BC which is our code name for “Before Covid,” I taught a poetry class in the Tenderloin area of San Francisco. The Tenderloin is a poor section of the city with many single room occupancy hotels. Over the two years I was with these eighteen poets, as our trust deepened, the shutters that closed off their personal lives opened a wee bit more each week. As this happened, I slowly began to fall in love with each one of them.
As we shared our poetry, I began to see their spirits more clearly. I could hear trauma, anger, disappointment, and fear, but I also heard tenderness, a guarded sweetness and generosity. Poetry when shared in a safe environment helps us see into the soul of the poet and introduces us to another way of viewing even the ordinary experiences of our lives, let alone when the poet explores the mystery of life and creation.
That’s what the poet of Proverbs does for us. This is Trinity Sunday, but the poet wasn’t thinking of the doctrine of the Trinity when she or he pondered the exquisite world as it was being formed. And the view the poet offers us is much more than just a small open – shuttered window view. She boldly throws open the barn doors wide and invites us into the evolving story of creation as it’s seen through the heart and eyes of Wisdom.
Wisdom, who is with God from the beginning. Wisdom, who is poured out from the Divine before the earth was made – before the mountains were formed. Wisdom, who is brought forth or as the Hebrew word indicates danced forth, whirled forth. What a burst of grace: a burst of Divine life and energy. Divinity dancing and rejoicing from the beginning before the sky was made firm and the fountains in the depth of the seas bubbled forth life. There she is beside the Divine. Can you imagine it – a companion – a master worker? Playing on the face of the earth, rejoicing in the inhabitants of the world as each comes into being and delighting in us humans from the beginning – every person. And creation continues even today as we gain new insights into our universe. Remember it was just a couple of weeks ago when “Sagittarius A,” the black hole in our Milky Way Galaxy captured renewed attention.
Wisdom is the breath of the power of God. A breath that rejoices with the Divine and in the dance of love together give life to the Incarnate Word – the Child of Wisdom – the Word who pitched a tent among us as the fourth gospel reminds us. The Word, who like Wisdom is not aloof.
The Word, who like Wisdom revealed God’s abundance: full crops in untended fields, pearls buried in vacant lots, wild bushes housing and protecting new born birds of the air
Nothing or no one is insignificant – not a coin or a disheartened and despairing disciple. Nothing, no one – lost.
We know what Wisdom looks like in human form. We have met Jesus in prayer and scripture. And because of that, we can recognize Wisdom’s presence in our own life. For “in each generation she passes into holy souls and makes them (us) friends of God and prophets.” Yes, we have met Wisdom.
Is it not Wisdom, who spirits our gardens and oceans as we play in the abundant beauty that surrounds us?
Is it not Wisdom, who sits at our kitchen table as we discuss the events of the day, measuring our wealth by what we share with others?
Is it not Wisdom, who plays in our sandboxes with our children when generosity is taught, forgiveness is given, and justice is rewarded?
Is it not She, who helps us keep a compassionate silence in the face of suffering?
Yes, Holy Wisdom delights in us.
We will never understand the mystery that the poet of Proverbs explores, but if we sit in silence with the barn doors open wide, Wisdom will feed our imaginations so that our spirits will rise and be able to enter into the dance of praise and gratitude. And don’t worry. Even if our legs are a bit old, we’ll be able to join in the dance because we know the steps by heart.
Patricia Bruno, OP
Patricia Bruno, OP
Patricia Bruno, O.P. is a Dominican Sister of San Rafael, CA. Patricia is a spiritual and retreat director and writes a monthly scripture internet article, Stories Seldom Heard. She has led retreats, justice and preaching workshop in New Zealand, Australia and the United States. Patricia began her ministry as a teacher. In 1980 she founded the Interfaith Pittsburg Community Organizing Project, CA. In 1985 Patricia became the Promoter of Preaching for her congregation, a board member of Parable (a national conference for Dominican Life and Mission) and of the Academy of Preachers. In the 1990’s, while on the staff of Pace e Bene, a Franciscan organization that offers retreats and workshops on nonviolence, Patricia co-authored a book, From Violence to Wholeness. Patricia, as the Promoter of Justice for the San Rafael Dominicans, established their congregation’s Socially Responsible and Alternative Investment Committees. In 1990 she became the Director of Justice Education for the Northern California Community Loan Fund. By 1999 a coalition of seventeen Roman Catholic congregations/provinces were active members of and investors in the Fund. Patricia’s religious life has braided together two major themes: spirituality and justice.
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