September. Hmmm. September is a funny month for me. I love the weather. The days are warm and the nights cool, getting crisper as the month progresses. But my melancholy greets September because it signals the waning of summer, and I always wish I had done more to enjoy it. The days grow short. The kids go back to school. I miss them when they’re gone.
On Monday, I spent the day at the beach with my younger daughter. It was our last hurrah before she heads back to school on Wednesday. It was a fabulous day. Temperatures in the 90s. Clear sky. Six to ten foot waves, caused by a storm well offshore. We played in the surf, bathed in the sun, and enjoyed our last books of summer. Ice cream cones punctuated the day.
There’s something about the ocean that quiets me and draws me into conversation with God. I think it’s because of its vastness. Just as we are small before the mighty ocean, we are small before our mighty God. This is true fear of the Lord – knowing that He’s God, & I’m not; that He is the creator, and I am the creature.
Scripture tells us that “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Prov 1:7) I think it’s fitting to enter this new season of the year by seeking wisdom rooted in fear of the Lord, which ultimately is a position of humility.
God has a plan for each and every one of us. I look at my children and I tell them this, and how important it is for them to have faith and trust in God’s plan for them. But how often do I say it when I look in the mirror? I think sometimes as we get older and involved in the service of our family and the din of the day to day, we can forget that God has a plan for us – a plan big and small. It is our task to know it and to do it.
Knowing God’s will requires wisdom. James tells us “…if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it.” He continues, “But he should ask in faith, not doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed about by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, since he is a man of two minds, unstable in all his ways. “ We therefore ask and fully expect that God will give us the wisdom we seek.
We must then pray for the grace to do what God asks of us. It might be the grace of courage, maybe the grace of perseverance, maybe the grace of charity or generosity or kindness or prudence or humility. Whatever the grace is, we must ask God to supply it. For when God calls, he provides. (1 Thess 5:24).
I spoke with a friend of mine the other day. She is an amazing woman of great faith. Having been involved in the Dutch resistance during WWII and having survived Nazi prison camps, she understands more than anyone I know that as long as we’re alive, God’s got something in store for us. At 90 years old, she works as a translator at a clinic for the poor run by a bunch of 80+ year old doctors.
She said to me, “I saw that there was this doctor who was 84 who worked at a clinic for the elderly poor. He and some other doctors ran it, but the problem was that most of the people who come are Mexican and do not speak English very well.” Having lived in Venezuela after the war, she is fluent in Spanish, so she volunteered to help. She saw that it was a Christian clinic and part of her responsibility would also be to share the gospel. How could she not? Her deep faith, hope, and trust in God gave her the wisdom to know and the grace to do His will. She has often said to me that she laments to the Lord, “I’m so old and tired. Can’t I just stop?” She is then reminded that Moses did his gig in his 100s! She keeps saying yes.
No matter how old we are or our state in life, God has a purpose for each day, each moment of our lives. Let us begin this month of September dedicating part of our daily prayer to growing in the wisdom of God the way James exhorts us to do so – in faith and not doubting. And God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, will give it.
Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom, pray for us. Anne
Heavenly Harmony, music for the day: Step by Step, a catchy tune to sing throughout your day.