Thursday, April 27, 2023

Lodging in Wisdom's branches

Happy those who meditate on Wisdom,
and fix their gaze on knowledge;
Who ponder her ways in their heart,
and understand her paths;

Who pursue her like a scout,
and watch at her entry way;
Who peep through her windows,
and listen at her doors;

Who encamp near her house
and fasten their tent pegs next to her walls;
Who pitch their tent beside her,
and dwell in a good place;

Who build their nest in her leaves,
and lodge in her branches;
Who take refuge from the heat in her shade
and dwell in her home. - Sirach 14:21-27

Yesterday was the feast of Our Mother of Good Counsel, the titular feast of my parish and the patroness of the Vatican Observatory. And by some miracle, perhaps the intervention of our Lady, my early morning meeting was canceled and so I found myself at the 8 AM mass, where the scent of the pastor's homemade sticky buns was creeping in the door.  There was breakfast for all comers afterwards!

The readings were taken from the Augustinian lectionary for the feast, rather than the Easter season, for we are an Augustinian parish. The first reading was this pericope from Sirach. Though I have heard it before, I was struck yesterday by this description of those who seek Wisdom, the Holy Spirit. So like the scientist that I am and the scientists who are my colleagues at the Observatory. We pursue the mysteries of the universe like scouts, we peep through the windows and listen at the doors. We encamp, settle in, willing to take our time dwelling with God's created world.

As I write this, I'm sitting in my study. The green leaves of the oak trees that surround the house have come out and I truly feel as if I have a nest in Wisdom's leaves and am firmly lodged in her branches.

Photo is of a painting of Our Mother of Good Counsel (the original is a fresco at Genazzano, Italy) in the entryway of the Vatican Observatory outside Rome.

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