St. John of the Cross, Priest and Doctor of the Church
Isaiah 41:13-20 + Matthew 11:11-15
December 14, 2017
…the Holy One of Israel has created it.
The prophecies of Isaiah contain many images of “natural conversion”: that is, where the earth, vegetation and animals demonstrate a radical, unexpected transformation. In today’s First Reading, for example, Isaiah prophecies in the name of the Lord: “I will turn the desert into a marshland, and the dry ground into springs of water. I will plant in the desert the cedar, acacia, myrtle, and olive”.
Such “natural conversions” might seem hard to believe, but such changes wrought by the Lord pale in comparison to His original works of creation. Recall the first chapter of Genesis. God creates out of nothing. He creates through His Word, but from nothing. From nothing, something came to be. Creation is a miracle. The “natural conversions” prophesied by Isaiah are also miraculous, but less so than creation itself.
During Advent, the Church calls us to repentance and penance, so as to be ready for the Lord’s coming. When we heed the cry of St. John the Baptist, the prophecies of Isaiah are fulfilled in a way that surpasses his images of “natural conversion”. Through the Sacrament of Confession, all sins are washed away, and many graces enter your soul. The conversion is akin to God’s original work of creation. In the place of the nothingness of sin, God’s grace comes to dwell. The new creation of sacramental grace is God’s gift to us, through His Son Christ Jesus.