Lesson VI. Baruch praises Wisdom (Baruch 3:9-15&32-4:4)
1. Baruch is addressing the Old Israel and is talking to them about the wisdom that is from above. The Old Israel possessed that wisdom in virtue of the divine revelation in the Law and the Prophets. And all the disasters that befell the Old Israel were due to their forsaking that wisdom and the God who was the fountain of that wisdom.
2. The Church reads Baruch in the Baptismal Vigil to remind the newly baptised, and all baptised Christians, that they possess a greater measure of the supernatual wisdom than was given to the members of the Old Israel. If ever as individuals or as a Church they forsake that wisdom and its author, the same fate will overtake them as overtook the Old Israel. They will grow old in a strange country, a place where they don't really belong; they will be defiled with the dead, the company of those who are not spiritually alive; they will be counted with them that go down into the grave, for they will themselves be spiritually dead.
3. Being brought up in the fag end of a Christian society, we think it strange that the Baptismal Gift should be thought of primarily as wisdom, and that the baptised should be thought of as the Illuminated. Grace seems to us to be primarily a gift of strength to live up to the standards that everyone accepts. But in the early Church, -- and it will be equally true in the Church of tomorrow -- the Christian way of looking at things was so different from that of this world that it appeared as a new and liberating truth and Christians were seen to be people illuminated with new wisdom.