Voce mea ad Dominum

Random thoughts from an amateur theologist.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Exit and return

Just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to the one who sows and bread to the one who eats, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it. - Isaiah 55:10-11

In this passage from the book of the prophet, Isaiah, we see an image of the giving by God and the returning to God (or as Pope Benedict calls it in his book The Spirit of the Liturgy, an example of exitus and reditus). The rain and snow come from heaven to do what they are meant to do and then return to heaven from whence they came. In a like manner, the word of God will come forth, do what it is intended to do, then return to God.

The word of God is that through which the universe came into being; that's the entire universe mind you which includes you and me and paramecia and cats and sand crabs and dust mites, etc. It was all willed into exitence by God as is described in Genesis, "And God said let there be___ and there was ___." Jesus is the incarnation of that word, the person through whom God willed all things into being, or as the preface to the Second Eucharistic Prayer says, "he is the Word through whom you made the universe." Even more simply put, God willed himself, the uncaused cause, into our nature. Infinite intermingled with finite, the eternal with the temporal, God with man.

Why? To do the will of the Father, the one who sent the Son (exitus). And when the Son, the Word of the Father, achieved the end for which he was sent, he returned to the Father (reditus). So, what was the will of the Father? That all might be saved. With the Fall of man, we accepted the exitus, but in our pride we refused the reditus because we turned away from God (a privilege of our freedom to reject God) and sought to do our will rather than God's, and in the process lost our way, and once lost we could not find the way back to God on our own. We needed someone to come and get us and bring us back to God. The only one who could do that was the one who sent us in the first place, God himself who came to us as a man. But he didn't just show us the way. He is the way.

Father, it is our duty and salvation always and everywhere to give you thanks through your beloved Son Jesus Christ. He is the Word through whom you made the universe, the Savior you sent to redeem us. By the power of the Holy Spirit he took flesh and was born of the Virgin Mary. For our sake he opened his arms on the cross, he put an end to death and revealed the resurrection. In this he fulfilled your will and won for you a holy people. And so we join the angels and the saints in proclaiming your glory as we sing, "Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might! Heaven and earth are full of your glory! Hosanna in the Highest! Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the Lord! Hosanna in the Highest!"

Saints Perpetua and Felicity, pray for us.


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