We’re well into the O Antiphons already, but I can’t help to reflect on the first of the Antiphons, my most favourite of all:
O Wisdom of our God Most High, guiding creation with power and love: come to teach us the path of knowledge.
For nearly as long as I remember, I have always associated Wisdom with the Holy Spirit. I know, these O Antiphons are technically names in the Old Testament for the Messiah, but it doesn’t matter terribly to me. Perhaps another odd thing is that I’ve always associated Wisdom/Holy Spirit as female. Wisdom is feminine in form while the Holy Spirit is in male form in Scripture. I have no explanation except that the Holy Spirit’s presence in my life has always been distinctly feminine.
When I hear this Antiphon every year, I marvel at the Oneness of God. Our experience of God is in trinitarian form: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. But God is one. My experience of Wisdom as Holy Spirit and as Jesus has this dimension that God cannot fit into our normal expectations all the time. God is revealed in Scripture a certain way, but God continues to work in our lives and be revealed to us today.
This is only magnified in the Incarnation, when God became human. The Jewish people had their tradition, their normal understanding of how God worked in their relationship – their covenant. And then Jesus came. A baby. Not born in riches, not born into renown. He was decidedly unlike how they expected him to be. They had studied what the prophets said. They had been as faithful as they could in understanding God’s covenant and God’s promises. Jesus did not fit. And so he was accused throughout his public ministry and unto his death.
This baby – how could he be Mighty God,
be Leader of the House of Israel,
be Root of Jesse’s stem,
be Key of David,
be Radiant Dawn,
be King of all nations and keystone of the Church,
how could this little, vulnerable baby be Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law?
No swords. No fire and brimstone. No angels with flaming swords defending the King. No army. Just human. and divine. In one little, tiny parcel, wrapped in rags, and laid in a manger. Snuggled with his mother, his father protectively close by.
Our God is the God of surprises. Do not forsake what you know of God from his own revelation, but be prepared to be surprised. She will not disappoint.
quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,
attingens a fine usque ad finem fortiter,
suaviterque disponens omnia:
veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.