By: Fr. Roy Cimagala
WE need to realize that the entire span of time we have on earth as in the whole material universe is part of the eternity of God. Time is a property of material beings, including ourselves, that God created in his eternity. That is why in the second letter of St. Peter, it is said that:
“With the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” (3,8) That is a rough description of the relation between our time and God’s eternity. Our time is like a blink of the eye in the eternity of God. I doubt if we can make a better description of this mysterious reality.
And he continued by saying that “the Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (3,9)
These words simply show that our time here on earth is the time in God’s eternity for our creation and redemption by him. In other words, our creation includes our redemption, and our creation and redemption are still a work in progress. The completion of God’s creation and redemption of us is when we truly become what he wants us to be: image and likeness of his, children of his.
We need to understand that our creation and redemption by God needs our correspondence or cooperation, because being designed by God to be his image and likeness, we are supposed to be at least aware of this truth about ourselves and try our best to conform ourselves to such divine design for us. God does not impose his will and design for us. We are expected to knowingly and willingly correspond to his will and design.
That is why we are endowed with intelligence and will, and are freely given his grace, so that we can identify ourselves with him, until we can really say that we are “another Christ,” echoing those words of St. Paul, “it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Gal 2,20)
That God became man to save us is not an afterthought in the divine mind. That truth of our faith is part of the eternal plan God has for us. God knew from the start how we would fare with the tremendous gifts he has given us—that we would be spoiled by them. And he readied the plan of redemption from all eternity.
This God-man, Jesus Christ, is the pattern of our humanity and the redeemer of our damaged humanity. That is why he declared himself to be “the way, the truth and the life” for us. We can only be image and likeness of God through him.
Here we can readily see why Christ should be the constant focus of our attention, and why we need to know him and love him, by following his commandments. “If you love me,” he said, “you will keep my commandments.” (Jn 14,15)
Thus, we need to study his life, his words, his example. We need to learn how to talk to him and to see him everywhere. We need to know how to deal with him as he continues to deal with us. For this, God has sent the Holy Spirit so that the living God can continue to be with us, guiding us and sanctifying us.
We really have to develop a life of filial piety with God to correspond well to his continuing creative and redemptive work on us in this life. This is something that we have to realize more deeply. It is the most important truth we have to know and live. Everything else in our life is secondary to it and serves only as material, means, occasion to achieve that goal.