I sought wisdom openly in my prayer. 

If you wanted to define wisdom, you might say that it’s the knowledge of how to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord. But attaining wisdom is no easy task, as today’s first reading (Sirach 51:12-20) shows us. Sirach even gives us a window into his own struggle by saying that his soul “was tormented in seeking” God’s wisdom. And yet he tells us that “in cleanness I attained to her” (Sirach 51:19, 20).

Sirach’s testimony encourages us to trust that we too can grow in wisdom, even as he gives us some clues for how to do it.

First and foremost, we need to pray (Sirach 51:13). Having a daily time with the Lord and immersing ourselves in his word will show us how we should live. As we open ourselves to God, he fills our hearts with his love, and that love gives us the strength we need to live out what we have learned in his word.

Second, we need to persevere. Sirach says that he sought wisdom even when he was “young and innocent” and that he “persistently strove” for it (51:13, 18). This a lifelong process, but it is truly worth the effort because our wisdom will benefit not only us but the people we share it with. Even though we may never think we are wise enough, the more we grow in wisdom, the more our lives will give glory to God.

Finally, it’s important that we continue to acknowledge the guidance and wisdom that God has already given to us. That’s why Sirach expresses his gratitude to the Lord (51:12). Committing ourselves to thanksgiving as Sirach did will also help us grow in patience: recalling how God has already answered us can offer us comfort as we wait for God to answer our current needs.

As you pursue wisdom, don’t forget that it’s a gift of the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 11:2; 1 Corinthians 12:8). So ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with this gift each day. Then look for signs that God is granting you all the wisdom you need.

“Holy Spirit, grant me wisdom to live a life that is pleasing to you.”

Psalm 19:8-11
Mark 11:27-33
Sirach 51:12-20


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