Tuesday of the First Week of Advent
The first reading from the prophet Isaiah describes a time of peace and a reconciliation of past enmities. The vision includes lions sleeping with lambs and wolves resting with sheep. Of course this involves a lot of animals becoming vegetarians, making it a bit hard on the plants. This allegory attempts to portray an idyllic time in which animosity and traditional hatreds would be set aside and a time of peace would prevail. The image of wolves and lambs together is dramatic since it is in the nature of the former to breakfast on the latter. Isaiah uses this imagery to recall our own tendencies towards sinfulness and tries to inspire those who heard him towards a time when what would seem to be “natural” tendencies of hatred and mistrust could be reversed.
Though some religious traditions saw human nature as inherently evil after the fall of Adam and Eve, Ignatius always proposed a more optimistic view of humanity, even after the effects of original sin. Not blind to the effects of sin, Ignatius saw human nature as good and referred to evil more as the enemy of our nature not so much as an internal movement. Ignatius presumed the goodness of human nature which reached its fulfillment only when it cooperated with God’s action in the world. This cooperation Ignatius, taught, both fulfills God’s will and our nature which was created by God for God. Although this future world of a seemingly impossible reversal of dug-in patterns appears to be impossible to achieve, remember that we pray to see it come to reality each time we recite the Our Father and ask that the Isaiah’s vision of the “heavenly mountain” will be “on earth as it is heaven.”