FAITH OF OUR FATHERS

Revelation through Creation

God reveals himself to us in the most fundamental way through his act of creation: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Gen.1.1.). He would reveal himself to us ever more clearly by giving us a share in his own creativity. This creativity capacity is inherent in the basic corporate structure of human life as created by God: "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them, and God said to them, `Be fruitful and multiply' " (Gen.1.27-28).

When God created man with this procreative capacity, structured on the family unity of husband, wife, and children, it was with a view to his final purpose of uniting all future generations with himself, their ultimate Source and Goal. So as to give them a share in his own divine life. The union between the first Adam and his Bride Eve, is finally completed as a union between Christ , the second Adam, and his bride, the Church. "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven prepared as a bride adorned for her husband" (Rev.21, 1-2). Through the Incarnation, this new creation comes into being and the way is prepared for the final coming of Christ with the descent of the holy city. Now, baptised into Christ, the natural family is revealed in the glory of God's creativity as the unique sacrament of the Church, which St. Paul cries out "... is a great mystery, and I take it to mean Christ and the Church" (Ephes.5.32).

This sacrament of the final order of re-created human life, the union between Christ and the heavenly Jerusalem, is also the pattern for the local Church, the place where we grow into the final reality of that holy city. What is amazing is God's providing that the form for the procreative potential of the natural family should serve also as the form for the re-creative potential of the eucharistic communities of the Church. As the natural family and the spiritual family are so intimately linked we should be careful to safeguard the integrity of each one; for in both the heavenly Jerusalem is already present on earth. Hence, the Church must proclaim the dignity of the human unity and mutual service of husband and wife, and service towards their children, who are children of the Father in heaven.

We need also a renewed understanding of the role of the priest in manifesting the presence of Christ, the head of each Church community, to make it fully re-creative by word and sacrament; and of the corporate responsibility of all members of the community to grow in the Spirit and to serve in nurturing those who are born anew in baptism. Any expression of disorder, deformity or division in the natural family or the church community will inevitably obscure our receptivity to this revelation and hinder our growth, for God wills that every aspect of our daily life, should be the ground on which he reveals himself to his people, so as to transform it into a new creation.

The life of the Christian's family - its work, its meals, its nurturing of children - is therefore to be seen and experienced as the on-going life of the church community and the extension of its liturgy, into which the life of the families should be gathered as a united offering in Christ to the glory of God the Father.

Fr. Gregory, CSWG.

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