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  • Writer's pictureDr. Anthony Lilles

The Wisdom of God

I once asked a Carthusian why he embraced a life of silence and anonymity. It seemed to me that he could have done more for the Church if he were actively ministering in the world. I was thinking with the wisdom of men. He answered me with the wisdom of God. The Carthusian explained that by entering into silent anonymity God could make his prayer more fruitful for the salvation of the world than anything else he could possible accomplish on his own. He understood the primacy of contemplation in the life of the Church, a truth which today is often neglected. This primacy derives from the fact that the life of the Church is essentially the life of grace, a life freely given by Christ. No method or technique or program or anything else born of human industry compels the Blood of the Lord—but the humble petition of a repentant sinner always moves Him to act. Such is the wisdom of God. The wisdom of God is foolishness to the world, but divine foolishness is wiser than the wisest man. In the world, to make a name for yourself is important especially if you want to be successful. In the mystery of God, to magnify the Lord is important if you want to be faithful. In the world, your self-reliance makes a positive impression on most people for a short time, but whatever you accomplish by your cleverness eventually will be forgotten. In God, your reliance on Him will be viewed negatively by most people for most of your life, but what God accomplishes by your trust will last forever. What about when we are unfairly accused and mocked and rejected? Christ never promised we would be treated fair when He commanded us to pick up our own cross and follow Him. Yet this is exactly where the foolishness of God comes in. In the wisdom of the world, such humiliation is a doom worse than death—but in the wisdom of God, this is a hidden blessing through which new life can flow into the Church by our loving obedience.

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