OWisdom, 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.
Sapientiatide, the last 8 days before Christmas (9, if you’re Anglican) is possibly the best season of the Church Year. It’s 8 days of intense theology, both in the Mass and in the Office, underscoring what the Church teaches is happening at Christmas. If you don’t do the readings, the office, the minor propers you’re going to miss out on all of this, but each day is a meditation on who is coming and why.
Today’s antiphon, sung tonight at Vespers and as the verse before the Gospel in the Novus Ordo Masses for today, addresses the Wisdom of God. She is called Σοφία Sophia in some books of the Old Testament, and חָכְמָ֣ה Hokhmah in others. And despite the fact that she is always she, she is also a pre-incarnation manifestation of the Son of God. The Wisdom of God is God the Son, how?
In relation to God the Father, the prime active principle of all being, all being is receptive, including God the Son. We are, before God, all passive recipients. God the Son responds in Love to God the Father but is passive and receptive before the Father’s action. The Word is passive before the speaker of the Word. God’s Wisdom proceeds from the mouth of the Father not volitionally but rather in passive response.
In that procession, Wisdom comes to teach us the way of prudence, of following the pattern of divine order. Only recently, and only in the wealthy, lazed, and debauched “first world” have we begun to question the most ancient of teachings common to all humanity. We have forgotten the way of prudence, which Divine Wisdom comes to teach us.
All is passive in comparison to the action of the primary mover. Compared to the Holy Trinity, all of creation is an eternal Yin to God’s Yang, but within the Holy Trinity, even the Son responds not in his own direction but within the Father’s will. And within the Church the entirety of the Church, men and women, displays a passive relationship to Christ the Divine Bridegroom. This is a deep mystery. Before God are all passive, receptive.
Wisdom is coming to teach us. Without Wisdom we can only kick against the goads of divine order. Through Wisdom God’s participation invites us into the dance that is the eternal life of the Holy Trinity. We can join the dance of the Son and the Father for the Son is one of us, and through the Holy Spirit we are one in him.