While I don’t remember much from the Latin I learned in school (I did not learn much to begin with :(), one proverb is still stuck in my memory: “Festina lente.” That simply means, “Hurry slowly” (Grabeste-te incet – in Romanian).
Indeed – my image of a wise man is always that of one who takes his time, he ponders and thinks hard before speaking and/or acting. It is after all, what we find many times in the Proverbs of Solomon. See for example Proverbs 14:29: “Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.” It is the ‘slow’ guy who is the hero, not the hasty one (admittedly the context is a bit different).
That is why I was quite surprised in my morning reading of Proverbs (one proverb a day keeps the shrink away – I just made that one up! J) to find a proverb where the wise man was allowed to run:
When you walk, your step will not be hampered,
and if you run, you will not stumble.
(Pro 4:12 ESV)
A bit of context is important here. The father/teacher is saying that if you go on the paths of righteousness (4:11), where there is light (4:18) and the path is level – you can run and you won’t stumble. It is possible, therefore, for the wise to run, as long as he/she is on the right path.
Not so with the wicked/fool. But why? Because he/she will stumble. Why? It is really dark out there…: “The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.” (Pro 4:19 ESV) It seems to be not only very dark, but full with all kinds of unexpected obstacles.
Therefore, watch out wicked and foolish people. It is really dark out there, even if you slow down, you will probably stumble.
Meanwhile – I am happy to know that I can be wise even if I am running…as long as I make sure I am on the paths of righteousness. It is fairly level there, and plenty of light.
I got to run now. The whether is quite nice outside! 🙂
Apparently he is number seven on Gallup’s List of Widely Admired People for the 20th century!? I would put him ahead of JFK! J
In part II Greta asks him: “If you were to do things over again, would you do them differently?”
I like the “old man’s” answer: “YES! I would STUDY more, PRAY more, travel less, take less speaking engagements….”
[Here Spurgeon comes in handy: Learn to say ‘No‘; it will be of more use to you than to be able to read Latin. – Charles Haddon Spurgeon]
Of course – his understanding of Wisdom is fully Christological. The following is an excellent example from Proverbs 8.
As I am preparing to teach Proverbs I try to search for wisdom as much as I can. Wisdom has always fascinated me, not only because I am missing it (:)), but also because I am attracted by sages.
Sometimes wisdom is found in unlikely places. This time I found some with Leon Kass who was born to Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe (maybe Romania?). He wrote a book that caught my attention: The Beginning of Wisdom: Reading Genesis.
While I have not read the whole book, what he says in the introduction shows me that he is a wise man. He understands what many intelligent and scientifically minded people have missed.