“Be lowly wise.”
--The angel Raphael to Adam, in Paradise Lost
This is prudent advice for a teacher of teenagers. Certainly I need to be a wise teacher for my innocent and often bewildered students, but I need to always remember how vast is the sea of ignorance inside me, from which small fish of wisdom leap only occasionally, and always in a swift and evanescent manner. Sure, I have some knowledge to share, but I must keep in mind that what I don’t know would fill all the oceans of the world. I am not getting any younger (71 and counting), but in terms of insight and discernment I’m still a puzzled student a strange, measureless world. 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 spring, now and then, a small but stunning flash of wisdom.