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What the Queen of Sheba taught me

What the Queen of Sheba taught me

The queen of Sheba impressed me yesterday.  We heard (at Mass, from 1 Kings 10:1-10), about how she ‘brought immense riches to Jerusalem with her’ when she made that journey to visit Solomon in all his glory.  We heard about how Solomon’s wisdom and his wealth ‘left her breathless‘.  So far, so predictable… but then, the queen of Sheba shows her worth: having seen wealth and wisdom that far outstrip her own, she does not let her praise stop with Solomon, but goes on (when she gets her breath back) to praise the source of his blessing, exclaiming,

‘Blessed be the Lord your God who has granted you his favour, setting you on the throne of Israel!’

It is all too easy, when we see something of beauty, to admire and praise its beauty and stop there.  It is all too easy to admire a person’s talents, to praise the person and stop there.  It is also easy to accept praise or admiration from another, of ones own talents or beauty and let that praise or admiration rest on oneself, rather than letting it reflect back to the One who made us and to whom we – with all our talents and beauty – belong.  Dom Augustin Guillerand puts this very clearly in his book ‘The Prayer of the Presence of God‘ (ch. 2):

“Instead of pointing to the Creator and leading us to Him, things show only themselves, with the result that we stop at them… Beyond their attractive forms we no longer seek the beauty they reflect, but merely the pleasure and satisfaction they are able to offer us.”  

Let us learn, then, from that breathless queen of Sheba, and always remember to praise the One to whom praise is ultimately due; to adore the Creator for the wonders of his creation.


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