The Guéranger Blog

Welcome to the Gueranger Blog! You have stumbled across the notebook I use to record my thoughts as I read through Dom Prosper Gueranger's 15-volume set, The Liturgical Year. I do not have any special expertise in liturgy, but I have some general knowledge of Catholic theology and an enthusiasm for Gueranger's magnum opus. Think of it as the Liturgical Year fan site!

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God's ways and our ways

Canisius | 08 March, 2006 02:28

The Old Testament reading for today (V,149-150) from Isaiah answers an important question. How is it that I sin so badly, and do it again and again in the face of all that God has done for me and despite all the times he has forgiven me, and yet God does not blow up in anger and condemn me forever? Any normal person would have given up on me.

Most Catholics unconsciously answer the problem by thinking of God as a rather simple fellow. God is a one-trick pony; he just loves, and that's all he does. Of course God is willing to forgive me yet again, because that's what God does. In other words, God is not as complicated as a normal person, who might have several different reactions or who might have a different reaction the next time. He is a mono-person, to the point that he is almost not a person but a machine. It's the average Catholic's version of "the simplicity of God."

Isaiah's answer is the opposite. God is willing to forgive yet again because he is much more difficult to understand than a normal person. It's not that his ways are lower than ours, not that he is less of a person, but because he is much, much more of a person. His ways are higher than ours, and more difficult to understand. It's not at all that GOd does not deal out justice or avenge his honor: he does those things, and yet he is willing to forgive again.

To understand Isaiah's statement, we have to have a vivid image of God as a real person rather than a mono-person. Once we think of God as a real person, like our neighbor, then we'll see why it's mysterious that he is willing to forgive. And only then will we be ready to hear that his ways are higher than our ways, and his thoughts higher than our thoughts.


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