Today in the Scriptural-prayer gift for the longtime friend, St. James writes about guarding the tongue and the two types of wisdom. This friend is an exemplary Protestant who has guarded her tongue with holiness in never making negative comments in my presence regarding my conversion to Catholicism over 20 years ago.
So mostly I am reflecting upon wisdom today and am rather intrigued with James' comments on two kinds of wisdom.
"Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom."
He points in the next verses that this type of good wisdom comes from heaven, but there is another wisdom that is earthly and demonic.
"But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such 'wisdom' does not come from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice."
Then returning to the first kind of wisdom, the Apostle James further explains.
"But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness."
I am partially through writing to the friend about some examples in which I marveled at how she has tamed her tongue in many situations. This does not mean that she never speaks about other people. Quite the contrary. The last times we met in person, a few years ago, she shared some details of people in their lives, of their trials, and of needed prayers on their behalf. The same type of details came in a Christmas letter and in a birthday note.
The details about their lives and their adult children's and friends' lives are mentioned with successes and changes, with gratitude and concerns. There is nothing of envy or ambition in her heart nor in the intent with which she writes of their lives. Her life is good--filled with love of God and love of others, filled with good deeds done lovingly with family, friends, and strangers alike.
But the communications about their own lives and those of others come from loving intentions. Love, we can see, is always pivotal in our lives and in all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, in the fruit of the Holy Spirit, and in all the virtues. So we touch upon, once more, the Law of God, the Royal Law, the law of love of God above all things and love of others as ourselves.
So heavenly wisdom comes through not so often in "great" events. Heavenly wisdom, perhaps surprisingly so, comes through in our daily thoughts, words, and actions. If we are living and breathing according to the Law of God-Is-Love, what comes out of our minds and mouths and from our hands is going to be pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and sincere.
Whenever there is any discrepancy or diversion from this wise and holy check-list of heavenly wisdom, we have as a result: disorder and evil practice. If we find in our thoughts or emotions or deep in our souls any twinge of envy, of any type of selfish ambition, we know what issues forth out of us is not going to be heavenly wisdom and will not bear good fruit. There will not be peace within us nor with others.
I think those who read this blog as well as this nothing consecrated Catholic hermit and most-of-all child of God with soul seeking union with His Love--we do know the difference. The problem we might have is in discerning honestly, the truth of our minds, hearts, and spirits. We have to dissect our intentions down to the core of whatever is motivating us to think, to speak, to act.
While the devil can deceive us, the farther along we come in knowing our souls, the better off in knowing--situation, feelings, and thoughts alike--if our being and intent is that of God's law of love or by or of any lesser motivation. Ultimately, when we have thought and said and done whatever it is we think, say, and do moment by moment, affirmation of heavenly wisdom versus the earthly, unspiritual, of the devil type comes from feeling and observing the harvest.
Is there peace and a harvest of righteousness?
God bless His Real Presence in us! Little children, let us remain in His love and love one another. Pray for the Holy Spirit's gift of heavenly wisdom. Sow in peace!