“Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the open squares she raises her voice;
down the crowded ways she call out, at the city gates she utters her words.”
Within the realm of spirituality, we hear of people seeking wisdom. They may make retreats or pilgrimages, take up new practices of prayer or meditation, seek spiritual guidance, participate more often or more fervently in liturgies, even take up new religions. It is a journey, a struggle, even a type of dying. Seeking wisdom, however one does it, certainly seems like a lot of work.
How different is the image in this first chapter of the book of Proverbs. Wisdom is out seeking us! Not in a quiet way, either: calling out in the streets, in crowded places, at the gate of the city. This is the central message of this book of scripture. No matter where we are or what our calling in life, we are already in the location where Wisdom will meet us. In fact, she is seeking us out.
Really? If Wisdom is in our midst, seeking us out, how has our world become so complicated, our relationships so stressful, and our lives so far out of balance? “I called and you refused,” says Wisdom, “I extended my hand and no one took notice” (1:24). Written that “people may appreciate wisdom and discipline” (1:2), Solomon tells us of the other voices we hear, the ones that say, “Come along with us!” in the pursuit of wealth and booty, no matter what the means. Wisdom is seeking us out, yes, but we be listening for her, and willing to follow.
“For the self-will of the simple kills them, the smugness of fools destroys them.
But one who obeys me dwells in security, in peace, without fear of harm”