God’s Plan for Salvation

It seems like Advent has been speeding by and here we are in the fourth and final Sunday before Advent. Christ is coming….and soon.

I wrote yesterday about the Matthean genealogy of Jesus Christ, which chronicles God’s long and deliberate plan for bringing about the Incarnation. For forty-two generations, God prepared for Jesus’ being born as human.

In the beginning of he Second Week of the Spiritual Exerises, St. Ignatius invites us to be with God as his plan for Incarnation unfolds. He invites us imagine the Holy Trinity looking out over the world. The Holy Trinity knows the whole world of humankind and sees all of the various ways human beings are suffering and bringing suffering on each other. Ignatius says “they look down upon the whole surface of the earth and behold all nations in great blindness, going down to death and descending into hell.”

Ignatius invites us to enter into the heart of God as God looks at the world. What goes on in the heart of the Trinity as they look at the darkness of the world? Ignatius invites us to feel the Trinity’s love for humanity and their pain at out suffering. And he invites us to see and hear the Trinity’s response to that pain: how out of that incredible love for humanity, out of God’s infinite and eternal love, God thinks, “Let us save all these people.” And Jesus says, “I’ll go.” And so the Father decides to send the Son down to enter into the world, to become human for the sake of our salvation.

Daniel Ruff, S.J., make this suggestion: “If you try this at home―and I heartily encourage it during this Advent season―try to pay attention to the Trinity’s affective responses to this complicated, messy mass of humanity. Pay attention to your own feelings as well. If you pretend in your imagination to be back in the time before Jesus’ coming, how do you feel looking down “from where God sits” at the mixed, complicated messiness of the unredeemed human condition? Would you respond as the Trinity did?”

Last week, I invited the participants in my Advent Retreat in Daily Living to pray one day with the Ignatius’ contemplation of the Incarnation, and then to also spend a day with a reflection written by Michael Moynajan, S.J., and contained in a book titled Hearts on Fire: Praying with Jesuit.

The reflection, written as a message by the Trinity to us, starts by talking about how little we understood the ways in which God sought to convey God’s love to us, how notwithstanding all God tried to do, we grew distant, deaf and blind to God. It then expresses God’s next move in a simple, homey way:

And so we did
what families do
when confronted with calamity.
We drew straws.
Shorty lost.
He came to share
your plight,
your fight,
your night,
and point you
toward tomorrow.

However you choose to do so, spend some time contemplating the enormity of God’s decision to become human…and what it says about God’s love for us.