Tuesday, February 2, 2016

He Who Condescended for our Salvation

Most of us think of this word in the negative. “I would NEVER condescend to....” or “He was so condescending....” that when we hear the word used in reference to Jesus Christ our ears sort of perk up?....or at least they should.

Today is the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, which commemorates Christ’s 40-day blessing according to the Law. You can read the entire story in the Gospel of Luke 2.22-40. It was a big day for humanity as the righteous Symeon was blessed to hold the infant Christ in his arms. He had received a vision from God that he would not die before setting his eyes on the Christ. When he held Christ in the Temple, he prayed...
Lord, now let your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.
There are so many great things about today, but I wanted to touch on the word condescension with my post for today. As part of the dismissal prayer, the Priest begins, “May He Who condescended to be held in the arms of the Righteous Symeon for our salvation, Christ our God....” This formula is used for more Feasts of Christ. For Epiphany it read, “May He Who condescended to be baptized in the Jordan by John...” etc. You get the point. But when we hear the word condescended we must not think negatively toward what God is accomplishing, but with thanks.

You see, for the Creator of the world to dare to allow the world to see Him, let alone hold Him in their arms as with today’s Feast, this is a moment of God’s great mercy as He condescends (literally comes down to our level) to save us. But it doesn’t end there.....we are only saved when He returns to the Father bringing us with Him, restored to our true humanity in communion with God. God doesn’t merely come down to our level, but LIFTS US UP to His level in heaven. That is what makes it a great mystery.

Many people today talk about the need for the Church to come down the level of the people, but unfortunately I fear most believe the Church should stay down at our level. If Christ had come down, and then stayed, we would never have been saved. Remember we can only be saved when we are LIFTED up with Christ. If the Church does not work to lift us up, we will remain fallen. So, be thankful when the Church struggles to lift you up. Don’t fight against the Church, because she is only trying to save you.

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