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Sophia – light of wisdom

March 31, 2009

Sophia, collage by Lunaea Weatherstone

I came out as a brook from a river,
and as a conduit into a garden.
I said, I will water my best garden,
and will water abundantly my garden bed:
and lo, my brook became a river,
and my river became a sea.
I will make doctrine to shine as the morning,
and will send forth her light afar off.
I will yet pour out doctrine as prophecy,
and leave it to all ages for ever.
Behold that I have not laboured for myself only,
but for all them that seek wisdom.

The words of Sophia, the Book of ben-Sirach, 1st century B.C.

“For her thoughts are more than the sea, and her counsels profounder than the great deep.” Sophia is the Hebrew “consort” of Yahweh, and probably predates him, her origins going back to Inanna and Isis. She is the “woman clothed with the sun,” who brings the blazing light of knowledge. Sophia is the embodiment of all wisdom, and it is she who urges us to know, to understand. She leads the willing soul out of ignorance and blesses those who study and endeavor to know her. In the words of Solomon: “I prayed and understanding was given me: I called upon God and the spirit of Wisdom came to me. I loved Her above health and beauty, and chose to have Her instead of light, for the light that cometh from Her never goeth out.” Sophia is the deepest part of ourselves – that part that can grasp in an instant the mysteries of the ages.


Christ Sophia, icon by Robert Lentz

Sophia is God’s sharing of himself with creatures. His outpouring, and the Love by which he is given, held and loved.She is in all things like the air receiving the sunlight. In her they prosper. In her they glorify God. In her they rejoice to reflect him. In her they are united with him. She is the union between them. She is the Love that unites them. She is life as communion, life as thanksgiving, life as praise, life as festival, life as glory . . . She is the Bride and the Feast and the Wedding.
Thomas Merton
You of the whirling wings,
circling, encompassing energy of God:
you quicken the world in your clasp.

One wing soars in heaven,
one wing sweeps the earth,
and the third flies all around us.

Praise to Sophia!
Let all the earth praise her!

Hildegard of Bingen

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