Board of Advisors December 2015, A.D. Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J., President Emeritus, Catholic Views Broadcasts
Fr. Paul La Fontaine, Spiritual Advisor, St. Paul Seminary
Msgr. Matthew Odong, Rector, Sacred Heart Seminary, Uganda
Dear Friends and Family of St. Michael Broadcasting,
On your station, you may have heard professor and theologian Scott Hahn saying “God’s greatest work was not creation, but redemption.” During this time of Advent (which derives from the Latin word “coming”) it’s worth pondering the significance of this statement.
The Holy Bible begins with the words of Genesis 1:1. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” It continues, repeating “And God said…” (ten times, anticipating the Ten Commandments), “let there be light” and land, and oceans, and plants and animals and so on until He forms man: “God created man in his image… male and female He created them.” (Gen 1:26-27).
Some wonder how literally to take the creation narratives. For example, Genesis 2:7 says “The Lord created man from the dust of the earth...” Responding to this “creation vs. evolution” debate, then Cardinal Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI, in his book In the Beginning, says “The theory of evolution seeks to explain biological developments… The story of the ‘dust of the earth’… does not in fact explain how human persons came to be, but rather what they are.” That is, created beings. Speaking of Adam and Eve eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Cardinal Ratzinger says: “…at the very heart of sin lies human beings’ denial of their creatureliness… they do not want to be dependent, they… want to be God… human beings who deny the limitations imposed upon them by good and evil, which are the inner standard of creation, deny the truth. They are living in untruth and unreality.” p. 71
The great lay theologian and apologist Frank Sheed (1897-1981) in his book Theology for Beginners says much the same thing: “God made us and all things out of nothing… God holds us and all things in being… Not to know these two truths is to be wrong about everything. If we omit God, we do not see anything as it is, but everything as
it is not, which is the very definition of insanity… Science studies the constitution of matter… but no science can study the two far more vital questions--- by whom they were made, for what they were made.” p. 51
So, why did God create the universe? Cardinal Ratzinger writes, “God created the universe in order to enter into a history of love with humankind. He created it so that love could exist… God created the universe in order to become a human being and pour out his love to us and invite us to love him in return.” p. 30
This leads us to the creation narrative of John 1:1. “In the beginning was the Word… all things came to be through him… to those who did accept him, he gave power to become children of God… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14) St. John refers to Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, as the “Word of God” (from the Greek logos, meaning word, speech or reason).
At this time of the year, we celebrate the Word becoming flesh, the Redeemer, coming into history at Christmas. But not only in history at Christmas: coming now, in mystery, in the Eucharist, and in the future, in glory, at the Second Coming, when Jesus will come in awful majesty to judge the living and the dead. How should we, as St. John the Baptist said, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord” and make the “crooked straight”?
Fr. Baker, in his book Preach the Word says we prepare by “correcting faults and doing penance. The Lord enters into the hearts only of those who are ready to receive him. The best way to prove…that we are truly sorry is by the practice of prayer, penance and self-denial… give up something you like in the days before Christmas so you can share in the poverty of St. John… It could be a candy bar, a meal, a drink, turning off the TV… and reading a few chapters in the Bible or some pages in a life of your favorite saint.” p.11
The Christmas carol Joy to the World says “Let every heart prepare Him room.” We do this by removing the stains of sin through the Sacrament of Penance, by amending our lives, by acts of penance whose purpose is both to express sorrow and strengthen the will, and by adorning our hearts with virtues and acts of charity.
We volunteers at St. Michael Broadcasting wish you all a very Merry Christmas! We ask you to support the station with words, deeds, prayers and a financial contribution if possible, and pray that we may all joyfully meet one another one day in the presence of the Holy Trinity.
Michael Bird, President and volunteer