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The Great Mystery

Meditation on the Basilica Hymn of the Second Sunday of Subara (Advent)

For more reflections on the Basilica Hymns of each season, purchase Perpetual Jubilee: Meditations on the Chaldean Liturgical Year on Amazon.com.

Suspense

God, the Author of history, works in ways we understand; he writes in our language, because we are his audience. If we understand this well, we can make sense of his action in our world. Salvation history, as presented perfectly in the Scriptures, is the story of how God speaks to us and, gradually and by degrees, brings us to a greater knowledge of himself. As a human author utilizes every technique to relate a truth to his reader, and adapts himself as his audience requires, so God makes use of the depths of human expression to reveal the ultimate Truth, who is Jesus Christ.

But a Truth this sublime cannot be told, in human language, in a single sentence. It required centuries of preparation beforehand, in Moses and the Prophets, before this full expression could even begin, and even afterward it has taken centuries for us to begin to understand what was revealed in Christ – and this only with the help of the Holy Spirit. This long preparation and post-interpretation is necessary – there is no way God could have revealed himself so fully without shaking the world both before and after.

This “divine suspense” in our waiting for the Lord’s manifestation in the flesh is a fruitful exercise in spirituality, since it is precisely what prepares us for receiving him when he comes. It also reminds us how special we are in being of the “generation” of those to whom he was revealed, that is, the generation of believers. The second Basilica Hymn of the liturgical year says it thus:

The great Mystery that had been hidden for centuries and for generations has been revealed to us in the final age…

The Method

How then did God finally show what he wanted to show? The “final age” is the age begun by the Incarnation of Christ, the Son of God. The “pedagogical method” of God, then, is in taking flesh, becoming man, becoming one of his students, in order to teach them more directly:

…the Only-Begotten, who is in the Womb of his Begetter, came and assumed the form of a servant in his grace…

The humility of a servant, which is what is shown in the example of the Only-Begotten, is the necessary classroom in which the ultimate lesson of Divinity is taught. Without this humility, which the Word of God showed us by example, the Mystery can never be known.

The Mystery

What then is this great Mystery? What is it which God revealed in Christ, after centuries and generations of preparation and waiting?

…and he related and revealed to us the perfect faith of the Trinity.

The three Qnome of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in one God is the ultimate, salvific Mystery which was prepared for by all the prophets and which has been reflected upon for centuries. This is the reason Christ came; knowing this Truth is our salvation. It is knowing God with this kind of intimacy and living with him so closely that gives our life meaning and truth.