I apologize for not blogging in a while; I returned from Europe on Wednesday night, and since then, have been flitting here and there for parties and such. But tonight I stayed home instead of journeying to the land of Club Rodeo; I thought it would be good to spend time with my family--and it was! My brother and I went to see "Captain America" (which was AWESOMELY EPIC; I think I even like it better than "Thor"), and I hung out with the rest of my family at home. Quite a lovely evening! And now I am taking some time to blog. Because I love blogging. Getting my thoughts out on paper (or a screen) is really good for me. I love being able to piece together what is in my mind, because it helps me develop ideas and connections. So here I go.
"The work of redemption began in utero." ("The Prayer of Mary" by Keith Fournier)
So I bought this book at Borders yesterday, because I had a gift card (thanks to being nominated for student of the month several months back), and because Borders is going out of business! Sad day.....e-books are nowhere near as awesome as an actual book with pages. But I digress...
I went to Adoration today, and just started reading the book. And right there, in the preface--BOOM! "The work of redemption began in utero." Just like that. So I sat there, and thought about it for a second. And then I was like "well, I can't fully develop my thoughts right now; I'll have to blog about it later." So I kept on reading the book, which I highly recommend reading, because it is awesome! So here I am, a little after 11 p.m., and its time for me to think about this sentence.
Jesus Christ came down to Earth to redeem us. Everyone knows the story. The whole Old Testemen sets the stage for the greatest work of redemption that will ever be known; the Son of God saving the world, opening the gates of Heaven, throught the ultimate sacrifice: bringing about life through His death. But how did He come down? Again, the story is very cliched at times. Sweet little Jewish girl, doing her thing. Wahhh woooh wahh! Angel appears! Sweet Jewish girl is surprised, but says "Whatever God wants, and I'm good with it." Next thing ya know, she's off to help her cousin, who is very pregnant. And then follows the whole saga of this journey to Bethlehem, no room at the inn, etc. And then Jesus comes out! Yay! Baby! But not just any baby--He's God!
So many times, I think people (myself included) will hear this story, and just focus on the end of it: the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. And don't get me wrong; that is a ridiculously important part of the story! But how many people also focus on the beginning of the story? Did you know that the Annunciation (March 25) is actually a Solemnity? It's not a HDO (Holy Day of Obligation) and no one really talks about celebrating it or anything, so I think it can easily pass by. But it is so crazy important! I remember the first time I really started thinking about the Solemnity of the Annunciation; it was at youth group, when Tony Brandt talked about what a big deal it was. So I began to celebrate the Annunciation, and meditate on the mystery of the Incarnation, and of Mary's fiat. And now that I have this epic sentence from this awesome book, I believe that I shall think about it more :)
Jesus is/was the redeemer. We got that set in stone. So the work of redemption was Him coming into the world, beginning to set things into place. Check. But where/when did that begin? In utero. I've never really thought about it that way before. In utero. Nobody could actually see the redemtive works that were taking place; no one could see baby Jesus developing--His fingers, toes, and hair growing. Nobody could see it happen, but it was very important work that was happening. After all, how could Jesus journey miles during His life if He didn't have fingers and toes? Important work was taking place-unseen in the womb. After a while, Mary's tummy began to grow as Jesus grew bigger. People could begin to notice that a new life was growing. To quote one of my good friends, Ellen (when speaking of pregnant women) "her tummy is exciting!" Mary could begin to see the growth of the redemptive work; she could see her tummy expand with the baby Jesus. Yet she still could not fully see what God had been doing. She could not physically see Jesus yet. More time needed to pass, more developments had to be made. And so, in patience, she waited. Nourishing Jesus, loving Jesus, she waited to see what God had been doing--unseen--in her womb.
So many times, we expect to see results--complete results--at once! I am very guilty of this; I am part of our society where "instant gratification" is the norm. But this is not always how God works. God will, at times, work in a way that people can instantly see it and be changed. But many times He chooses to work in hidden ways. He likes to do His work in utero, so to speak. Hidden, developing, so that when the time is right, His plan may be revealed. What are we to do, as He goes about His hidden workings? Like Mary, we must nourish His work. We must foster deep relationships with God, keeping ourselves spiritually healthy, so that we can support the life-giving work that He has planned for us. We must not commit abortions; we must not try to put a stop to what God is trying to do in our lives. We cannot stop our prayer lives, in an effort to destroy this hidden work of God. We cannot abandon God's will for us. No, we must be ever mindful of His work, and His plan. That even if we can't see it, knowing that God's work is present, and will be revealed at the proper time.
And so begins redemption.
How will you respond to it?