by Linda Kracht
God is the Blessed Trinity made up of three Divine Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The first person of the Blessed Trinity is Our Father the Creator. He is not the Son or the Spirit. We pray to Him when we say the Our Father. He is humanized by artists who paint an old man with a long, white, flowing beard and hair and surrounded by saints and angels. This humanization of the Creator was encouraged by His Son, Jesus, who wants us to see the First Person as our Father and so taught us to call him Father. And so we pray to Him using the very words of Jesus - Our Father who art in Heaven… This prayer helps us to see and feel the Creator in very endearing terms - caring, extraordinary yet touchable, and His beloved.
The second person of the Trinity is the Son. He is our Savior. He is not the Father or the Holy Spirit. We call him Jesus. He is the one we can most easily identify with because He became human for our sakes while not abandoning His Divine privilege. And He did that for our sakes. It is hard to imagine - yet easily imagined if we dwell on it - how much humility and love would be required to take on the lowest form of a person. To some of us that could mean being willing to become a street beggar or the person of the lowest rung of any caste system found in our world. The suffering would be intense as would be the humiliation. Yet, Jesus did it willingly for our sakes. What LOVE!
The third person of the Blessed Trinity is the Infuser of Seven Gifts: wisdom, understanding,
counsel, knowledge, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord. He teaches us how to pray. He is also not the Father or the Son. Clearly, the Holy Spirit is the most mysterious of the Blessed Mystery.
The above foundational beliefs are gleaned from the Catechism; they become very significant and important as we describe God but words still fail to capture the essence of the mystery of the Blessed Trinity. That essence lies far beyond our intelligent understandings and human perspectives. Yet, when we meditate on the Mystery itself, we give praise to the Almighty Mystery. It becomes our open admission to being a beloved creature of the Creator. In light of that statement, let’s mediate about the Holy Spirit (recommended by today’s Mass homilist) using today’s reading from The Book of Wisdom 7:22b-8:1.
It describes Wisdom as “A spirit, intelligent, holy, unique, Manifold, subtle, agile, clear, unstained, certain. Not baneful, loving the good, keen, unhampered, beneficent, kindly, firm, secure, tranquil, all-powerful, all-seeing. Pervading all spirits, though they be intelligent, pure and very subtle. Wisdom is mobile beyond all motion; she penetrates and pervades all things by reason of her purity. For she is an aura of the might of God and a pure effusion of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nought that is sullied enters into her. She is the refulgence of the eternal light; the spotless mirror of the power of God, the image of his Goodness. And she who is one, can do all things, and renews everything while herself perduring. She produces friends of God and prophets. For she is fairer than the sun and surpasses every constellation of the stars. Compared to light, she takes precedence for that indeed, night supplants but wickedness prevails not over Wisdom. She reaches from end to end mightily and governs all things well.”
Whether the reading is describing the Spirit or the spirit (grace) of God matters not simply because Wisdom comes from God, it describes God and therefore can it can be said that it is the Spirit of God.
What do the various words mean in this reading? Spirit can mean one’s soul or the qualities that form one’s character or essence (our ethos). The latter seems the most fitting definition to apply to the first verse. Therefore, the opening verses seem to suggest that when combined with intelligence and holiness Wisdom is unique and capable of manifesting itself in many different ways and forms (manifold). Wisdom is subtle, agile, clear and sure. Wisdom does not seek evil but loves the good. It penetrates to the core; it is kind, secure, peaceful.
The tone of the words used seem to begin describing Wisdom - the Holy Spirit- rather than just wisdom - the virtue and the grace imparted to all holy souls. When we repeat the words, it feels as if we are giving praise to the Holy Spirit. We are acknowledging that He is all powerful and all seeing, all penetrating, a pure light; the aura of the might of God, the refulgence (shining brightly) of eternal light; able to do all things. Wisdom renews everything (a petition few actually ask for in the Come Holy Spirit prayer) while herself perduring (remaining in existence). She is fairer than anything created - fairer than Sun and the stars and the arrangement of the heavens. She is more than light which gives way to night and darkness (here darkness infers evil). The passage declares that Wisdom always prevails over evil and darkness (wickedness); she governs all things well and mightily.
How great is Wisdom and wisdom! Yes, you readers have just given thanks for the gift and the Gift (the Holy Spirit). Amen! Amen!