A reflection on wisdom and knowledge



The call to a transformation towards integral ecology requires us to do inner as well as outer work. Sr Denise Lirette, a Daughter of Jesus from Canada, shares her reflections with us.



Tye the nephew of Denis in his father's arms

Tye, Denise’s nephew in his father’s arms


As I reflected on Earth Day, I was filled with gratitude for the different times that I spent in nature during this Pandemic. I thought about the many times that a beautiful sunset, a walk in the woods, or an outing in a kayak had soothed my soul and filled me with gratitude for the beauty of the Earth.



Poster EArth Day hands joined around a seedling

Along with this gratitude is also the sobering reality that even after 50 years of actions around Earth Day, we are faced with an unprecedented ecological crisis that could wipe out the cover of the encyclical with a portrait of the Popehuman life on Earth. In Laudato Si’ Pope Francis calls each of us to an ecological conversion and the whole Church to a transformation toward integral ecology. It is a call to do inner and outer work.




“For we know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pain of childbirth right up to the present time”.

Romans 8, 22


Wisdom versus knowledge



I am presently reading a book by Matthew Fox, entitled “Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic and Beyond”. Fox quotes the Sufi Mystic Rumi who says,


“Yesterday, I was clever,

so I wanted to change the world.

Today, I am wise, so I am changing myself.”




Knowledge is clever and knows it – it likes to strut its stuff and it seeks to change others; wisdom is not afraid to look inside and see what needs changing there. It follows, then, that wisdom is more radical than knowledge alone. It dares to ask: “How do I need changing?”






The two need not be mutually exclusive, however. It is not an either/or choice between knowledge and wisdom, but a both/and is required – inner and outer work go together. It is only in doing both this inner and outer work that we will arrive at living in harmony with all of God’s creatures.


Sr Denise Lirette dj

Province Canada







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