Memorial of Saint Raymond of Penyafort
The Christian understanding of “the world” is a complicated concept. The Christian is waging war against “the world, the flesh, the devil.” And yet, we are also told: “God so loved the world….” Which is it?
Well, all that has being was created by God, who declared it good in its parts, and “very good” in its sum. God created freedom as well – it is perhaps the great glory of creation – but that was the great “wild card” in creation, for creation could turn against its Creator. It did, it has, it does turn against God – and we, free creatures at some point invariably take part in that rebellion. Original sin. And yet – “God so loved the world that He sent His only-begotten Son into the world.” To save it. To save us.
But how do we, who are in and very largely of this fallen world, overcome it? Simple: we don’t. We need a Savior. And God has sent us His Son to be our Savior. We need to believe in Him, and in that faith – which is also His gift to us – to be lifted out of the fallen world. And in being lifted, He transforms the world (for after all we are world as well), and He, who also became part of creation and has transformed it entirely, lifts all of us into the glorious light of His Father. And so the world’s rebellion is overcome, and we are saved from that destruction to which all creation, fallen and rebellious, tends. Let us rejoice in that faith that is the victory that overcomes the world, let us build the buildings of our lives ever more on that one sure foundation, of that one sure material, according to those only sure plans. Jesus, in whom God has revealed Himself to us. Epiphany.