O Wisdom (O Sapientia)

December 17 is Sapientia on the church calendar and marks the beginning in certain liturgical traditions of the singing of the Great O Antiphons. These antiphons (sung before an after Mary’s Magnificat) during the week leading up to Christmas Eve are at the heart of the Advent hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”.

O Sapientia in English reads,

O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High,
reaching from one end to the other mightily,
and sweetly ordering all things:
Come and teach us the way of prudence.

In Proverbs 1:20-21, we read that, “Wisdom calls aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the public squares; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out, in the gateways of the city she makes her speech….” In this sonnet I make use of this image of Wisdom calling aloud in the street to those who seek her and desire her company. In addition, I imagine the sorts of circumstances and needs which lead us to cry aloud for wisdom. Wisdom helps us not only understand what we need to do, but wisdom’s insight helps us understand and face why we are going through the circumstances we’re currently facing.

Thankfully, our Heavenly Father is more ready to give wisdom than we may be desirous to have it. James 1:5 we read this promise, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” Of course we are not to doubt Him when asking. The wisdom that He gives is founded first on our entrusting ourself to him, and therein is the rub. How may we have the wisdom we long for without doubting? How can we entrust ourselves if we are unsure He is fully trustworthy? I am not scolding, but I’m trying to articulate the predicament that we find ourselves in. Thankfully, God has answered that predicament.

Christmas is about when the One whom we are commanded to trust, entrusted himself for us…to us in the most vulnerable way.

If it’s helpful, you may listen to me read the sonnet via the player below.

O Wisdom, who cries out for what we lack
The insight to know what we should do;
Afraid of betrayal, regret’s stab in the back
Blindly we grope reaching out to find you.
More than answers but of character we
Seek to be Spiritually transformed and stayed;
Not double-minded, tossed in confusion’s sea,
But with courage to stand, in glory remade.

O Wisdom, go; they are lost in that world,
Every crossroad, a decision to make
Knowing with each step their destiny unfurls
To blessing or cursing, show which way to take.
Wisdom hears and obeys, calls out to them
Through a baby’s cry in dark Bethlehem

© Randall Edwards 2015
This sonnet is for Christ’s church. If it is helpful, please feel free to copy or reprint in church bulletins, read aloud, or repost. I only ask that an attribution be cited to myself (Randall Edwards) and this blog (backwardmutters.com). Thanks.

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