The messenger watched this event with pleasure. He smiled, remembering his visit with this woman just before he reported to the inner court. How open she was to the word of God, completely submitted to His will.
"ALL MAJESTY AND GLORY ARE YOURS, O MOST HIGH!" they declared. "YOU ARE TO BE PRAISED ABOVE ALL IN HEAVEN. THERE IS NO ONE LIKE YOU, O GOD. YOU ARE THE ONE WHO CREATED ALL THINGS AND YOU ALONE SUSTAIN ALL OF YOUR DOMINION. WE EXTOL AND MAGNIFY YOUR HOLY NAME!"
Thousands of the heavenly host were assembled, bowing in agreement with each phrase uttered by the angelic choir. God the Father acknowledged their praise with waves of blessing flowing from the great throne. Each blessing received by the angels amplified their praise and returned to the Lord as exaltation.
Suddenly a herald angel appeared at the door of the inner court. His face, which usually glowed with the glory of heaven, was pale. The expression of this messenger betrayed concern, a trait unusual in the Tabernacle of God.
"It's time," he said, "everything is ready." At these words, the angels stopped in mid-adoration. Slowly rising from the temple floor, they stood before the throne and arranged themselves in columns on each side of the altar, forming a human hallway between the entrance of the court and the great throne.
Just then, an extraordinary glow appeared above the tabernacle. The light flashed through the doorway of the inner court in ever-increasing brilliance, growing in such intensity that as it entered the room the angels had to hide their eyes... they could not look directly upon the radiance of the Son.
Light is a strange way to describe a person, but the angels could describe Him no other way. There were no shadows in His presence. He was a fountainhead of illumination... the light of majesty and glory. The presence of the Son was so overpowering that even the eyes of the heavenly community, created for the brilliance of heaven, were not accustomed to it.
The Son approached the throne accompanied by the messenger angel who remained about 20 paces behind.
Jehovah spoke. "It is time. Are you ready, my Son?"
"Yes, Father, I am eager to help our children. The time has come for your love to be manifest."
The Son knelt before the Lord. His glory, as lustrous as ten-thousand stars, radiated in all directions.
A curtain was drawn open behind the throne. Through the opening, the universe was displayed to the heavenly realm. Especially prominent was a dark planet in the center of the portal.
The Son bowed His head and spoke quietly to the Father. Suddenly the brilliance that came from Him exploded in all directions. Like meteors, the light split into smaller pieces, shot around the court just above the heads of the heavenly host, and came to rest above the throne. They formed seven flames that hovered in an arc over the presence of God the Father.
"I am empty," he declared, still with bowed head, "and ready for the journey." He stood up and walked by the right side of the throne, through the threshold, and into the universe.
The inner court appeared dark compared to a few moments before. Only the light of the seven flames lit the room. The angels watched in astonishment as the Son enter time and space.
He approached the tarnished planet, looked back toward the opening in heaven, then continued on. The angels crept nearer the opening to get a better view, as he drew closer to his destination. How lifeless it appeared. One of them turned toward the throne. "Father, what is that place called?" he asked.
God the Father answered quietly, "It is called earth. My most wondrous creation lives there." They marveled at this statement, since the planet seemed so cold and pale. It looked as though God could have never been involved.
The earth rotated many times... days and nights passed slowly, it seemed. Then suddenly one of the flames above the throne suddenly shot through the opening and followed the same path as the Son, remaining high above that part of the planet where He had stepped into its existence. Like a bright star, it illuminated the earth and for the first time the community of heaven saw the status of God's creation. The radiance of this light revealed a place of torment and anxiety. The vivid colors of sin, anger, hatred and fear burst forth.
Swarms of demonic powers were disclosed, hovering at times and then darting back and forth. The creatures of the planet looked pale, quite anemic in their spirits. Constantly tormented by the evil that covered them, they were continually fed from a spiritual banquet offered by the demons. Pride, lust, selfishness, and dread were among the items consumed in quantity, and as they ate they grew vicious and spiteful. They appeared more and more careworn.
So this is where the Son had gone. To this infested, horrid planet of rebellion. They watched under the intensity of this starlight as a baby was born. The radiance from the heavenly glory that stood watch over the planet showed a very different countenance on this child. Not pale and weak as the rest, this one looked healthy and happy. The rosy pink hue of peace was upon Him, and even the hordes of fallen angels could not come near His place of birth. They were repulsed by the glory of His Spirit, and fearful of the power they knew He possessed.
Soon the star moved closer to the earth. It became a beacon over the shelter where the baby lay. The angelic spectators continued to stare in awe as they realized the radiance of this child was not coming from the heavenly light at all. In the shadows of the stable, the child was glowing. The light of glory dwelt within.
His mother knelt by her newborn, caressing the forehead of one who not too long ago stepped out of the heavenlies. She leaned over the cradle and gently picked up God the Son, Ruler of Heaven. The angels gazed in awe at the Mother of God caressing her son.
The messenger watched this event with pleasure. He smiled, remembering his visit with this woman just before he reported to the inner court. How open she was to the word of God, completely submitted to His will. Truly, she was a special person, chosen by the Father Himself.
The Father called the Herald Angel to stand before Him. After receiving instructions, the messenger left the court accompanied by the angelic choir who served before the throne. They walked through the threshold, took their places beneath the star near the birthplace of the baby, and began to rejoice at the birth of the Savior. Their singing stirred the heavenly host who remained in the inner court.
"May we join them, Father?" they cried in one voice. They received permission and charged through the portal, shouting glory and honor to God as they went.
On earth, a group of men called shepherds watched this praise gathering from a hillside vigil. They were both confused and excited at the same time. The messenger spoke to them, saying, "Don't be afraid! Go and see the one who was born." They went quickly to the stable where the child lay, savoring the radiance of His Glory. These were common looking creatures, not quite the attendants expected by the angels for their Prince of Peace, but the host of heaven sensed the pleasure of the Lord at their presence.
As the angels returned to the throne room, they prayed that this planet would suddenly grow rich and vibrant with the glory of the Messiah. Such was not the case. Other than these and a few other visitors, the world around the the little stable did not change much.
Unable to continue with business as usual, the heavenly attendants remained motionless in front of the threshold. They were still amazed at what had just transpired. This was the event they had heard about. Often through the eons of timeless existence, the Father and Son had spoken of this act. To think that they were actually seeing it happen. God's plan to restore man's relationship with Him was under way. They wondered what heaven would be like... now that man would be free to fellowship with God.
Just then the star departed from the planet and joined the six other lights above the Father. The curtains closed behind the throne, and the angels returned to their places of service in the inner court. One of them bowed before the Father. "Lord, it is finished!" He said, raising his hands in worship. The rest of the angels joined in, offering praise and adoration for His marvelous love.
The Father's voice rose above the sounds of praise. "No, faithful ones, it is not finished, it has just begun.
Randy Sly is a communications expert living in Potomac Falls, Va. He is a convert to the Catholic Church having formerly served as an Archbishop of the ICCEC. He serves as the Associate Editor of Catholic Online.
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for January 2015
General Intention: That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace.
Missionary Intention: That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.
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