O Antiphons – December 17th – O Wisdom

O Wisdom, proceeding from the mouth of the Most High,
Pervading and permeating all creation,
Mightily ordering all things:
Come and teach us the way of prudence.

In proverbs Solomon advises us, “The beginning of wisdom is this: get wisdom.” What he means is that wisdom begins with the desire for and determination to have wisdom. It is recognizing that one does not have wisdom in himself and that one desperately needs it. This antiphon prays for exactly that. Further it also recognizes where the true and full wisdom comes from.

Proverbs 8 teaches us that Christ is wisdom personified. This is the same as John 1 saying that Jesus is the Word made flesh. For it is the mouth of the Lord which pours forth wisdom (Proverbs 2:6) and it is on “every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:3) that man is to live. That word proceeding from the mouth of the Lord is Jesus Christ. He is the one who became for us wisdom from God. And it is His Word which is able to make you “wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:15).

In sophomore year English class, Prof Sullivan used to begin the year by having us all say “I am ignorant.” His point was, we should begin the study of something by recognizing our ignorance about it and then gain knowledge. No one who thinks he is wise in himself will ever be able to find wisdom. But in this prayer we pray for Christ to come as our wisdom because we recognize that we do not have it. We do not know how to order our lives for our own or our neighbor’s temporal and eternal good. We do not know ourselves or our God. We do not know the way to life eternal. But Jesus knows all these things. He Himself is these things and teaches these things. He opens His mouth and by soaking in His Word we find wisdom. We find wisdom in His law which teaches us about ourselves and our neighbors and our God. It teaches what duties we owe and how we ought to order our lives and live in this world. It also shows us the spiritual truth about our status before God as sinners. That is, it teaches us that we are not wise ourselves.

Jesus then also gives us the wisdom of the gospel, that is of the cross, which is our salvation. Here is a philosophy that actually works! It leads to eternal life. O come, wisdom and teach us!