Donald Trump’s inauguration last week featured six religious leaders, more than any past inauguration. One of the leaders, Catholic Archbishop Timothy Dolan chose to read Wisdom Chapter 9.
1 God of my ancestors, Lord of mercy,
you who have made all things by your word
2 And in your wisdom have established humankind
to rule the creatures produced by you,
3 And to govern the world in holiness and righteousness,
and to render judgment in integrity of heart:
4 Give me Wisdom, the consort at your throne,
and do not reject me from among your children;
5 For I am your servant, the child of your maidservant,
a man weak and short-lived
and lacking in comprehension of judgment and of laws.
6 Indeed, though one be perfect among mortals,
if Wisdom, who comes from you, be lacking,
that one will count for nothing.
7 You have chosen me king over your people
and magistrate over your sons and daughters.
8 You have bid me build a temple on your holy mountain
and an altar in the city that is your dwelling place,
a copy of the holy tabernacle which you had established from of old.
9 Now with you is Wisdom, who knows your works
and was present when you made the world;
Who understands what is pleasing in your eyes
and what is conformable with your commands.
10 Send her forth from your holy heavens
and from your glorious throne dispatch her
That she may be with me and work with me,
that I may know what is pleasing to you.
11 For she knows and understands all things,
and will guide me prudently in my affairs
and safeguard me by her glory;
12 Thus my deeds will be acceptable,
and I will judge your people justly
and be worthy of my father’s throne.
13 For who knows God’s counsel,
or who can conceive what the Lord intends?
14 For the deliberations of mortals are timid,
and uncertain our plans.
15 For the corruptible body burdens the soul
and the earthly tent weighs down the mind with its many concerns.
16 Scarcely can we guess the things on earth,
and only with difficulty grasp what is at hand;
but things in heaven, who can search them out?
17 Or who can know your counsel, unless you give Wisdom
and send your holy spirit from on high?
18 Thus were the paths of those on earth made straight,
and people learned what pleases you,
and were saved by Wisdom.