As many of our devoted readers pointed out, today’s reflection mistakenly referred to David instead of Solomon. We apologize for this error and assure you that we do our very best to bring you high-quality Ignatian reflections and prayers 365 days per year. We have corrected today’s reflection on our website and mobile app. For subscribers to our daily email, please accept this corrected version and, again, our apology. Thank you for being part of the Jesuit Prayer community!
When the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, (fame due to the name of the Lord), she came to test him with hard questions. She came to Jerusalem with a very great retinue, with camels bearing spices, and very much gold, and precious stones; and when she came to Solomon, she told him all that was on her mind.
Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing hidden from the king that he could not explain to her. When the queen of Sheba had observed all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food of his table, the seating of his officials, and the attendance of his servants, their clothing, his valets, and his burnt offerings that he offered at the house of the Lord, there was no more spirit in her.
So she said to the king, “The report was true that I heard in my own land of your accomplishments and of your wisdom, but I did not believe the reports until I came and my own eyes had seen it. Not even half had been told me; your wisdom and prosperity far surpass the report that I had heard. Happy are your wives! Happy are these your servants, who continually attend you and hear your wisdom!
Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and set you on the throne of Israel! Because the Lord loved Israel forever, he has made you king to execute justice and righteousness.” Then she gave the king one hundred twenty talents of gold, a great quantity of spices, and precious stones; never again did spices come in such quantity as that which the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
What is extraordinary about Solomon’s encounter with the queen of Sheba is how his riches, words, and deeds lift her mind to God. Rather than being impressed by Solomon himself, Solomon is so filled with the Holy Spirit that the queen of Sheba recognizes that it is the Lord who works through him. She arrives to test Solomon, and God showed up – in Solomon.
My favorite line in this passage is “there was no more spirit in her,” or as other translations have it, “she was breathless.” Encountering a person filled with the Spirit of God should leave us breathless. In the presence of a person truly wise, we are filled with wonder and awe at God’s majesty rather than that of the person through whom God spoke. The Ignatian motto of “Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam” – for the greater glory of God – is the motto of the wise person.
Do our words and actions leave people feeling breathless at the greatness of God?
—Rachel Forton is the Marketing & Retreat Coordinator for Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House in Barrington, IL.
Dear Jesus, help me to spread your fragrance everywhere I go.
Flood my soul with your spirit and life. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly
that all my life may only be a radiance of yours.
Shine through me and be so in me
that every soul I come in contact with may feel your presence in my soul. Let them look
up and see no longer me but only Jesus!
Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as you shine,
so to shine as to be a light to others;
the light, O Jesus, will be all from you;
none of it will be mine: it will be you shining on others through me.
Let me thus praise you in the way you love best:
by shining on those around me.
Let me preach you without preaching, not by words,
but by my example,
by the catching force, the sympathetic influence of what I do,
the evident fullness of the love my heart bears to you.
—“The Prayer Radiating Christ” by John Henry Cardinal Newman (prayed daily by St. Teresa of Calcutta)
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