by Sr. Maureen Paul Angeline, O.Carm
The idea that a virgin gives birth is “absurd.” Even more absurd is the thought that a mere mortal could give birth to God. God Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth and all that is, was, and ever will be, chose a specific time and place in human history to become one of his own creatures... Absurdity upon absurdity!
These were my thought as I worked through my Advent meditations. What do I really believe and why do I believe it? Faith truly is a mystery and a gift. I believe that there is a God because the world around me is too beautiful. It is too well-ordered in all its complexities to be anything other than the creation of a great mind and power. It is far greater than that of human beings. But what about the goodness of the God who created all of this? What about all of the pains and sufferings of life? What about innocent children being gunned down in their school? What about the losses and the evil in the world? How could God who is infinitely good allow them?
The limits of my human mind prevent me from understanding. And so, unable to comprehend, I turn my mind to the Incarnation:
"And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we have seen his glory; the glory of an only Son coming from the Father, filled with enduring love. Of his fullness we have all had a share - love following upon love." Jn1:14 and 16 (NAB)
The ancient Israelites expected the messiah to come mounted on a steed, charging into battle, a powerful, fierce figure wielding the sword, dispensing justice, uniting the tribes of Israel, and ruling the whole world with invincible might and unending glory. Instead he came as a little baby boy, a helpless, vulnerable, fully human baby. The word "absurd" again came to mind. "Could it be that the infinitely good and all-powerful God, the Mastermind of all creation, knows more than I do?" Of course He does! My lack of understanding does not matter. He chose to become human as a baby. How delicately and gently He made His dwelling among us! And He came "filled with an enduring love." He loved completely, perfectly, steadfastly in all respects even to the point of suffering and dying for us. The bitter sting of the finality of death was replaced by the sweetness of hope - hope in eternal life, in love and in salvation.
How absurd that I would question Him about anything, or set myself up as His judge to say whether He is good or not! Life is a great gift and not one that is earned or merited in any way. What great joy I then experienced as I relinquished my irrational desire to rationalize God. Joy in His birth, joy in His life, and joy even in His death, because it was followed by His resurrection. To surrender to His will, accept life as the great gift that it is, and to love and live fully as He did, and as He created me to be- that is pure Joy. I know from my own experience that the more I surrendered to His will in all things, from the biggest life decisions, to the smallest moment to moment choices- the fuller, richer, and more joy-filled my life is. God is good! I pray that you too may have a joyful spirit and may come to know "love following upon love."