How Must Wisdom be Loved?

On this second day of Christmas, what better thing than to meditate upon Wisdom whose birthday we have just celebrated and draw attention to the fact that He must be loved in the same four ways that the philosopher loves wisdom.

We might first begin with an allusion to the first O Antiphon.

O Wisdom that camest out of the mouth of the most high, reaching from end to end and ordering all things mightlily and sweetly, come and teach us the way of prudence.    (Ecclesiates 24: 5 and Wisdom 8, 1)

First we must love wisdom for its own sake. Quite simply if we loved wisdom for the sake of something else like money or power or honor, someone would quickly see that it was not wisdom that we loved but rather one of these other things. Similarly if we loved a woman not for her own sake but rather for the sake of say -her money, then she could quite correctly accuse us of not loving her but loving her money. To love wisdom for the sake of something else is a bit of an insult to wisdom.

Second given that we love wisdom for its own sake, it follows that we must love wisdom for its own sake more than other things that we love for their own sakes. For example we ought to love music for its own sake, but if we love music more than wisdom then we really are not lovers of wisdom.

Third, it follows that if we love wisdom more than anything else, therefore we must love wisdom as the end or purpose of our life. This needs no further explanation.

Fourth, because truth, and therefore pre-eminently wisdom,  is not a private good, therefore we must love wisdom for what it is – the good of all. In other words wisdom is a common good.

Pope Benedict XVI beautifully says (Dec 25, 2009 Vespers in St Peter’s Basilica):

The Christian professor, or a young Christian student, carries within him a passionate love for this Wisdom! He reads everything in her light; he finds Wisdom’s imprints in the elementary particles and in the verses of poets; in juridical codes and in the events of history; in works of art and in mathematical formulas.  Without Wisdom not anything was made that was made (cf. Jn 1:3) and therefore in every created reality one can see Wisdom reflected, clearly visible in different ways and degrees…”

and then he says,

“Dear friends, helping others to see the true face of God is the first form of love, which for you takes on the role of intellectual charity…”

Advertisements

About marklangley

Academic Dean at The Lyceum (a school he founded in 2003, see theLyceum.org) Mark loves sacred music and Gregorian Chant and singing with his lovely wife, Stephanie, and their twelve children.
This entry was posted in ad libitum, classical education, Science and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to How Must Wisdom be Loved?

  1. Samster says:

    What a great quote from Benedict XVI! Founding a classical school and teaching the liberal arts is surely a great work of “intellectual charity.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s