Wednesday, December 23, 2009

O Our Lawgiver, Our Desire

O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster, expectratio gentium, et Salvator earum: veni ad salvandum nos, Domines, Deus noster.

O Emmanuel, king and lawgiver, desire of the nations, Savior of all people: Come and set us free, Lord our God.
This will be short, I hope.

I just liked that "lawgiver" associated with "desire of the nations" and it reminded me of Psalm 119:

10 I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.

11 I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
16 I delight in your decrees;
I will not neglect your word.

Mary's Magnificat seems to evoke these words and indeed, she had the unique privilege of literally "hiding His Word" within her.

As a mother of seven I can clearly remember those last "hidden" days of expecting a baby. One wants to tuck down into the cosiness of one's home and spend those days "nesting" and gathering strength for the coming days. In her case, those last days were spent homeless. But lacking a physical home for herself, she made one for Her Child, but before that, He had made one for her.

He had allowed Himself to be her Child and Ours, the Son of Man. As Chesterton said, the world turned inside out and the centrifuge, the God all around, had become the center, the heart of the universe in a hidden cave in a corner of the world.

This sort of reciprocity graciously allowed by God seems a great mystery to me. When David reflects on the Law being his delight, he seems to anticipate how the Word was made Flesh and dwelt among us, and how in this way the law became a relationship in a deeper sense than it had been before. Our Lord in some way that I can't fully understand became subject to the Law and showed the fullness of its delight by in some way being it and abiding by it at the same time.

"Lawgiver" sounds like imposing something, but in God's economy it wasn't so -- it was truly a "giving", a donation. In the book I am reading about the value of work, Cardinal Wyszynski talks about the parable of the laborers and the pain of standing around with nothing to do. It may be a bit of a stretch, but by analogy there seems to be a barrenness, a lack of fruitfulness, a sad desperation, in having no law at all, nothing to abide in, nothing to expect. It's a different kind of homelessness. The Prodigal Son said he would go home where even his father's slaves were treated better than he was in the world, but his Father welcomed him home as a son.

We are blessed to have through that new Life a Truth, a Way out of that nihilism of being stuck inside the natural wheel of things, where even prosperity and worldly virtue are just vanities in the end, a blowing of the wind.

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