I’m rereading a book by one of the leading theologians at Vatican II, Yves Congar, OP called “The Mystery of the Temple, Newman Press, Westminster, Maryland 1962.” As I noted in a previous blog, Congar wrote out of his experience of increasing secularization in France in the 1950s. People were abandoning God and the church.
I’m only realizing it now (I’m a slow learner) that his treatment in this book of the Presence of God in sacred history, beginning with the patriarchs and extending to the time of David and the prophets, was a way he was figuring out the Presence of God in this period of time. Where is God now?
These sentences struck me: “We are always tempted to confine ourselves to what we see and touch, to be satisfied with this and to think that a preliminary achievement fulfills God’s promise.”
Abraham thought God’s promise was fulfilled in Ismael, Joshua thought it was the conquest of Canaan. Solomon thought it was in his immediate descendants…”but these promises were capable of more complete fulfillment which would only materialize after long periods of waiting and urgently needed purification. Only the prophets–and this, in fact, is their task–draw attention to the process of development from seminal promises and to the progress of the latter towards their accomplishment through successive stages of fulfillment continuously transcending one another.” (p 31-32)
We may look at the church or our world at this time and think it’s the end, but it isn’t. It’s only a “preliminary achievement” in God’s plan. We need prophets to “draw attention to the process of development from seminal promises” by successive stages of fulfillment.
God is the Pillar of Cloud leading us on, Emmanuel, God with us. “It ain’t over till its over.”