Have you ever met a wise person?"Give thy servant therefore an understanding mind to govern thy people, that I may discern between good and evil...And God said to him, "Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you." 1 Kings 3: 8, 11-12
I think that we have all encountered wise people. My grandmother was someone who I thought that was wise. She just seemed to know everything. It was so frustrating, I could never get anything over on her.
So what are the characteristics that make up a wise person? Is it just being old and growing a beard? Or in my grandmother's case being old and wearing a babushka?
According to Webster's the definition of a wise person is: "characterized by wisdom : marked by deep understanding, keen discernment, and a capacity for sound judgment."
But how does a person become wise?
Simply through asking God just like King Solomon did in the bible verse above. Once a person does this he/she will enter a divine apprenticeship of wisdom with the greatest of all teachers, Jesus Christ. Once a person does this he/she won't have to wait till old age or growing a beard to become wise. The person will become wise right away at that very moment.
I understand that as Christians we don't have a monopoly on the wisdom market. There are many wise people from different cultures and religious backgrounds. For example Yoda was very wise (and cute), as was Confucius, Buddha, Plato, and Mr. Miyagi. However, I am working from the assumption that the Roman Catholic faith is the only faith that possesses the entire truth.
Recently I attended a talk which centered on the seven virtues. The line that struck me the most went something like this, "Wisdom reconciles the tension between the virtues." I thought that this was the perfect explanation of wisdom; utilizing the right response to the situation at hand. I also liked this description of wisdom: "One can't control the direction of the wind but one can always adjust the sails."
Wisdom allows a person to respond appropriately to the different situations of life. Wisdom isn't rigid, it is flexible adapting effectively to each situation of life. A wise person will get angry when the situation demands it. A wise person will also show clemency, restraint, toughness and shrewdness when the situation demands it. Wisdom is adjusting the sails to the winds of life.
Ultimately Wisdom is both an attitude and an effect. The attitude of asking everyday, "God what do you want from me? The effect being that one grows effortlessly in wisdom through this simple question. Because through acknowledging one's nothingness God the supreme teacher of wisdom blesses that person with everything.