The inscrutable ways of God

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

THE gospel story of the circumcision of St. John the Baptist, eight days after his birth, again tells us about the inscrutable ways of God. (cfr. Lk 1,57-66) We have to learn to go along with this reality of our life, just following what our God-given faith tells us rather than be guided mainly by our human estimation of things.

As the story goes, the neighbors and relatives of Elizabeth, the mother of John, were surprised why the baby would be named John. “There is no one among your relatives who has this name,” they said.

But the father, Zechariah, who till then was made dumb because of his initial unbelief to what the Archangel Gabriel told him about the conception of his son, clarified that John be the name of the boy. With that clarification, Zechariah regained his speech which left the neighbors and relatives amazed and led to believe that God is behind the name of John.

As it turns out, John actually means “graced by God.” Being chosen as the precursor of Christ, he was given that appropriate name and status. In fact, at one time Christ described John the Baptist in this way: “Among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist.” Though he also clarified that “the least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” (Mt 11,11)

We should just be humble enough to realize that our certainties can never cope with all the mysteries of life. No matter how objective and scientific these certainties are derived, no matter how deep and exhaustive our philosophies, theologies and ideologies are made, our certainties just cannot take all the mysteries in our life.

Even in the world of nature where in theory we have the capacity to know things conclusively, we often find ourselves in situations of tentativeness and even of outright error. That is why we are always in the process of discoveries and we would not know when we can end it, that is to say, when we can say that we have known everything to be known in the world of nature.

This does not mean that our certainties can never know the truth, even the absolute, and not just relative, truths. Yes, we can, but the best that we can do is to project ourselves to infinite possibilities, because even the absolute truths are not things that are frozen. They are always dynamic.

Our certainties can only tackle some aspects and levels of the reality that is proper to us. We need to realize more deeply that we have to contend not only with natural and even spiritual realities but also with supernatural realities that simply are above our nature to know, unless some revelation is made which should be corresponded to with our act of belief.

We just have to learn to abandon ourselves to the mysterious ways of God who in his wise providence takes care of everything. We are not expected to know and understand everything. What is expected of us is to have faith in God so we can always be with him no matter how things turn.

With all the things that we have to contend with in this life, we certainly need to have a healthy sense of trust in God’s loving and wise providence, abandoning ourselves in his will and ways that often are mysterious to us and can appear to be contrary to what we would like to have.