instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Economy of Salvation in Sixty Words or Less

What do you think of this as a three-verse explanation of how Divine Providence and human free will work together:
So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee. A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said, "If you wish, you can make me clean."

Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, "I do will it. Be made clean."
God acts first, man responds to His actions, and God completes His act, achieving His will of man fully healed.

No leper today can come up to Jesus as that leper did; no leper today can be touched by His hand as that leper was. Jesus' human body has ascended to heaven. He is not now physically present in the world as He was when that leper knelt before Him in Galilee.

That's not to say He isn't present at all, of course. He is present by His Divine nature. He is present spiritually or mystically in His Church. He is present sacramentally in the Eucharist.

But a leper today looking for a human being, in a human body, to kneel before will have to settle for one of us, a member of Christ's mystical body. What would we say, if a leper today came to us and kneeling down begged us and said, "If Christ wish, He can make me clean"?

I, for one, would feel dashed awkward about the whole thing, but then I don't think I run much of a risk of being put in that position. Not because there aren't plenty of lepers today, but because I don't give them much reason to think Christ can make them clean.