Dec. 5: Wise guys

Photo by Jonathan Simcoe on UnsplashPhoto by Jonathan Simcoe on Unsplash

First Tuesday of Advent, Dec. 5

“I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike” (Lk 10:21).

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No matter how many times I read this passage from Luke, it always takes me aback. What’s wrong with being “wise and learned?” After all, many of us devote much time and energy to the cultivation of wisdom and learning. We read widely, stay up-to-date with the right journals or podcasts, and diligently pursue information that will help us achieve success. We may apply similar methods to our spiritual lives, seeking the truth of God by studying Scripture, reading Christian magazines, even (for the more ambitious) tackling tomes of theology or philosophy.

Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with intellectual curiosity, or critical thinking, and certainly those who have the fortitude to take on Aquinas or Henri de Lubac deserve our admiration. Reason and learning enhance faith, enormously so. But the path to God goes through the heart, not the brain. If we put too much stock in how critically we think rather than on how powerfully we love, we risk becoming like Luke’s “prophets and kings,” who approached Jesus with analytical eyes that were unable to see his true significance.

Divine truth is revealed to those who radiate childlike faith, not to the intellectually proud whose path is blocked by their own hauteur. God embraces those who reach out instinctively for his guiding hand, who seek his comforting embrace, who commend their lives to his loving will— the way young children act with those who care for them. Learning is a good and useful thing, but a humble heart that is open to God will lead us to his kingdom.

Lord of all wisdom and grace, grant that I may entrust myself wholly to the mystery of your love. Amen.

For today’s readings, click here.

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