I’ve always been struck by the passage in the Gospel of St Luke which recounts the finding of the young Jesus in the Temple, and which we commemorate in the fifth Joyful Mystery of the holy Rosary. Pondering this Mystery, I often consider the idea of Divine Wisdom in the Person of Jesus and how this same Wisdom is also one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (the other six being fear of the Lord, knowledge, piety, fortitude, counsel and understanding).
In this passage, following the feast of Passover, Mary and Joseph realise that Jesus is not with the group travelling home; returning to Jerusalem, which they have just left –
‘they found Him in the Temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions; and all those who heard Him were astonished at His intelligence and His replies’ (cf Lk2:46-48).
Even at this young age, Jesus is filled with wisdom – to the extent that much older teachers of the Law are surprised at what He understands and what He knows; so much so that they are said to be ‘astonished’, which is a strong word to use.
This episode is very much about the wisdom of the Lord; but much later in this same Gospel, we learn of another two episodes, where that wisdom is shared.
The first concerns the disciples on the road to Emmaus. Jesus has walked with them but they have not recognised Him until He breaks bread with them – and then vanishes from their sight. They ask –
“Did our hearts not burn within us as He explained the Scriptures to us?” (cf Lk24:32)
The second concerns the Apostles themselves. Gathered together following the Resurrection, they are talking with the disciples who have just met the Lord, when He appears and stands among them and talks with them. Jesus notes the fulfilment of all that has been written about Him in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms. The Gospel then tells us that –
‘He then opened their minds to understand the Scriptures’ (cf Lk24:45).
In other words, He gives them the gift of His own Wisdom.
One of the joys of the Scriptures is that we have a sure guide in understanding them because of this giving of Divine Wisdom, given to the Lord’s Mystical Body, His Church. We can be sure and certain that She will correctly interpret the meaning and mysteries in the Scriptures, as the Lord has granted Her this gift. This saves us no end of problems, not least of all the danger of error and subjectivity. We can rely on the Church and on Her teaching authority, which comes from the Lord Himself.
The Scriptures are incredibly beautiful and give us so many points for prayer and meditation – from the deep beauty of the Psalms, to the words of the Apostles and St Paul. And all of this balanced by the sure teaching and interpretation of the Church down through the centuries and into our own day.
“Nothing is more consoling than to know divine Wisdom. Happy are those who listen to Him; happier still are those who desire Him and seek Him; but happiest of all are those who keep His laws. Their hearts will be filled with that infinite consolation which is the joy and happiness of the Eternal Father and the glory of the Angels (cf. Prov. 2:1-9)”
– St Louis Marie de Montfort, ‘The Love Of Eternal Wisdom’