Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Wisdom and Play

Here one must consider that the contemplation of Wisdom is suitably compared to play on two counts, each of which is to be found in play. First, because play is delightful and the contemplation of Wisdom possesses maximum delight, whence Ecclesiasticus XXIIII <27> says by the mouth of wisdom: "My spirit is sweet above honey." Second, because things done in play are not ordered to anything else, but are sought for their own sake, and this same trait belongs to the delights of Wisdom. For it happens at times that someone is delighted within by considering what one desires, or proposes to do, but this delight is ordered to something external, which one struggles to attain. If there should be a failure or a delay no small affliction is joined to delight of this sort, in accord with the saying of Ecclesiasticus XXXIII <in fact, Proverbs 14:13>: "Laughter is mixed with sorrow." But the delight of contemplating Wisdom has within itself the cause of delight; hence one suffers no anxiety, as if awaiting something that might be lacking. On this account it is said in Wisdom VIII <16>: "Its conversation" (namely that of wisdom) "has no bitterness, nor does dwelling with it have any tedium." And therefore divine Wisdom compares her delight to play, in Proverbs VIII <30>: "I was delighted every day playing before Him," so that through the different 'days' the consideration of different truths might be understood.

St. Thomas Aquinas, An Exposition of the "On the Hebdomads" of Boethius, Schultz and Synan, trs., The Catholic University of America Press (Washington, D.C.: 2001), p. 5

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