The Good News is that we do have wisdom and we do have access to God. While we will never have 100% certainty of most of our decisions in this life, we were given the gift of wisdom when we were confirmed and we have access to God at all times through prayer. Difficult choices do not go away when we pray, but we can turn to God and ask for His assistance in gaining some insights or simply the ability to be at peace with a situation, entrusting it into His care. The Bible is full of stories of people begging God to help them in times of trouble so that they know which way to turn or how to understand a situation which is beyond them. Therefore it seems to me that needing God’s help is not unique to our generation. It is part of the human condition that we struggle with the unknown or with a situation that may feel insurmountable.
The cloud which appeared and descended upon them was the Shekinah, which is the protective, glorious presence of the Spirit of God, also associated with wisdom. Jesus was revealed as the Son of God standing in the midst of the cloud, the voice of the Father came forth from the cloud, and the cloud itself was the Shekinah, God’s Holy Spirit. The manifestation of the Shekinah was nothing really new. Throughout the Old Testament the Shekinah was visible at times, such as when the pillar of fiery cloud led the people from Egypt into the Promised Land. The guidance of that cloud can be seen as Wisdom, in that it was not really Moses who was guiding the people, it was the glorious Spirit of God. It was the same glorious Spirit of God, Wisdom, which was seen on Mt. Tabor when Jesus transfigured in front of His three friends.
If Jesus needed to consult with the Spirit, then it should not surprise us that we need this, too. And while we do not need to climb Mt. Tabor in order to hear God’s word, we do have similar access to it. We have the gift of intimacy with God because we have the ability to pray. This gift needs to be developed; just as Moses did not go up the mountain and become enveloped in cloud upon his first meeting with God, we need to grow in relationship with God through our prayer. But our access to the Wisdom of God is no less than his or even that of Jesus. We can approach God any minute of the day or night and He is there. We also have access to the Wisdom of God through the Scriptures and the sacraments. While we receive the gift of wisdom at our Confirmation, we have the Eucharist offered continually in which we can immerse ourselves in the presence of Jesus and therefore have access to Wisdom.
Therefore it is in the Body of Christ that we have fullest access to the wisdom, power, mercy, and love of God. The Eucharist becomes our Shekinah, the glorious, protective presence of God. It is the cloud, so to speak, into Whose midst we are enveloped. When we receive the Eucharist we are present with Moses on the mountain, we are present as the manna rains down, when Jesus is transfigured, when He gives us His body and blood at the Last Supper, when He dies on the cross and when He is gloriously resurrected. We are present as one body in the Eucharist and so all our joys and blessings, pains, suffering, woundedness, brokenness, uncertainty, loneliness, grief, questions, doubts, and fears are also joined together with Him. We bring all of who we are into the Eucharist and into the Shekinah, the glory and protection of God. And we are transfigured in this experience, even if after we receive we seem to be alone as the apostles found themselves after Jesus’ transfiguration ended. Afterward they were still with Jesus as they always knew Him, and so too are we.
May we come to know Holy Wisdom by entering into prayer! May the gifts we have been given in the sacraments be enlivened! May we trust in God’s protective and merciful presence with us! May we entrust our cares and concerns to the Lord who is ever by our side! May we be witnesses to the wisdom and love of God through our love of others! May we feel welcomed at the Eucharistic table and come to know we are indeed one in the Lord! And may we be transfigured with Jesus as we seek to grow in holiness, that we may glorify Him by our lives! Let us continue to meet in the heart of Jesus where all wisdom and love dwells. Peace!
©Michele L. Catanese
Note: The Book of Wisdom is filled with beautiful passages about what wisdom is like and has some lovely prayers for wisdom. I recommend reading this book to reflect upon the description of wisdom contained in it. An example of a prayer one might take from the book is this: “Give me wisdom, the attendant at your throne and reject me not from among your children…. Send her forth from your holy heavens and from your glorious throne dispatch her that she may be with me and work with me, that I may know what is your pleasure.” (Wisdom 9:4,10)
The first photo is mine. It was taken in northern Italy near Oropa. I was on Mt. Mucrone facing one of the small mountains nearby.
Next is a painting Bl. Fra Angelico, The Transfiguration.
Next is an icon by Fr. William Hart McNichols called Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom) It can be found at http://www.fatherbill.org/all-categories/product/282-hagia-sophia
Next is another painting by Bl. Fra Angelico who is obviously one of my favorite painters: Communion of The Apostles. It can be found at http://www.wikiart.org/en/fra-angelico/communion-of-the-apostles-1452
The last photo is one of mine. It was taken atop Copper Mountain, a view of the surrounding mountains.
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