Saturday in the Fourth Week of Ordinary Time

Solomon’s prayer for an understanding heart is an appropriate one for anyone assuming a leadership position.

He is obviously not seeking to understand how things work in his world; he is not asking for help in strategy planning. He is asking God for the gift of understanding. He seeks to understand the “important-in-itself”, not as a passing enlightenment, but as a permanent intuition. He is asking God for deeper insight into divine truths that are held by faith.

Understanding means that one is able to comprehend the actions of God, and also, in that light, to comprehend fellow humanity made in His image. He does not seek to understand God Himself, but only His actions, His will, His ways of working. God’s ways are manifestations of His will. His ways are tailored to individuals and their situations. He knows how to “push buttons.”

Receiving the gift of Understanding comes in small pieces that -one at a time- just “click” into place. One comprehends one example of God’s ways or his will, and suddenly “gets it” at both an intellectual and a heartfelt level. The aversive experiences that “push buttons” call for the gifts of understanding and fortitude to give one resiliency in facing the realities of life.

The purpose of this request for understanding is not Solomon’s personal comfort, longevity, or security, but so that he may judge the people of God and know what is right in God’s eyes.

Solomon is asking God to enable him to put God’s principles before his own personality. God notices that Solomon seeks first to be useful to Gods-self and to others by doing what is right. His request is granted.  The sheep will not be without a shepherd.