Thursday, December 15, 2011

Intellect versus Wisdom

In recent years I have followed the goings on over at Father Tim Moyle's blog, Where the Rubber Hits the Road.  There have been a number of commenters, almost to the one thoughtful people, who have something to say either supporting an item linked on Father Tim's site, or raising a criticism of something read.

One of the most frequent and verbal of the commenters is a man named Martin, s former classmate of Father Tim's at the St. Peter's Seminary in London, Ontario, who one would therefor expect to be Catholic in his beliefs and comments.  Such is not the case, and Martin, well versed in the words of scripture always seems to have an axe to grind.  He is frankly better versed than yours truly, and generally raises interesting arguments.

A while back, he felt that verses in the bible about Jesus commenting on the end times proved that Jesus could not be God, since he apparently erred in Martin's humble opinion.  We went back and forth for some time, and I thought he made good points, though I felt they were erroneous.  One thing that was never mentioned is that the books of the Bible were not produced in the time of Jesus, but 30 years later or so, which gives one pause.  Jesus did not stand beside Matthew, Mark, Luke or John, and say: "Take this down.  This is good."  They also had the benefit of about 30 years of seeing how what they understood Jesus to have said played out, if it did.

But, the bigger issue for me is one I took umbrage with Martin on.  I believe that he possesses a great deal of intelligence, or intellect, but is lacking in wisdom.

Being an atheist in our times is a very difficult task, and requires one to undertake machinations to prove the unprovable, which of course, is what atheists say about Christians.  But, beyond the words of the Bible, there are instances, and many of them protracted, where the Blessed Virgin Mary is appearing to people around the world, and communicating with them in no uncertain terms.  As well, Jesus has appeared to many as well, and has shared His Heart with them.

Christians and non believers, are not required to believe in these things, but prudence requires us to at least examine them for their veracity.  The appearances of Mary at places like Garabandal in Spain, Fatima in Portugal, have borne much fruit, as people have been drawn into a greater commitment to life in Christ.

One of the most interesting recent phenomena is the communications purported to be between Jesus himself, and Vassula Ryden, which took place over more than 15 years, and have been published, with a letter from a Catholic Bishop indicating that reading and meditating on this book is spiritually beneficial to all, and in no way contravenes Catholic Church teaching.  The book also contains dialogue between Vassula and the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, where questions were asked and satisfactory answers provided.

But, this particular book, True Life in God, at page 419 had an insight into what I thought was going on between Martin and the things he rails against.  It differentiates between Wisdom and Intellect.

Vassula asks the Lord: "Give us the Wisdom then to imitate You."

Jesus responded in kind: "Wisdom is given to mere children; unless they seek Me in simplicity of heart, Wisdom shall not be given to them and as long as their intellect is at work, Wisdom will remain hidden and as a riddle to them."

She then prays as follows:"Tear away, Lord, their intellect so that they may at last see with their eyes Your Beauty and Your Splendour!"

Jesus says: "little heart, pray for them then; pray in these godless times; let your prayers be like blended incense;"

"pray that I may give them back their sight; pray that I may go over to them and wake them up from their everlasting sleep; pray, My little one, you who had the Law brought to you by Me; and directed by My Holy Spirit, pray that they die to their sin and resurrect to Holiness, Love and Faith; and if there are any wise men, let them show their wisdom by their simplicity of heart towards Me, their zeal to all that is holy, and by their ardour to draw souls to Me; may all these things be done with humility and love; remember that if you do not get what you ask it is because you do not pray hard enough and with your heart;"

You can improve your intellect by studying, reading, even watching certain things, but you cannot get Wisdom that way.  Wisdom cannot be chased.  Wisdom comes from submission, even a tiny bit of submission.  Wisdom, once it starts to have its way with us can grow and blossom.

When our intellect is allowed to be in the driver's seat, we limit what we can understand and what we can accomplish.  We claim certain things to be factual, where they are only opinions, and incomplete understandings.  Wisdom has no such bounds, because it is not from us, and not about us.

Intellect is about what we know, what we have seen, what we have interpreted.  As such it is very limited; yet we rely on it to guide us.

We cannot bring another to Wisdom, but we can pray for that person to be visited by Wisdom, and if we are to pray and seek an answer to our prayer, then the admonition of Jesus to pray hard enough and with our hearts is essential.

Many have wandered away from the faith we profess; many of whom once made the same professions.  They have been deluded by intellect, not Wisdom, and that matters.  Pray that all those who have wandered far from home, would be visited by Wisdom, and would receive it so that they may turn their hearts towards home.

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