Catholic fine art - Seat of Wisdom

"Seat of Wisdom" means Temple or Throne of Wisdom. This name is most appropriate to Mary, for Wisdom is a Scriptural name of Our Lord. In the Books of Wisdom of the Old Testament all the beautiful things which are said of Wisdom apply to a Divine Person. Wisdom in these Books is not a mere abstract concept or figurative expression, but the Eternal Word, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity. When, therefore, we see an image of Mary with the Infant Jesus in Her arms or seated on Her knee, we have an answer to the question—why is Mary called the Seat of Wisdom? "Wisdom hath built herself a house," says the Holy Ghost in Sacred Scripture. This house, this temple of Wisdom, was, and ever is, Mary.

When Jesus Christ, Who is the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Eternal Wisdom of the Father, took up His dwelling in Mary, He made Her His Temple when He became Man. While He was a little Babe, seated on His Mother's knee, She was in literal truth His throne and temple. We, too, each one of us, are temples of Wisdom, "temples of the Holy Ghost," as St. Paul says. Wisdom is one of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost.

Every time we receive Holy Communion, we become the throne or temple of Our Lord in a most real, physical way; each one of us is then really and truly a "Seat of Wisdom," a throne or temple of Jesus.

In the liturgical hymn for the Feast of the Dedication of a Church we read how our souls, the living stones for the Temple of the Heavenly Jerusalem, are hewn and polished by the blows of axe and chisel, that is, by the crosses and trials of life, and so fitted to build up the Eternal Temple of God, the Heavenly Jerusalem. But Mary is an exception; She was a perfect, finished temple of holiness even before Her birth.

"Wisdom hath built herself a house." "He Who created me rested in my tabernacle." She is the "Wise Virgin." But heavenly wisdom is very different from worldly wisdom. Worldly wisdom teaches us to seek after the "good" things of this life—money, position, power, pleasure. Heavenly Wisdom, on the contrary, teaches us to hold all these material goods as inferior to the good of the soul, to eternal life. Thus, for instance, if there is a question of marriage, worldly wisdom will ask: "Is he or she good-looking, wealthy, have a good job?" and so on; and if these questions are satisfactorily answered, worldly wisdom will tell us that the wisest thing we can possibly do is to take such a chance, for we may never get another.

But heavenly wisdom will ask: "What doth it?" Is there spiritual danger in a marriage with this person? If he or she is not a good Catholic, will not the close and constant companionship of such a one drag me down to worldliness? Will not obstacles be put in the way of my salvation?

Happy we, if on such an occasion, or others similar, we are always in the habit of having recourse to Mary, the Seat of Wisdom, and thus make it, as it were, as sure as possible for us to act on the principles of heavenly wisdom!

Oh, what must not Mary have learned from Jesus, the Eternal Wisdom of the Father, during all those years She lived with Him in such close and tender intimacy? The secrets of His Kingdom in Heaven and on earth, His Church, the Mysteries of Faith, the Sacraments, grace, the world of souls, the future of the Church, Her share in His work and Kingdom—all these She learned. He, "the true Light, which enlighteneth every man who cometh into this world," was unveiled to Her as never to a creature before or since. Of Her could be said what God said of His servant Abraham: "Can I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?" No wise and learned doctor of the Church ever had such light as Mary, the Seat of Wisdom, on all the wonders of the Kingdom of God.

And She is ever ready to share Her wisdom with the least of us; we have only to ask Her, and She will give us of the treasures of Her wisdom.

Motto: "Wisdom is better than all the most precious things, and whatever may be desired cannot be compared to it."

Practice: Call upon Mary, the Seat of Wisdom, for light to fulfill all your duties wisely.