Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

5/8/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

God works his salvation within creation, not outside of it

One cannot understand the Church's social doctrine and social thought on international relations without appreciating the Church's understanding of the universal nature of Jesus and the universal mandate given to her by Christ.  Indeed, the term "Catholic" comes to us from Greek katholikos, which means "universal."  The Church is not limited to a particular nation, but is intended to embrace all peoples.  She lives with the Kingdom of God in her breast.

Highlights

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/8/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Old Testament, Noah, Covenant, Creation, Nations, International, political order, community of Nations, communion, international relations, Andrew Greenwell, Esq.


CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) "God reigns over the nations," regnavit Deus super gentes. (Ps. 47:8 [46:9])  It is with this understanding of God's universal reign over man and his political communities that the Church assesses the relationship between nations and its inherently global perspective.

One cannot understand the Church's social doctrine and social thought on international relations without appreciating the Church's understanding of the universal nature of Jesus and the universal mandate given to her by Christ.  Indeed, the term "Catholic" comes to us from Greek katholikos, which means "universal."  The Church is not limited to a particular nation, but is intended to embrace all peoples.  She lives with the Kingdom of God in her breast.

As Francis Cardinal George recently put it: "Living in the kingdom of God means thinking beyond and outside the boxes created by citizenship in a nation, by cultural or racial exclusivity, and by individual choice. In the kingdom of God, divisive markers are not needed to establish identity." 

That is not to say that nation, culture, or race is unimportant or cannot be a source of identity or pride, but these "markers" are decidedly demoted when placed with the universality of the Gospel and the universality of the Church.  There is no Jew or Gentile in Christ.  (Gal. 3:28)  Salus populi lex suprema est.  The salvation of souls is the supreme law and transcends all borders.

Beginning with creation, it is apparent that God's creative action "embraces the whole world and the entire human family." (Compendium, No. 428)  The end or purpose of creation is the glory of God himself.  Creation without God is "subject to futility," but creation redeemed in God "awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God," is "subjected in hope," will be "set free from slavery to corruption," and will "share in the glorious freedom of the children of God," though it presently is "groaning in labor pains even until now."  (Rom. 8:19-22) 

God works his salvation within creation, not outside of it.  "Creation is the foundation of 'all God's saving plans,' the 'beginning of the history of salvation' that culminates in Christ." CCC § 279

In particular, God's "decision to make man in his image and likeness gives the human being a unique dignity that extends to all generations and throughout the entire earth." Man is the only creature, the Second Vatican Council reminds us in beautiful language, "that God has willed for its own sake." (Gaudium et spes, § 3).

There is no human being in any time and at any place that bears not God's image and likeness, however he has marred it, and who does not share the common calling of all men into a communion with God.

Even when God seeks man and reveals himself to particular men in particular places in particular nations--in Noah, in Abraham, in Moses, in the Hebrew prophets--his message was not particular to Israel, but was already universal in semine, in germ. 

The covenant with Noah, betokened by the rainbow, is not for Noah alone, but for every living creature and every generation.  (See Gen. 9:1-7)  Indeed, as if to highlight the universality of the Noahide covenant, we find immediately after the Noahide covenant the so-called Völkertafel or "Table of Nations," where the Scripture "presents with admiration the diversity of peoples, the result of God's creative activity." (Gen. 10:1-32)

In this "Table of Nations," the Scripture relates the generations of the sons of Japheth, Ham, and Shem.  In the view of the Scriptures, these three were the postdiluvian progenitors of all humankind.  All humans come from Adam through Japheth, Ham, and Shem, and all are heirs to the Noahide covenant.  At this time this unity was reflected by the fact that peoples had "one language and the same words," Gen. 11:1, and indeed the same fundamental law.

Humanity, however, became divided and lost its original unity.  This truth is told us in a particularly vivid way in the story of the Tower of Babel, the "tower of unbelief," as Thomas Merton called it in one of his poems.

Where unbelief reigned, faith had to be renewed.  So it was renewed in the covenant that God established with Abraham, "the father of all those who believe," both those circumcised and uncircumcised, which is to say, the whole world. (Rom. 4:9-12)  Faith cuts through the babel of languages, race, and nation state.

Along with being a "father of faith," Abraham was the "father of a multitude of nations." (Gen. 17:4).  The unbelief that led to the division in men was to be repaired by faith in God which would open "the way for the human family to make a return to its Creator." (Compendium, No. 430)  All nations are to find unity not through unbelief, not through their own efforts, but though faith in God who is the Father of all humankind.

God's revelation to man continued: in the patriarchs, in Moses, and the Prophets. The message was particular, but universal in its particularity.  "Little by little . . . the conviction grows that God is at work also among other nations." (Compendium, No. 430)  "Blessed be my people Egypt, and the works of my hands Assyria, and my inheritance, Israel." (Isaiah 19:25) 

Israel is not the only nation in God's mind.  While historically Israel has a unique place, it is not the only nation which is the subject of God's merciful love.

Israel's prophets intimate that the particularity of Israel's election will spill over to become universal in scope:  "In days to come, the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills," prophesied Isaiah. 

"All nations shall stream toward the Lord's house," God's temple, Isaiah continues.  One might believe that Isaiah, like Jesus, spoke not of a physical building, but the temple of which he spoke was the temple of his body.  (John 2:21) 

And "many peoples shall come and say: 'Come, let us climb the LORD'S mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths.'  For from Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.  He shall judge between the nations, and impose terms on many peoples.  They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again." (Isaiah 2:2-3)

Elsewhere, Isaiah speaks of God's universal plans: "I come to gather nations of every language; they shall come and see my glory.  I will set a sign among them; from them I will send fugitives to the nations: to Tarshish, Put and Lud, Mosoch, Tubal and Javan, to the distant coastlands that have never heard of my fame, or seen my glory; and they shall proclaim my glory among the nations.  They shall bring all your brethren from all the nations as an offering to the LORD, on horses and in chariots, in carts, upon mules and dromedaries, to Jerusalem, my holy mountain, says the LORD, just as the Israelites bring their offering to the house of the LORD in clean vessels.  Some of these I will take as priests and Levites, says the LORD.  As the new heavens and the new earth which I will make shall endure before me, says the LORD, so shall your race and your name endure.  From one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, All mankind shall come to worship before me, says the LORD."  (Isaiah 66:18-23)

It is this particularity of the election of Israel which intimates a universal message which become even more particularized--in one God-man Jesus--and yet so universal as to extend to the ends of the earth, even beyond history. 

Indeed, one might even say that Jesus is become Israel.  Hosea says, "when Israel was a youth I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son."  (Hosea 11:1)  Jesus whom the Father loved fled to Egypt and remained there until Herod's death, so that "what was spoke by the Lord the prophet [Hosea] might be fulfilled, saying 'Out of Egypt did I call my son.'"  (Matt. 2:14-15)  Jesus is Israel.  The Church, which is Christ's body, is the New Israel.

It is this universality, this Catholicism, which is central to the Church's understanding of sacred history, of man's history, and of her duties to all mankind and mankind's nations and political communities.  It is a deep stream in her social teaching, and it is one that requires us to demote those particularities which might otherwise divide us if we placed too much importance on them: our nation, our culture, and our race.  These particularities are ordered under the universality of the Church's message.

-----

Andrew M. Greenwell is an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas, practicing in Corpus Christi, Texas.  He is married with three children.  He maintains a blog entirely devoted to the natural law called Lex Christianorum.  You can contact Andrew at agreenwell@harris-greenwell.com.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Living Faith

Saint Theresa of The Child Jesus: Love to The End Watch

Image of Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus: The Little Flower

By F. K. Bartels

Then, nearly ecstatic with supreme joy in my soul, I proclaimed: O Jesus, my love, at last I have found my calling: my call is love. Certainly I have found my proper place in the Church, and you gave me that very place, my God. In the heart of the Church, my mother, I ... continue reading


Tough Lessons for Real Life from the Book of Job Watch

Image of Job was right. He was living in the heart of God's will. When Job was stripped of what his fair-weather friends believed were the -proofs- of Gods favor, he found the greatest treasure of all, the beautiful poverty of purified Love. He found the richness reserved for those who love God for God's sake. Jobs fair-weather friends told him that his loss and difficulties were his fault, but Job knew better. In his unwavering hope in God's love and mercy we find the example of purified, living faith.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

When Job was stripped of what his fair-weather friends believed were the -proofs- of Gods favor, he found the greatest treasure of all, the beautiful poverty of purified Love. He found the richness reserved for those who love God for God's sake, for Love's ... continue reading


Interesting facts about the 400 years old Bom Jesus Church in India, the final resting place of St. Francis Xavier Watch

Image of The Basilica of Bom Jesus Church is more than 400 years old.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Located in Old Goa, India, the Basilica of Bom Jesus is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The foundation stone was laid on 24th November 1594, and completed on 15th May 1605. It was raised to the status of a minor Basilica in 1946 and is considered to be one of the ... continue reading


Bombing Islamic State is fueling the violence

Image of Civilians inspect the rubble of a building destroyed by Allied airstrikes in Syria. We cannot bomb our way into the hearts of people.

By Tony Magliano

We need to do something! With the barbaric Islamic State now controlling large portions of Iraq and Syria, and inflicting rape, torture and even beheading on those who do not conform to their fundamentalist interpretation of Islam, it is imperative that they must be ... continue reading


Pope Francis to try case of pedophile archbishop in Vatican court Watch

Image of Former archbishop and ambassador Josef Wesolowski is under  arrest at the Vatican.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Vatican will try one of its own for child abuse. After decades, possibly centuries of abuse and cover up, the use of the Church has a cover for pedophiles has finally ended. Former ambassador, Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski will now face trial for abusing boys he met ... continue reading


Pope Francis says to listen to God's word and put it into practice Watch

Image of During his homily at daily, the Pope urged Christians to read God's word faithfully and to truly listen with our hearts to what He has to say.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to Pope Francis, living the Christian life is simple: listen to God's word and put it into practice. "These are the two conditions in order to follow Jesus, hear the word of God and put it into practice. This is the Christian life, nothing more," the ... continue reading


Pope Francis appoints five women to major theological council Watch

Image of Pope Francis, who has been critical on the Catholic Church's failures to adequately include women in theological discourse, has appointed five to a major theological council that is charged with aiding the pope and others with theological policy.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The International Theological Commission, established in 1969 to study doctrinal issues faced by the Catholic Church and to help the pope and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has just received five new female members, raising the number of female ... continue reading


Pope Francis asks new bishops to avoid self-promotion, to love their congregations instead Watch

Image of Pope Francis meets with bishops for an audience. The Holy Father had important advice for a group of new bishops yesterday.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has admonished a new generation of bishops against seeking promotion and instead asked them to look after and love their congregations. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - During an address at the Vatican yesterday, Pope Francis spoke to 138 ... continue reading


POPE IN ALBANIA: Pope Francis denounces religious militants during one-day trip Watch

Image of On his first trip as pope to a European country outside of Italy, Pope Francis made no direct reference to Islamic State militants who have seized territory in Syria and Iraq.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In his one-day trip to the chiefly Muslim nation of Albania, Pope Francis soundly denounced religious militants, declaring that no one act as the "armor of God." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Let no one consider themselves the 'armor' of God while planning ... continue reading


If Christ Has Not Been Raised Our Preaching and Our Faith is Empty Watch

Image of We too,you and me, will be raised from the dead. Only then will our redemption be complete. We are works in progress. However, that new life can begin even now for those with eyes of living faith, hearts filled with His presence, and minds renewed by the Light of the Truth which Jesus has fully revealed and imparts to those who love and follow Him.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

When we learn to embrace the implications of that empty tomb, and allow grace to work within us, we are made ready for eternity - by living differently every day. The Resurrection provides a framework, a hermeneutic, a lens of meaning, for everything that happens ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Job 9:1-12, 14-16
1 Job spoke next. He said:2 Indeed, I know ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 88:10-11, 12-13, 14-15
10 Do you work wonders for the dead, can shadows rise ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 9:57-62
57 As they travelled along they met a man on the road ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 1st, 2014 Image

St. Therese of Lisieux
October 1: Generations of Catholics have admired this young saint, called ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter