I am hopeful that today's MMM will be an improvement over last week's MMM. Last week I overslept and had to rush to work -- late all the same. In leaving a message about that, I managed to overwrite MMM #85, the post of the previous Monday. In sha Allah, my fingers will not fumble as much this week! Actually, the more difficult problem this week has been finding a verse or chapter about which I have felt pushed or inclined to write. Having finished Tobit earlier, I read Judith and Esther, wonderful and well-known stories of acts of heroism that saved the Israelites, and then read both books of the Maccabees, gathering some additional historical knowledge. Then, up popped Job, about which I have blogged extensively, and Psalms, which I covered in an earlier series of MMMs. So, that brought me to Proverbs, and that is where I halted my bore-through-Biblical-stories reading race this week.
Reading: Proverbs 1: 2.
Meditation: The first comment by Solomon, who wrote the proverbs I am currently reading, is that he has written these proverbs so that "men may appreciate wisdom and discipline." How much is contained in these two simple words: wisdom, discipline! How different from our contemporary lay understanding of these words! In lay terms, these words are generally not intertwined, but thinking about them, they certainly are related.
Wisdom, Solomon says, begins with the fear (love and awe) of God. I wonder how many people, asked to define wisdom, would mention this concept at all. We tend to think of wise people as those with a lot of street smarts. We tend not to think of them as close to God, but I think that Solomon is indeed correct. Wisdom that is not based on God's inspiration is shallow, and those who are simply smart, intelligent, and of high IQ may not be wise at all.
Discipline is one of those words I never thought I would value, let alone attempt to apply to myself -- at least, not in my atheist days, which constituted many decades of my life. Yet, I have come to value very much the discipline of the Catholic Church. It provides the structure I find myself craving to give order to my life. At first, I wondered why God pushed me into the Catholic Church (as opposed to some less structured religion that would have been more in keeping with my rebellious and independent spirit). Now I know why: I needed and have tremendously benefitted from the centuries-old discipline of the Catholic Church.
Contemplation: That is far as I can go with you this Monday morning. I now retire to private prayer to thank God for pushing me in that mission church door five years ago. I will praise God for knowing what I needed better than I knew and for knowing what I would come to value even though I initially questioned the value. I will ask God to keep me centered on the Source of real wisdom, and I will repent the times, especially at work where I supervise so many people, when I have tried to make decisions affecting others that were based only on my own insights and not through a prayerful seeking of guidance. Then I will move on to contemplation, my favorite part of the day, letting God take over the direction in which my relationship with Him moves.
I will leave you now to your prayer and contemplation. First, though, I would like to bring to your attention a Monday morning prayer post that you might enjoy:
Fr. Austin Fleming, priest of the Archdiocese of Boston and pastor in Concord, Massachusetts, posts a prayer each Monday morning that he calls "Monday Morning Offering." I enjoy his prayers very much. I think you also will find them inspirational. He has graciously given me permission to include a link to his blog on my Monday Morning Meditation posts. (During the week, he also posts great homilies and other thoughtful discussions. I enjoy reading those, too, as do readers of this blog who have taken the stroll over to his blog.)
For additional inspiration throughout the week, I would point out two sets of blogs: (1) the list of devotional blogs on my sidebar and (2) my blogroll, where I am following a number of inspirational priests and writers about spiritual matters. I learn so very much from all these people. I highly recommend them to you.