Saturday, April 07, 2007

Wisdom 7:7 - 8:1
(Revised English Bible)

Therefore I prayed, and prudence was given me; I called for help, and there came to me a spirit of wisdom. I valued her above sceptre and throne, and reckoned riches as nothing beside her; I counted no precious stone her equal, because compared with her all the gold in the world is but a handful of sand, and silver worth no more than clay. I loved her more than health and beauty; I preferred her to the light of day, for her radiance is unsleeping. So all good things came to me with her, and in her hands was wealth past counting. Everything was mine to enjoy, for all follow where wisdom leads; yet I was in ignorance that she is the source of them all. What I learnt with pure intention I now share ungrudgingly, nor do I hoard for myself the wealth that comes from her. She is an inexhaustible treasure for mortals, and those who profit by it become God's friends, commended to him by the gifts they derive from her instruction.

God grant that I may speak according to his will, and that my own thoughts may be worthy of his gifts, for even wisdom is under God's direction and he corrects the wise; we and our words, prudence and knowledge and craftsmanship, are all in his hand. He it was who gave me true understanding of things as they are: a knowledge of the structure of the world and the operation of the elements; the beginning and end of epochs and their middle course; the alternating solstices and changing seasons; the cycles of the years and the constellations; the nature of living creatures and behaviour of wild beasts; the violent force of winds and human thought; the varieties of plants and the virtues of roots. I learnt it all, hidden or manifest, for I was taught by wisdom, by her whose skill made all things.

In wisdom there is a spirit intelligent and holy, unique in its kind yet made up of many parts, subtle, free-moving, lucid, spotless, clear, neither harmed nor harming, loving what is good, eager, unhampered, beneficent, kindly toward mortals, steadfast, unerring, untouched by care, all-powerful, all-surveying, and permeating every intelligent, pure, and most subtle spirit. For wisdom moves more easily than motion itself; she is so pure she pervades and permeates all things. Like a fine mist she rises from the power of God, a clear effluence from the glory of the Almighty; so nothing defiled can enter into her by stealth. She is the radiance that streams from everlasting light, the flawless mirror of the active power of God, and the image of his goodness. She is but one, yet can do all things; herself unchanging, she makes all things new; age after age she enters into holy souls, and makes them friends of God and prophets, for nothing is acceptable to God but the person who makes his home with wisdom. She is more beautiful than the sun, and surpasses every constellation. Compared with the light of day, she is found to excel, for day gives place to night, but against wisdom no evil can prevail. She spans the world in power from end to end, and gently orders all things.

[Addendum: Here is the same passage, in the translation of Msgr Ronald Knox.]