Blog # 336 What? and Why?
Many years ago when I was a boy I used to go shopping for a neighbor who was
housebound and lived across the street from us. If you were the person behind me at the checkout counter you could see what I was doing by observing the onions, raisins, shredded wheat, and peanut butter I had laid out on the counter. But to know the whole story of what I was doing you would have to know why I was doing it. The lady who lived across the street was a major part of that. I was sent for this. If we are to understand what a person is doing we have to understand why he or she is doing it.
So it is with Jesus. Christmas is connected to His teaching, kindness, and miracles. These are connected to Calvary and Calvary is connected to Easter. Easter is connected to the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven and His Ascension is connected to Pentecost. The Eternal Word of God had come to do the Father's will. He was sent for this. He was on earth for a certain time, like us in all but sin. "...I do always the will of Him Who sent me."
The Word did not cease to be divine in coming among us. Yet in order to be really one of us He had to be limited by space time and all the limitations that are ours. He had to learn how , in His own time and place, in His own limited human way to express His eternal divine love for the
Father and all creation. He had to be satisfied for the time being to experience develop and express His divine love in human limited words thoughts and actions.
Jesus had to learn how to pray. In His limited short-lived human experience He had to praise and thank the Father for a very small part of all He knew God had done. Maybe it was something like our experience of thanking God for the stars we see, knowing all the while there are far more we do not see.
We believe, and this is a very important truth in all that we believe, that all Jesus was sent to do, was done not only for the Father's glory, but in a special specific way for us. We need to deepen our understanding and awareness of this element of our faith in coming to a complete understanding of the total mission of the Word of God in Jesus on earth. We must guard against viewing the life of Jesus as an attempt on His part to set a pace, as it were, to put down footprints for us to follow. Abraham and Moses, St. Paul and St Mary Magdalene, St Francis of Assisi and our Patron Saints were sent for this. Jesus was sent for this and more.
Jesus 'came' from Heaven and lived among us as one of us that we might 'go' to Heaven living in Him! The gift of this reality is what we have called Sanctifying Grace the gift of sharing God's life, making us holy, or like to God. This is what Jesus was trying to explain to Nicodemus when he spoke to him about being "born from above" and how necessary this was for anyone to "see", which means in this context to understand and experience the Kingdom of God.
Down through the ages, back to the very beginning of our story, the Church has taken these words of Jesus at face value. As with St. Paul, we are a "new creation" in Jesus through faith and Baptism. Jesus did not just go before us in a previous moment of history. He lives in us today. He did not merely live for us as a role model but shared with us His very life. "...and the life I live now is not my own alone; Christ is living in me." (Gal. 2:20; Jn. 14: 23; 15: 1 - 5). This truth is beyond our limited human competence to discover on our own. It is a supernatural truth. It requires faith to accept it. God, in Jesus, is our dependable and trustworthy witness to this faith.
We identify the gift of Sanctifying Grace not as a house in which we live, or clothing we put on, but more like medicine which heals us from within or food that gives us energy and life. God's divine life is shared with us in our limited human way. Jesus has gone to prepare a place for those who live this faith so that where He is they might forever be, in God's eternal love. (Jn. 14: 2 - 3).