In the beginning of the Congregation of the Daughters of Wisdom, Sr. Florence, writing the chronicles at that time, describes the death in 1759 of our co-foundress, Marie-Louise of Jesus (Trichet). Immediately after, she praises the virtues of the one who has just passed away.
Now what do you think is the first virtue she credits Blessed Marie-Louise with? Let us listen to Sr. Florence herself as she writes “She had extraordinary foresight and a vigilance that nothing could escape. The influence of her vigilance soon brought about a change in the timid and the cowardly. When she met them she would chide them for their lack of religious spirit. Be vigilant, my dear daughters for such is the spirit of Wisdom. Our dear Father de Montfort often told me that Wisdom is vigilant and active and I had to be both if I wanted to be a true Daughter of Wisdom. There was no need for him to insist because God had bestowed these gifts on them both. Nothing escaped the notice of our Dear Mother.” (The Chronicles of Sr. Florence, p. 84)
On the day of the Presentation of Jesus Incarnate Wisdom in the temple, let us consider the wisdom of these two old people, Simeon and Anna, guided by the light of God in the very depth of their souls, recognizing the Messiah, the Chosen one, the true Light of Wisdom in this little child in the arms of Mary. These two seekers, their souls furrowed by prayer, asceticism, and works of mercy are first and foremost attentive and watchful. They watch and pierce through the darkness in life in order to distinguish the light. Like the wise virgins, like Montfort and Marie-Louise and those wise people throughout history, they have made provisions for enough oil to keep their lamps burning. When the bridegroom arrives, thanks to their light, they recognize him and follow him into the banquet room.
Jesus, Light of the world comes to meet his people in the Temple, in submission to the law of his time. From all eternity Wisdom is light. In the Scriptures, in the book of Wisdom we read
“She is a reflection of the eternal light, untarnished mirror of God’s active power, image of his goodness (Ws 7, 26)”.
“Wisdom is bright, and does not grow dim (Ws 6, 12)”.
The truly wise, remaining alert and vigilant, keeping an unwavering attention in order not to miss anything, recognizing the light of Wisdom in their lives and around them, cry out
“ …my eyes have seen your salvation…a light to enlighten the nations. (Lk 2:32)”.
Today, Wisdom invites us and all the poor of heart to remain alert, to wait and to watch and to recognize Her, just as the one on sentry duty stands guard waiting for dawn. Wisdom herself is first and foremost watchful and active. Nothing escapes Wisdom as she does not miss anything. As for us, in order to know Her, to discern her light beyond our darkness, the effort of constant attention is necessary. Let us ask the grace to be awake and watchful to be able to discern the light of Wisdom, discrete, silent, hidden and yet ever so perceptive, vigilant and active.
Let us stand by Her at the entrance of the Temple and let us exclaim, “Royal and despised son, while you remain silent, you understand, hidden, you see, kept in the dark, you know, God-Man, glory to your name”. (Ephrem the Syrian, Hymns)
Lise Le Riche DW