December 19, 2012

A New Liberty for Humanity

God loves to work through human freedom -- the freer humanity is, the more freely God manifests His Glory.  To help us find this spiritual liberty, John the Baptist was sent to prepare the way of the Lord.   His message was a very simple call to act justly and honestly.  The effort to live our lives morally upright levels the pathway for the Messiah.  What was true in that historical coming of Christ is true in the spiritual ways He continues to come into our hearts: the Lord is able to more freely come into the world when we devote ourselves to doing what is right and to overcoming evil with what is good.

We have a great advantage over those who heard the preaching of the Baptist.   They did not know that the promise was already fulfilled in a manner that surpassed all expectation:  the Son of God had come into the world.  They repented of sin and lived justly based solely on the promise that He would come -- without fully understanding just who "He" would be.

Yet their faith in the shadow of so great a reality was enough for them to begin to get ready, enough for them to repent, enough to realize they needed salvation, to begin to love and respect one another again.  We have an even greater reason for this kind of living faith - for we do not live in the shadow of a promise, but we live in communion with the fulfillment of that promise: the Living Image of the Invisible God continually comes by mystery into the broken and impoverished places of our lives because He has already come into history and loved us in poverty - the poverty of a babe in swaddling clothes.

Faith in Christ brings a new liberty to humanity.   By infusing our poverty, our weakness, our voids, our failures, our inadequacies with His Presence, all these things that would otherwise impede our efforts to love are now infused with an even greater love - God's love.   Renunciation of a hidden sin that no one might notice, renunciation of amusements that do not give glory to God, renunciation of a little comfort at the end of a long day, renunciation of the need to win an argument, renunciation of the need to be noticed - whenever we make these little renunciations out of love for Jesus, we discover our poverty and in discovering our poverty we open ourselves to the coming of Life, the coming of Truth, and this in a greater Way than we have ever known before.  This is the new freedom, the spiritual liberty, that the Christ child comes to bring humanity.