Friday, February 10, 2012


“Be lowly wise.”
--The angel Raphael to Adam, in Paradise Lost

This is sage counsel for a teacher of teenagers. Certainly I need to be a wise teacher for my innocent and occasionally mystified students, but I also need to remember how vast is the sea of ignorance inside me, from which small fish of wisdom spring up only occasionally, and always in short-lived ways. I have some knowledge to share, but I must keep in mind that what I don’t know would fill the oceans of the world.  In terms of insight and discernment, I’m still a child, an infant in an always surprising universe. Perhaps Raphael is telling Adam to be wise in a modest way, to be “smart”, yes, but to also be aware and accepting of his ignorance, because from that “lowly” ignorance can shoot up, now and then, a small but spectacular flash of wisdom.

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