Wisdom is a gift of the Holy Spirit, but we should remind ourselves every day that the Wisdom the Spirit offers us is different than the wisdom of this world. The wisdom of this world tells us to be opportunistic, to boast, to take advantage of others, to put ourselves first, to seek power. This "wisdom" is foolishness to God.
There's a lot of advice out there for avoiding and ending conflict in the workplace, in the family and in other personal relationships. That's great, and can be very helpful, but a lot of that advice tends to come from conventional, worldly wisdom. What if the way we handled conflict was not based in self-interest, but was based on radical commitment to the Gospel? What if we didn't put ourselves first in our personal relationships?
Now that the 2014 midterm elections are over, there can be two temptations:
We are a week and a half into Advent, and Christmas decorations are up all over, people are wishing one another a Merry Christmas, and it's widely agreed to be the "most wonderful time of the year". But is it? Certainly our anticipation for the coming of Jesus brings us hopeful joy, but is it the most wonderful time of the year?
At the Opening Mass for the 2015 Naational Prayer Vigil for Life, Cardinal Sean O'Malley spoke eleoquently about the recipe for joy that Jesus offers us in the Gospel, and the way the Commandment to not kill permeates through so many of our societal obligations. Watch his homily here, full text included below.
Consider your own calling, brothers. Not many of you were wise by human standards,
not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.
Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the
weak of the world to shame the strong,
and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to
reduce to nothing those who are something,
so that no human being might boast before God.
the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.
- Matthew 20:28
During Lent, we're called as Christians to practice prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Mostly we understand why we take on these disciplines. The benefits of prayer are obvious, as are the benefits of almsgiving: giving resources of time and money to the poor and to our communities.
Pope Francis has offered us a lot of advice on how to be better Christians and people. He's also taken a hard look at some practices among the faithful that have long been accepted in different forms, but that are bad for spiritual health.