In many of our Eastern Catholic liturgies there are distinctions from the Roman liturgy in several areas such as… chant, incense, icons, bells, etc. I point this out because on occasion I have attended the celebration of the Eastern Rite Catholic liturgy in mostly the Byzantine tradition. I have a great respect for their ritual and attentiveness to God’s Word and Holy Communion. Their liturgy is almost entirely in chant. It proceeds at an even, deliberate pace and you truly have to focus in order to understand their gestures, actions and words.
Throughout their liturgy you will hear the words, “Wisdom, let us be attentive.” This is said to help call the gathered assembly to a deep focused attention as to what will come next. These words also announce the proclamation of the readings. “Wisdom, let us be attentive,” signifies that God is speaking to us through His Word. “Wisdom” is a more powerful word than we might first believe.
This “wisdom” is God who is always available to us. It is more than just knowledge, understanding or a comprehension of God, but rather the ability to take what is known and then apply it to our lives. It is the practice of incorporating the “wisdom” given to our everyday life situations so that the Kingdom of God will be made present to us.
In today’s world, our highly technological, easily accessed information highway often meant to fulfill the desire for immediate results, does not always fit the “wisdom” that we are able to receive and give. When we pray for “wisdom” we are really asking for the gift to help us maneuver through life. If you have “wisdom” you have all you really need in life. “Wisdom” will direct us as to how to behave, how to make good decisions, and how a person should act… in essence how to live. “Wisdom” is that grace that helps keep us calm in tumultuous, and difficult situations.
Why this talk about “wisdom?” It is because today in our first reading, we learn that Solomon is intelligent beyond his years. He asks not for an accumulation of riches, or honor, nor the lives of his enemy but rather to be able to navigate through life knowing what is best for the people of God. He asks for the “wisdom” to understand the landscape and life situations of his people so that the right decisions will be made for the betterment of all. I would say that Solomon was wise to ask for this gift and did receive “wisdom” in return… “wisdom” breeds more “wisdom!”