Today is the Memorial of St. Martin of Tours perhaps best described as a reluctant solider, reluctant bishop, but ever a servant of the people of God. The first reading for the Memorial is taken from the Book of Wisdom 7:22 and following. It is not often easy to post about a reading taken from Wisdom. So often the text does not easily stand alone, but still, it is an amazing part of Scripture that should be read and reflected upon more often. But today’s has an interesting feature.
The text offers 21 qualities of Wisdom. The qualities are not meant to convey exact descriptions in which each word refers to a distinct reality. Like individual colors in a painting, the descriptions give a final picture of wisdom as holy, all-present, and all-knowing presence. And, I think it worth noting that there are twenty-one of these attributes, three times the sacred number seven.
For she is an aura of the might of God and a pure effusion of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nought that is sullied enters into her. For she is the refulgence of eternal light, the spotless mirror of the power of God, the image of his goodness. And she, who is one, can do all things, and renews everything while herself perduring; And passing into holy souls from age to age, she produces friends of God and prophets. (Wisdom 7:25-27)
These verse have challenged scholars as they delve into and speculate about the terms “aura,” “effusion,” “refulgence,” “mirror.” But perhaps we can simply sit with verses and let the Spirit of God lead us into Wisdom.