Readings for July 26, 2020
1 Kings 3:5, 7-12
Psalm 119:57, 72, 76-77, 127-30
Romans 8: 28-30
My wife likes to say, “knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.” Solomon could have asked for any gift from God he wanted, but he chose to ask for an increased understanding so he could rule with wisdom. God was “pleased” with Solomon’s request, granting him “a heart so wise and understanding that there has never been anyone like” him before or since.
It seems Solomon’s request was pleasing to God because it already showed an understanding, perhaps one that Solomon did not completely appreciate. Solomon’s request was a move toward salvation. St. Thomas Acquinas is quoted as saying, “Three things are necessary for salvation: to know what we ought to believe; to know what we ought to desire; and to know what we ought to do.” Solomon acknowledges his belief in God, acknowledges his desire to be a king who serves God, and requests what he knows will make him the king he ought to be.
In my own prayers, my requests of God are often wasted on things that bring immediate gratification, rather than a Solomon-like understanding of what I need to live out the life I have been given. It’s like putting together my fruit salad and upon noticing it needs a splash of color, I add the pretty red tomato. Looks good in a picture, but the taste doesn’t compliment the sweetness of the rest of the bowl. I may notice I need help with a relationship, or consolation that I wasn’t recognized for a certain achievement, or that I think my life would be less stressful if it had fewer obstacles and challenges. But if I ask for these things, is that really going to make the best fruit salad?
Never will I have the wisdom of Solomon (so said God Himself), yet I can strive for his discernment in what I ask for. When gifts are offered at my choosing, and every time I kneel down to pray, I need to consider that which allows me to best serve God. Doing so is both fulfilling and rewarding, and surely leads to my own sanctification. My goal is to be with God in heaven. My requests and intentions need to align with that.
My Lord God, you are the giver of all good gifts. Even so, I do not always understand what I need and I am often clouded by my own earthly desires. Help me discern wisely and then ask for that which serves You here on earth so that I can live forever with You in heaven. Amen