Are we ready to welcome Him?

December 5, 2022

When the first proposition to reject God’s love -original sin was introduced to our first parents, the appeal of this proposition was its focus on the human nature of Adam and Eve at the expense of supplanting the Divine. Choosing to be overwhelmed by a curiosity and desire to be like God, Adam and Eve proclaimed a willingness to welcome the first act of disobedience-sin, into the world. The progression of the original sin laid the groundwork for the development of a daily battle between good versus evil, sin versus grace, permitted under the authority of God.

The great twentieth-century theologian Fr. Charles Journet describes sin as being inseparably connected to nothing good and acts only to destroy the work of God[1]; as part of the description, he addresses the question of why God would permit sin and remarks via St. Thomas Aquinas that there will always be some mysterious good of which sin is the reverse side, and many splendid things may come of it. The fall of the first Adam called forth the redemption of the second Adam, the human will alone can sin, and the divine will alone can bring about redemption.[2]

If the first Adam was willing to welcome sin into God’s created order because of a desire to be like God, then the order of redemption brought forth by Jesus Christ the Son of God, the new Adam, provides us with an opportunity to seek Him and enter into a personal relationship with him. The drama of our desire to be with Christ must address whether we desire Him over our sins. Or, have we prepared ourselves to receive his gift of grace? The Catechism provides insight into this drama:

God’s free initiative demands man’s free response, for God has created man in his image by conferring on him, along with freedom, the power to know him and love him. The soul only enters freely into the communion of love. God immediately touches and directly moves the heart of man. He has placed in man a longing for truth and goodness that only he can satisfy. The promises of “eternal life” respond, beyond all hope, to this desire[3]

Seek Him?

The promise of eternal life should suffice for anyone to seek a relationship with Jesus Christ. The reality of this claim presents an opportunity to embrace the awe and wonder of God the Father through the Son. This act of grace is further revealed through Jesus’ death and resurrection on the cross that is commemorated in the holy sacrifice of the Mass.

The initial path to seek Him involves progressing toward faith before forming a firm profession. Part of this path consists of recognizing one’s behaviors that may inhibit a progression toward Jesus Christ and, second, a desire to not engage in these behaviors again. Henri De Lubac, in his book The Discovery of God, describes the challenges of seeking God through a series of straightforward questions:

Why is it that the mind which has found God still retains or constantly reverts to the feeling of not having found him? Why does that absence weigh on us even in the presence itself, however intimate it may be? Why, face to face with him who penetrates all things, why that insurmountable obstacle, that unbridgeable gap? Why always a wall or gaping void? Why do all things, as soon as they have shown him to us, betray us by concealing him again?[4]

In answer to these questions, De Lubac describes the importance of man ultimately affirming his identity as a spirit created in the image and likeness of God.[5] De Lubac claims that if a man attempts to go against his natural vocation as a child of God created in His image and likeness, a contradiction is introduced that stymies man’s ability to accept God’s love. The climax of this particular spiritual drama is whether man will surrender to God and love Him without reservation.

Are we ready to welcome Him?

Our identity as human beings is intimately united with the Father because he created us in his image and likeness. Though someone may argue to the contrary, the observable fact remains that our identity possesses a divine quality. This characteristic allows us to dialogue with God the Father through his Son, Jesus Christ. In its harmony and beauty, the world can be formed only in a dialogue of love in which God exchanges with us, and we with him.[6]

We can welcome Christ into our lives when we place our trust in Him and desire nothing else but Him. Every relationship around us, from our spouses to our children, family, friends, and acquaintances, is now engaged and affirmed through the lens of Jesus Christ. We are called to embrace the heart of Christ and reciprocate this love back to Him. As the Good Shepherd, Jesus reminds us that no one took his life; instead, he gave it freely on his own accord.[7]

St. Charbel reminds us:

Thanks to the light of the eternal Spirit who is in you, you can realize the depth of the mystery of existence. Do not seek to understand the truth through your senses, for you will run up against the limits of these senses.

Know that they help you to love, but do not love them. ...

True joy is not in the senses: it consists of going beyond them so as to infiltrate into the heart of the light, to the place where you plunge into the heart of God, where you contemplate his light and are fused with his love.

Every time that you want to look at the exterior, close your eyes and look to the interior; that is when you will see the exterior more clearly.

Every time that you want to hear, close your ears and listen to the interior voice; then you will hear better.

Master your senses so as to glorify God, and do not let them lead you to glorify his creatures.

Love even unto the gift of yourself. Blood is the only ink with which love is written; the rest is just ink on paper. In Christ, every human being is a word in God’s mouth until all humanity becomes a hymn of love. Glory to God.’

 

St. Charbel Makhlouf (+ A.D. 1898)

 

 

[1] Journet, Fr. Charles, The Meaning of Evil, (Providence, Cluny, 2020), p. 126

[2] Ibid, p. 126

[4] De Lubac, Henri, The Discovery of God, (London, Darton, Longman & Todd, 1960), p. 48-49

[5] Ibid, p. 55

[6] Sarah, Robert, Cardinal, The Power of Silence, (San Francisco, Ignatius, 2017), p. 147

[7] Jn 10:18

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