Sunday, December 2, 2018

Met Ephrem (Kyriakos): Divine Wisdom

Arabic original here.

Divine Wisdom

"Happy is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understanding" (Proverbs 3:13). The wisdom here is not philosophical wisdom; it is divine wisdom. It is not only intellectual understanding, but rather it is also an understanding that comes from God. It comes from the nearness of the breath of the Spirit who is from God: "the Spirit of understanding, the Spirit of wisdom."

What is the spiritual life, other than that which is according to the Spirit of God and not according to the spirit of the world? The Apostle and Evangelist John says, "Do not love the world or the things in the world... For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life... the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever" (1 John 2:15-17).

The Evangelist John himself says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son so that whosoever believes in Him may not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). And so divine wisdom came into the world to reconcile love for the sinful world with lack of love for its sin. It came to set this balance, this condescension between the world of God and the world of man.

Divine wisdom, the Wisdom of Solomon the Wise, says, "All the words of my mouth are with righteousness; Nothing crooked or perverse is in them. They are all plain to him who understands, and right to those who find knowledge. I will teach you what is true so that you may rely upon the Lord and be filled with spirit."
As for the divine wisdom of Solomon regarding the righteous one who departs this earthly life suddenly, "The righteous man, though he die early, will be at rest.There was one who pleased God and was loved by him, and while living among sinners he was taken up. He was caught up lest evil change his understanding or guile deceive his soul... Being perfected in a short time, he fulfilled long years... the peoples saw and did not understand, nor take such a thing to heart, that God's grace and mercy are with his elect, and he watches over his holy ones."

Finally, he says in the Book of Wisdom of Solomon the Wise, "Against wisdom evil does not prevail and so I loved her and sought her from my youth, and I desired to take her for my bride, and I became enamored of her beauty...  her labors are virtues; for she teaches self-control and prudence, justice and courage... so I appealed to the Lord and besought him, and with my whole heart I said: 'Give me the wisdom that sits on Your throne... that I may learn what is pleasing to You. For she knows and understands all things, and she will guide me wisely in my actions and guard me with her glory...'"
Here wisdom is nothing other than the living word of God found in the Gospel: the Good News is a rational, verbal icon.

The Apostle Paul says in his Epistle to the Romans, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16). With it, God's power becomes my power; His wisdom, my wisdom; His word, my word; and His love, my love.

Metropolitan of Tripoli, al-Koura and their Dependencies

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