We continue to meditate on the sequence of “figurative invocations” of the Litany of Our Lady. Today, we are stationed around the title: “Seat of Wisdom” (Latin, Sedes Sapientiae). Undoubtedly, all wisdom abides in God because He is the ultimate reference point for all truth. Put differently, Wisdom leads us to the discovery of the Truth. “Seat” on the other hand has been understood the symbol of authority and power. The power of kings or top executive leaders is reflected in their seating (or when they seat on their chair/throne). Now, what is the relationship between Our Lady and the phrase: “Seat of Wisdom.” Put differently, when we refer to our Lady as the “Seat of Wisdom,” what do we intend to communicate? Do we divinize her or make her the source of all wisdom?
In the Book of Proverbs, wisdom is illustrated as coming from God from all eternity, before created things existed; before the seas and mountains, she attended the work of creation as an architect spreading her delights among the sons of man (cf. Pr 8: 22ff). Now, this Wisdom of God is so vast and immense that It is a Person. Jesus is “the wisdom of God.” as affirmed by St. Paul. (cf. 1 Cor. 1:24). Having said this, how then does it relate to the Blessed Virgin Mary?
The Blessed Virgin Mary is the “Seat of Wisdom” because, for nine months, she sheltered in her womb the Divine Wisdom, who is our Lord Jesus Christ. She not only bore the Divine Wisdom in her womb but also carried the Divine Wisdom in her arms and had Him seated on her laps as an infant; as such, serving as the “human throne” or “seat” or “chair” of the Divine Wisdom who reigns in heaven. In the Old Testament, precisely in the 2nd Book of Chronicles (chapter 9), we see a magnificent description of the throne of Solomon, the great king of Israel who built the Temple of Jerusalem. He became famous for being the richest and most powerful of all Israel’s kings. But we all know that when God allowed him to make his requests, Solomon asked for neither gold nor power, he simply asked for wisdom to rule his people. Well then, as a truly wise man, he ends up also conquering wealth. Thus, King Solomon’s rich and majestic throne came to be known as the “Seat of Wisdom”. It was the place where the “great and wise king of Israel sat. Christian Tradition recognized that “throne” as a figure of Mary, the true “Seat of Wisdom”. On her laps, the King of kings was welcomed, carried, protected, and learned to babble his first words. When we look at the image of Mary carrying the Child Jesus in her arms and on her laps (as depicted in this post), we can easily imagine that she is the throne and He is the King; She is the seat of He who reigns over all the peoples of the earth.
Let’s take another analogy. Just as Solomon’s throne prefigures the motherhood of Mary, the lap of the Mother of God prefigures the throne of the Most High, from where Jesus will come to judge the living and the dead at the final judgment. Thus, just as King Solomon was wise to judge small conflicts, so also will Jesus, the incarnate Wisdom sit on his throne and judge the world with fairness.
Our Lady is the “Seat of Wisdom,” because she is the creature who knows and loves God the most. The Gospel of Luke tells us: She observed all things and kept them in her heart. Therefore, when invoking our Lady as the “Seat of Wisdom,” we are called to imitate her by harbouring true Wisdom in our hearts and yielding good fruits. We need to imitate her in her silence and prayer, her continued proximity and relationship with God the source of all wisdom, her discreet presence at the beginning of the Church community, etc.
With the foregoing, I dare to say that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the admirable secret to possessing Divine Wisdom because wherever she is, abides and dwells the Eternal Wisdom. Once we have Mary, we subsequently have the presence of the Divine Wisdom through her maternal intercession. Hence, of all the means to possess Jesus Christ, Mary is the safest, easiest, shortest and most holy way. The best way to achieve this is by receiving Mary into our home through an act of “total consecration” to her: “I am all yours, my queen and my mother, and all I have is yours.”
Above all, the Blessed Virgin Mary lives not only by herself but deeply in the heart of the Holy Spirit who “overshadowed her with His Power” at the Annunciation. Therefore, as baptized Catholics, we are called to seek Divine wisdom by configuring ourselves with the Word and design of the Holy Spirit as Mary did. She did so by accepting God’s proposal and putting herself at his disposal. Therefore, we honour her as the “Seat of Wisdom,” not because she spoke like the sages, nor was she a doctor of the Church; not because she was seated on a chair, nor did she teach like the sagacious rabbis in her era, but because after hearing the Word of God from the angel, she gave Christ (Wisdom Incarnate) to the world: She realized a fact! In the same way, the divine Wisdom will continually abide with us inasmuch as we cooperate with grace by hearing the Word and presenting Christ to the world: “My mother and brothers are those who hear the Word of God and put it into practice” (Lk. 8:21)
Let us pray:
Lord Jesus Christ, the Wisdom and Power of God, when the Blessed Virgin Mary heard the message of the angel and responded with her fiat, You found Your home in her womb and was enthroned in her arms and laps as an infant, may we too provide fitting spiritual homes and thrones for you in our minds and hearts by imitating Our Lady, the “Seat of Wisdom” in listening to your Word and putting it into practice. Amen.
Oh Seat of Wisdom (Sedes Sapientiae), pray for us that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen.
© Fr. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ
Paroquia Nossa Senhora de Fatima, Vila Sabrina, São Paulo, Brazil
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PS: Have you prayed your Rosary today?