The Wisdom of Experience?

From Rev. Eric Carswell, Head Pastor
January 2, 2019

As we begin a new calendar year, many people look back on the previous year, reflecting on the changes that have occurred, and on the major and minor events of significance. Sometimes we can gratefully sense “Another year has passed and I believe that I am not only older, but I’m a wiser person.”
A person who is paying attention to what is true and lasting importance will be growing in wisdom. We pay attention when we care about what is truly good and useful in any situation before us. Human beings don’t always pay attention to these things. It is quite possible that a husband could over and over again experience a negative consequence in his relationship with his wife and still not recognize how his behavior directly affected its occurrence. He could hear sermons and talks about being a better husband, even read books on the subject, but to the extent that the voices of wise ideas are drowned out by the clamor of his own wants, interests, and prejudices, he will not act in better ways from his reading.
At times we can feel like we are not making much progress in gaining wisdom. Part of this feeling can be based on the clutter of natural concerns and issues that get in the way as described in the following passage:

If a person is governed by good things, that is, by love and charity, seed from the Lord is made fruitful and is multiplied to such an extent that it cannot be numbered for multitude. That fruitfulness and multiplication is not very much during his life in the body, but in the next life it is unbelievably increased, for as long as a person lives in the body it is seed lying in the ground of a bodily nature, among an entangled and dense mass of factual knowledge and bodily delights, and also cares and anxieties. But once these have been cast off, as happens when that person passes over into the next life, the seed is set free from those things and starts to grow, just like the seed of a tree which, when it comes up out of the ground, grows into a small tree, then into a large tree, and is after that multiplied into a garden of trees. For all knowledge, intelligence, and wisdom, and the forms of delight and happiness that go with them, are in a similar way made fruitful and are multiplied, and are thereby forever increasing. And they begin from the smallest of seeds, as the Lord teaches in Matthew 13:31, by reference to the grain of mustard seed. This becomes quite clear from the knowledge, intelligence, and wisdom that angels possess, which during the time they were human beings had been to them beyond words.
Arcana Caelestia 1941

As we begin a new year, may we ask to be guided by the Lord in becoming wiser and better human beings. May we pray for open eyes so that the daily experiences of our lives does lead us forward.


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