To see into Providence, it is necessary to look with eyes of abandonment and trust
We often set off on an unceasing quest to distance ourselves from every anxiety, and thus begin to live in such a way as to constantly seek change for "the better". There is a self-inflicted stress in such a life; a nervous movement toward some savored goal which, once attained, turns out empty. It is like chasing a mirage. The image presents itself in what seems such clarity and beauty. Yet it can never be reached. It is an illusion.
Simeon spoke these mysterious words to the Virgin Mary: 'and you yourself a sword will pierce' (Lk 2:35). As Christians, we participate in Christ's own life. Consequently, in a sense, Simeon's words apply to every Christian who is wounded by the divine sword of love.
As we plumb the boundless depths of the Nativity, we find there exposed in brilliant majesty the incomparable love of God Incarnate, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity who willed to set aside for a time his great power and magnificence in order that he may become a humble Child of human flesh, grow into a Man, and pour out his salvific blood and water from the cross in the ultimate act of selflessness. We find there, also, the supreme and inexpressible gifts of mercy, life and hope which are contained in this wondrous Child who is the origin and source of our own life -- past, present, and future.
As we look upon this beautiful Child, this Star of burning, Trinitarian Love laid in a manger of simple poverty, there is no avoiding the shadow of the cross that is cast upon his life. It was this shadow of which Simeon, the righteous and devout man in the temple, spoke these mysterious words to the Virgin Mary: "and you yourself a sword will pierce" (Lk 2:35). This shadow is cast also upon all those who love the Child, for their lives are bound up in the mystery of Christ's own life. Consequently, in a sense, Simeon's words apply to every Christian who is wounded by the divine sword of Love.
We often forget that our own lives, joined to the mystery of Christ's life, are too a journey in the way of the cross. It is therefore easy -- though we understand that our God wills only our good -- to give in to the nearly constant temptation which seeks to draw us into distrust of divine Providence. This temptation encourages us to separate those unfortunate, tense or even frightening circumstances we encounter in life from God's plan for us, as if one cannot possibly be connected to the other. It is helpful to refer to St. Paul's words: "We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose" (Rom 8:28).
Providence And Happiness
It was St. Augustine who observed that our hearts will not rest until they rest in God. We are "hardwired" for happiness, to live in and with God, immersed in his joy forever. Yet we often fail to understand how to access something of this joy even now, in the midst of what can be a painful existence. Consequently, we set off on an unceasing quest to distance ourselves from every anxiety, and thus begin to live in such a way as to constantly seek change for "the better". There is a self-inflicted stress in such a life; a nervous movement toward some savored goal which, once attained, turns out empty. It is like chasing a mirage. The image presents itself in what seems such clarity and beauty. Yet it can never be reached. It is an illusion. Suddenly we are struck in the face by the emptiness in life; in distress, we may even feel abandoned.
Further, when what we perceive as a terrible circumstance in life occurs, we find it difficult to imagine how anything good could come of it. We tend to fixate on the arrival of some suffering, closing our eyes to what lies beyond. We self-limit our sight, so to speak: we have an obdurate tendency to evaluate based only on our senses: we see only what reaches the eyes; we hear only what sounds in the ears; we feel only what can be physically touched. Yet to gaze upon the Christ Child is to look far beyond the surface; it is to possess eyes of eternal sight, to hear with hearts of warm love, and sense with the profound depth of the human, spiritual soul.
"Let nothing disturb thee; nothing frighten thee. All things are passing. God never changes. Patience obtains all things. Nothing is wanting to him who possesses God. God alone suffices" -- St. Teresa of Avila
If we truly have faith it should not be so difficult to trust God. Understand that what things appear to be on the surface are just that: surface appearances. Beyond our shortsighted vision stands the omnipotent God who is infinitely capable, and who is limitless Love: a personal God who is Creator, who is Father of all, who is tender and compassionate and dependable without fail. Nevertheless, it is unfortunate that many see little but randomness in life and chaos in Providence. Yet it is Providence which is drawing us toward our final state: the fullness of human existence in God's eternal plan of love. It is Providence that merges the suffering of the cross, which every Christian must endure, with tears of joy, unfolding in the end a divine work of everlasting beauty that is simply, for the moment, beyond our sight. It is in childlike abandonment to Providence, in total trust of the Christ ...
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Christmas / Advent News
- A Layman's Plea for Tolerance of Catholics
- A Question For The Christmas Season: Do You Want To Become A Saint?
- Every Leader Supporting Abortion is Herod, Every Child Killed a Holy Innocent
- Feast of St. Stephen, Proto-Martyr, Calls us to Reflect on the Gift of Deacons
- Fr. Sly on the Feast of St John in the Octave of Christmas
- Welcoming the Birth of the Redeemer in the Womb: Jesus was an Embryonic Person
- Merry Christmas: Love is Born on Christmas Morn and the World is Born Anew
- Pope St Leo the Great: Christian, Remember Your Dignity
- Pope Benedict XVI: If God's Light is Extinguished, Man's Divine Dignity is also Extinguished
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?