This is the first of the ‘O Antiphons’ which, in the early centuries of the Faith, the Church prayed on either side of the Magnificat at Vespers from 17 to 23 December. Each begins with invoking Christ, although he is never mentioned by name, but rather by his attributes, titles taken from the Old Testament: we begin with ‘Wisdom’ and move through others, including ‘root’ (of Jesse), ‘key’ and ‘Lord’. Ecclesiasticus 24:1-9 tells us that wisdom comes from the ‘mouth of the Most High’. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God’. God spoke the world into existence – he said ‘let there be light, and there was light’. We pray for light, especially in this the dark part of the year. We sit in the great darkness of this FallenWorld, and we hear words twisted by knaves to make fools of us all, and sometimes we long for light and silence.
It was into this great darkness that the Light came, and it was beneath the babble of this world that we hear the still, small voice calling us home; a voice of wisdom, of calmness and of mercy. We cannot illumine this blackness, nor have we the wisdom to find our way in it; there is no truth the fool says. Truth is a Person, the Word, the Wisdom of the Most High, and he teaches those who will hear. His is not a promise of worldly success or wealth, and he knew full well that those with those things were in danger of forgetting him and his precepts; in their pride they looked to themselves and their merits; but that is a delusion- the Word has spoken, and he tells us the wisdom known to a small child – trust your Father in Heaven. Though he appear at times as a burning fire, that is the refiner’s fire which burns away our impurities, and which gives light to the way we must travel.
Grant us wisdom, O Lord, that we might love you more deeply and follow you more faithfully.