A foolish woman is noisy; she is wanton and knows no shame. She sits at the door of her house, she takes a seat on the high places of the town, calling to those who pass by, who are going straight on their way, ‘Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!’ And to him who is without sense she says, ‘Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.’ But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of hell.” (Prov 9: 13-18)

Here, at the end of Chapter 9 of Proverbs, “foolishness” or “folly” is personified as a woman, – just as the opposite of “foolishness,” that is, “wisdom,” is also personified as a woman, at the beginning of this same chapter, – to put our p.c.-sensitivities to rest. “Foolishness” can also be defined as “sin” in general, because “she” calls us, when we are “going straight on our way,” to “turn in,” and off of, our “way,” to drink and eat sweetly and pleasantly with a complete stranger, of her “stolen” food and in her strange “house.”

But I shouldn’t accept sweets from strangers, as my parents told me a long time ago. I am already nourished by “my own”; by those to whom I choose to belong, in God’s “house” or His “place.” And that “place” is wisdom, peace, and humility, which is not seated “on the high places of the town,” as is foolishness, but on “the low places” of honesty and humble self-acceptance. So let me stick to my “straight way” today, on my little cross-carrying journey through this third week of Lent, that I may be renewed, and grow, through eating and drinking with the living, who are “busy being born” this Lenten season, rather than feast with the dead, or those “busy dying.” Lord, “give to me, Your servant, a spirit of whole-mindedness, humility, patience, and love,” on this third Wednesday of Lent. Amen!

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