Competing Shouts Of Wisdom

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In Silence, The Wisdom Of God Will Not Need To Shout

by Eric Elkin

Wisdom shouts in the street; in the public square, she raises her voice.
— Proverbs 1: 20

Times Square in New York City is an area bustling with noise and activity. In many ways, it is the heart of the city which never sleeps. Giant electronic signs pulsate messages and images across the crowds below. Their noise is not audible, but visual. Still the lights scream a wisdom it wants to share with all potential consumers. 

The lights of Times Square are joined by a chorus of taxi horns. They blare out their own form of wisdom. Some honk to inform other drivers. Others to warn unsuspecting pedestrians. The noise forces the people leading tourist groups to shout instructions to help guide their groups to safety. All people walking the street must remain vigilante to the information proclaimed to stay safe.

For generations, street preachers have roamed Times Square shouting wisdom to all who would listen. Rarely, do these preachers shout grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Typically, the knowledge relates to changes people need to make to avoid utter destruction and/or global elimination. Then again, not all street preachers are religious. Some come to shout the wisdom of political causes or resistance. 

With so many voices shouting wisdom, how can anyone be sure which words to follow?

“The exchange with God becomes real for us in prayer: by his Holy Spirit, God comes to dwell within us. By his word and by the sacraments, Christ gives himself to us. In return, we can surrender everything to him.”
— Brother Alois, Letter from Cochabamba, Taize Community

Times Square is not the only place on the earth where competing messages of wisdom are thrust upon us. The internet does not shout, yet, it too, demands our minds. Often stealing our attention away from the person standing right in front of us. All producers of wisdom believe their message is valuable to the hearer, even when it is not. 

With such a wave of information, how can we discern which wisdom will lead to happiness?

My answer is silence. A silence which extends beyond not talking. The silence I suggest involves closing your laptop and turning off your phone. It requires closing your eyes to quiet the visual stimulus of the world. Breathe, relax and listen to the beat of your heart. Let the rhythm of your heart guide you into calm. Then the wisdom of God will not need to shout, nor will you need to strain to listen.

Perhaps the unsettled, anxious heart is in fact lady wisdom calling you to listen. Listen, not to the words outside the heart, but to the presence of the one who dwells deep within it. This is the voice worth hearing, for it is the one which leads to happiness. 

Click to read: Proverbs 1: 20-30

Reflection Questions:

  • What is your primary source of information?

  • How reliable has this source been in helping you find happiness?

  • When have you taken time to listen to your heart?

  • How does God speak to you?

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