VATICAN CITY, JAN. 29, 2003 ( Authentic wisdom is a gift of God that allows us to see what's truly important from his perspective, says John Paul II.

The Pope made that comment during his address at today's general audience, which drew more than 3,000 pilgrims.

He was offering a meditation on the canticle in Chapter 9 of the Book of Wisdom, in which the believer pleads for the gift of wisdom because he knows that without it he would "amount to nothing."

"One can easily intuit that this wisdom is not simple intelligence or practical ability, but rather participation in the very mind of God who in his wisdom has established man," said John Paul II.

"It is, therefore, the capacity to penetrate the profound meaning of being, of life and of history, going beyond the surface of things and events to discover the ultimate meaning, willed by the Lord," he added.

"Wisdom is like a lamp that illuminates our daily moral choices and leads us on the straight path, to understand what is pleasing in the sight of the Lord, and what is right according to his commandments," the Holy Father said.

He invited the faithful to pray this canticle at the start of the day "so that God will be next to us with his wisdom and assist us and support us in our daily toil, revealing to us the good and the evil, the just and the unjust."

"Taking the hand of divine Wisdom, we go forward confidently in the world," he said.

The Pope's catechesis was a continuation of the series of meditations he has dedicated to the Psalms and canticles of the Old Testament. They may be consulted in ZENIT's Web page, in the "Wednesday's Audience" section.