Reflections for Advent - Lesson I: (Sapientia: Wisdom)

Based on the Writings of Blessed John Henry Newman 

Antiphon (O Sapientia)

O eternal Wisdom, which proceedest from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from one end of creation unto the other, mightily and harmoniously disposing all things, come Thou to teach us the way of understanding. (Newman, Tracts, vol. III)


Wisdom will praise herself and is honored in God, and will glory in the midst of her people. In the assembly of the Most High she will open her mouth, and in the presence of his host she will glory. In the midst of her people she is exalted; in holy fulness she is admired. In the multitude of the chosen she finds praise, and among the blessed she is blessed, saying: "I came from the mouth of the Most High, the first-born before all creatures. I ordained that an unfailing light should arise in the heavens, and I covered the earth like a mist. I dwelt in high places, and my throne was in a pillar of cloud." (Sirach 24: 1–4)


What, then, is meant by the "Son of God?" It is meant that our Lord is the very or true Son of God, that is, His Son by nature. We are but called the sons of God—we are adopted to be sons—but our Lord and Saviour is the Son of God, really and by birth, and He alone is such. Hence Scripture calls Him the Only-begotten Son. "Such knowledge is too excellent for" us; yet, however high it be, we learn as from His own mouth that God is not solitary, if we may dare so to speak, but that in His own incomprehensible essence, in His perfection of His one indivisible and eternal nature, His Dearly-beloved Son has ever existed with Him, who is called the Word, and, being His Son, is partaker in all the fulness of His Godhead. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Thus when the early Christians used the title, "The Son of God," they meant, after the manner of the Apostles when they use it in Scripture, all we mean in the Creed, when, by way of explaining ourselves, we confess Him to be "God from God, Light from Light, Very or True God from True God." For in that He is the Son of God, He must be whatever God is, all-holy, all-wise, all-powerful, all-good, eternal, infinite; yet since there is only one God, He must be at the same time not separate from God, but ever one with and in Him, one indivisibly; so that it would be as idle language to speak of Him as separated in essence from His Father, as to say that our reason, or intellect, or will, was separate from our minds—as rash and profane language to deny to the Father His Only-begotten Word, in whom He has ever delighted, as to deny His Wisdom or Goodness, or Power, which also have been in and with Him from everlasting.

The text goes on to say: "Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered." Obedience belongs to a servant, but accordance, concurrence, co-operation, are the characteristics of a Son. In His eternal union with God there was no distinction of will and work between Him and His Father; as the Father's life was the Son's life, and the Father's glory the Son's also, so the Son was the very Word and Wisdom of the Father, His Power and Co-equal Minister in all things, the same and not the same as He Himself. (Newman, "The Humiliation of the Eternal Son") 

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