have a greater stability and peace about them because they constantly shift perspective to see "through the eyes of God."
Now I don't know about you, but I would love to grow in this kind of wisdom. The good news is it's a gift ‐ there is nothing we do to earn the gift of wisdom. However, Pope Francis encourages us to ask the Lord to give us His Holy Spirit and the gift of wisdom! He says:
"It is a gift that God gives to those who are docile to His Holy Spirit. If we listen to him he teaches us this path of wisdom, he gifts us wisdom which is seeing with God's eyes, listening with God's ears, loving with God's heart, judging things with God's judgment. These are the things that Holy Spirit gifts us, and we can all have this. We just have to ask the Holy Spirit. And with this wisdom we can move forward, build the family, the Church and we can all be sanctified."
So let us ask God for this gift today. Let us invite the Holy Spirit into our hearts and ask for the grace to be open. And lastly, let us ask our most Blessed Mother, the Seat of Wisdom, to grant us this petition and intercede for us.
Come Holy Spirit, enlighten my heart, that I may see the things that are of God.
Come Holy Spirit, into my mind that I may know the things that are of God.
Come Holy Spirit, into my soul, that I may belong only to God.
Sanctify all that I think, say, and do, that all may be for the glory of God.
Pope Francis' teaching: http://www.catholic.org/news/international/europe/story.php?id=54889