February 24, 2014 - Monday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

James 3:13-18
Psalm 19:8-10, 15
Mark 9:14-29

St. James speaks today of the humility of wisdom. What is the humility of wisdom? It can be easily seen by looking first at its opposite: the pride of fools. So many people, whether on television or Facebook or among friends, loudly and assuredly speak on topics which they do not understand. Two kinds of people are absolutely sure: someone who after years of study has reached a few limited conclusions and someone who does not know the first thing that they are talking about.

Even when we can be absolutely sure, wisdom still insists on humility. I am sure that it is wrong to kill a baby, whether it has been born or not, and I believe that maturity and study has not made me less confident in this belief but more. Humility will never make me question whether perhaps circumstances can exist where killing a child is a good thing, but humility, the humility of wisdom, does make me cautious. Those who are ignorant of the great evil of killing are not pure evil themselves. There are probably people who work at Planned Parenthood who genuinely, although wrongly, are trying to do good.

Humble wisdom comes from God. The wisdom from heaven is first of all pure since no lie can be a part of wisdom. It is peaceful, not violent even when faced with uncontrollable foolishness. It is gentle, not pushy or sarcastic or mean-spirited or rude. It listens to others, and can be convinced that it was wrong or misunderstood some aspect of the question. It is full of mercy, because we realize that we are sinners in need of mercy. It bears good fruits, spreading truth and righteousness in the world. It is without partiality: it does not favor any conclusion in the search for truth. It is without hypocrisy: there is no hidden agenda.

This kind of wisdom comes only from God. It is a supernatural gift of the Holy Spirit. We cannot learn to be wise. We cannot fake such profound wisdom. We would go wrong in one direction or another: being unsure of what is true or being certain of our own opinions. If Christians could work no miracle except to be wise with this gift of the Holy Spirit, that would be convincing to the world. If we would let God give us this gift, letting go of personal opinions and prideful confidence, we would be shining examples to the world.