There is quite a difference between delight and indulge, or entertain. Delight has a sense of depth which is a stirring of the soul. Entertain and indulge have more to do with our senses and minds. A talkative Jesuit companion of mine and I visited the statue of The David in Florence, Italy years ago. Upon seeing it, for fifteen minutes, he was struck speechless as delight surpassed his senses and comprehension. Did he enjoy it; was it entertaining, did he indulge his senses? Words failed him then and a bit now in describing what was received.
We can prepare for this celebration of the Trinity this week by taking time to delight our souls into speechless praising or nodding of heads, or simple acceptance of who and what is around us. We can pray with how each of us is sent and meant to be a delight to others in our little ways. In scripture we read that God takes delight in us. Imagine that, we delight God and so we can pray about our mission to be a delight to others.
This kind of prayer is real and a wonderful preparation for allowing the Eucharist and all of God’s gifts to delight our souls beyond words to describe it all.
The Book of Proverbs, from which we take the First Reading for this liturgy, is an Owners Manual for the Jewish mind, heart and hands. All the chapters tell the reader about a spirit of right living for those in the Jewish families and communities. Some proverbs seem cute and clever, but the sincerely religious follower of the Holy Law, would find comfort in the little hints these proverbs were offering.
There are sayings for almost every occasion, a sort of greeting-card store presentation. They are actually centered around discipline, restraint, just judgment, and relational sensitivity. They answer the big question, “WWMDN” (What would Moses do now?) They are meant for the young, the searching, the ignorant, and those who wish to understand the sayings of the sages and Jewish elders.
We hear just a few verses of the personification of Wisdom. This eighth chapter opens with a few lines questioning whether Wisdom speaks in the places of human living. So She announces Herself to the fools and ignorant who do not know how it is to live properly in relationships with others and so with God as well. She says that She has serious things to say. What we do hear today is Her strong statement about Her place with God which was from before time, before creation itself.
We listen to a poetic presentation of how Wisdom assisted the creation of all things as narrated in Genesis. When God saw that all was created as good and that the creation of humans was “very good”, Wisdom is saying that She too found delight in the “human race”.
What we are offered in these verses is an affirmation of the goodness of creation and of ourselves so that we reverence and use well the particulars of that creation. Discernment, discretion, reverence, and worship all have to do with our being made aware of the absolute giftedness of creation and especially our own, in which God takes “delight”. Wisdom is God wanting to be known. She, Wisdom, is God’s love for creation making sure we don’t miss the main events of that same divine embrace. We would be the “fools” and “ignorant” if left to our own limited perceptions, but She, Wisdom, plays on the surfaces of things so that we see more wisely, “the deep down things” around us.
“We believe in one God, the Father almighty.” “We believe in Jesus Christ His only-begotten Son, our Lord.” “We believe in the Holy Spirit.” Now that’s a mouthful! This is a tremendous mystery which is surpassed only by the mystery of why people try to explain it.
So here goes. In today’s Gospel John pictures Jesus as confiding that He reverences the inability of His closest followers to understand clearly all that He is and has been about. The “Spirit of truth” will continue to and continuously reverence the readiness-time for these truths to be digested. Readiness is all and Jesus is encouraging His followers to be ready. That to which the followers are called is beyond the physical validation provided by Jesus Himself. Possession of something physical reduces readiness, reduces appetite. There is to be no clinging to, or possessing Jesus so that faith is reduced as a relational expression.
Believe it or not; like it or not, the great gift of God to us is longing. The wonderful mystery of this God is not so much that there are three relational Persons who are distinct, yet co-equal and co-eternal, but rather, that this triune God knows us and delights in us and delights us, but just to a certain point, a threshold which allows us to reach, but not grasp, to long, but not have. So Jesus came to us according to us and leaves us “hanging” or desiring more. The gift of the Third Person, the Spirit is to aid us in our being humanly longing for God in the delights and disappointments of our lives. God reverences our hearts and its ways. We want God in the enjoyment of everything we wish would not end. All things end, as soon this Reflection will, and the end is the beginning of the beyond toward which the Spirit leads us in truth. Yes, there is also this human desire for it all and right now! The Spirit tells us also, deep in our hearts and not merely in our heads, that the “all” and the “now” would never be enough. So “longing” is the beginning to “belonging”. Good going God! You know us better than we know ourselves!
“O Lord our God, how wonderful Your name in all the earth!” Ps. 8, 4-5
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