Advent 2014: ‘O Sapientia’
O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem, fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.
The first of Advent’s ‘Great Antiphons’ hails Jesus as the Wisdom spoken forth by the Father. It is the Divine Son, the antiphon proclaims, who governs the universe and brings all things ‘powerfully and sweetly’ to their appointed end in accordance with Divine Providence.
Providence can be a challenging concept and we regularly see or hear about things which make us question if there really is a loving God tending to everything in creation, a God who has counted each hair on our heads and knows every sparrow in the skies (Matthew 10:29).
Indeed, even those who acknowledge and praise God for his benevolence towards creation sometimes forget the extent to which he cares. We can accept God has a ‘long term’ vocation planned for each of us but are sceptical that he really has much interest in the little things we do, it doesn’t concern God whether or not we brush our teeth at night or if we read that book instead of this one, we might think.
One mistake which can lead to this sort of minimizing of our appreciation of God’s active interest in the affairs of the world is to think of him only as a judge concerned solely with moral acts, acts which are either obviously right or wrong, helpful or unhelpful. It’s easy to appreciate why people might make this assumption: after all, isn’t gossip the most interesting of information? Don’t we tell people to skip the details and ‘get to the juicy bits’ when they’re telling us a story?
Does God care about the ‘details’ of our stories? Perhaps we need to reflect upon how we talk with people we love. When we love someone we aren’t just interested in the ‘juicy bits’ of the stories they might have, we want to hear every detail. Hours can be whiled away between the best of friends as they talk about little things, inconsequential stories which don’t seem to have much of a role in the big plan.
In the Incarnation we see that God is not merely some distant judge but rather the most intimate of companions. His love for us is so great that he came down from Heaven to dwell among us and further to unite us to him by assuming human nature and divinising it, filling it with his own life.
So, Jesus, who ‘orders all things from one end to the other’ is intimately and personally interested in every detail of our life. He is our closest friend. Perhaps then, as we contemplate his coming among us, we should endeavour to open up our prayer life to encompass all the things we do, big and small, that by welcoming him into our hearts this Christmas with the same fiat by which Mary welcomed him into her womb, he might sanctify every iota of our being with his presence.