PROVINCE OF SPAIN – Joint formation of brothers and lay people – To the encounter with Wisdom in Scripture
On 27 February, the first of the two videoconferences planned for the joint formation of Brothers and Lay People of the Province of Spain was held, to which 33 people connected from different parts of the country.
After the opening prayer, the Provincial introduced the speaker, Sr. Lourdes Alonso, Daughter of Wisdom, who presented the theme: To the encounter with Wisdom in Scripture which is, “like a lover’s letter to her beloved to win his affection” (LEW 65).
Sister Lourdes explained that for Montfort the Word of God was the centre of his life, of his writings and of his missionary activity; and that his whole spirituality depended on his continuous meditation of Holy Scripture. Biblical Wisdom is the unifying element of St Louis Marie’s spirituality.
A better understanding of the biblical spirituality of wisdom will help us to understand that Montfort is neither an illuminati nor an eccentric, but, in reality, Fr de Montfort:
- was passionate about God
- who meditated on Scripture (passionate about scripture)
- and who, having been captivated by what he discovered of the figure of Wisdom in the Bible, acquired new lights to contemplate Jesus of Nazareth in a specific way, and decided to imitate him literally.
- And hence his decisions, gestures, concrete customs…
Sister Lourdes showed us the slow evolution of the theme of wisdom in the Old Testament. Thus we saw how wisdom appeared as a…
- In the book of Proverbs and throughout biblical wisdom literature it is a human quality;
- after Exodus, it is understood as an attribute, a quality of God himself;
- in the Book of Wisdom, chapter 9, it is stated that it is a gift of God to be asked for;
- and in the last period of the O.T., wisdom is presented as personified in a female figure.
- Then we look at five major blocks, where Montfort is based to live on attitudes which do not appease the behaviour of the world and of the society in which he lived: Proverbs 8, 1-21 / Proverbs 8, 22-35 / Proverbs 9, 1-6 / Sirach 24, 1-22 / Wisdom 9, 1-18 / Wisdom of Solomon 9, 1-22.
On Saturday, March 6, we met again for the second part of this joint formation. After a summary of the contents of the previous session, Sister Lourdes Alonso presented Wisdom in the New Testament where:
I/ Jesus behaves like a teacher of wisdom. It is presented implicitly and explicitly as the very wisdom of which the OT speaks.
II/ The different meanings of Wisdom are also found in the New Testament:
- The human Wisdom valued in OT. is also in the New: as a human quality and divine trait that are related to the pursuit of happiness and that do not always coincide. And we speak of false wisdoms. The place of absolute and extreme confrontation between the wisdom of men and the Wisdom of God is the cross of Jesus.
- True wisdom is in God and is a gift from God and is always related to the Spirit.
- It manifests itself in Creation, Salvation and enables man to receive the revelation of the plan of salvation and to act according to God’s will.
- Christ is for the faithful the source of true Wisdom, which comes from God.
In short, Montfort:
- a. recognized in Jesus of Nazareth the traits of Wisdom spoken of in the Old Testament and
- b. tried to reproduce these traits in his life.
And how does this help us in our Montfortian life? What are the consequences for those of us who live Montfortian spirituality?
A better understanding of the figure of Biblical Wisdom helps us:
- enrich our contemplation of Jesus of Nazareth because it draws our attention to some particular aspects of his life and message, of his person, of his ministry, of his way of living among human beings…. of a particular way of living as a christian… of situating oneself in the world and in the Church.
- understand Father de Montfort better and live better with his spiritual intuition today in the world that is ours and in the context that is ours too.
CONCLUSION: Acquiring Wisdom is the goal of Montfortian spirituality. St. Louis Marie transmits it to the people in the language that was accessible to them: the renewal of the baptismal promises, living the promises of Baptism. It is a parallel way of presenting its primary intention, that of acquiring true Wisdom. In the dialogue that followed, especially on the part of the lay people, the gratitude to Sr. Lourdes for bringing us closer to a key theme of Montfortian spirituality in an accessible and clear way was evident.
Thank you, Sister Lourdes!