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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Divine Orchestra

There is a giftedness in Fulton Sheen in his ability to synthesize and distill elaborate concepts into metaphors that are easy to understand. When I read his work or listen to his brilliant oratories, I shrink but my heart seems to enlarge. Does that make sense? I thought this brief essay of might be fitting for the beginning of advent; maybe you'll see what I mean...

Music offers some explanation of what might have happened at the beginning of the human race. An orchestra director has before him his score. It was written by a great composer, and all the adequate directions have been scored for a perfect rendition. The musicians are all free; they can follow the ditrections of the conductor, or they can ignore them. They can be either reactionary and never turn a page, or they can be liberal and play, instead of the symphony, "I Got Plenty of Nothin'".

Now suppose that one of the musicians decides deliberately to hit a sour note. The conductor hears it. He may either wave his baton and order the orchestra to play it over, or hea can ignore it. It makes no difference which he does, because at a certain temperature, that note is flying out into space at the rate of 1,200 feet per second. As long as time endures, there is discord and disharmony somewhere in God's universe.

Regardless of how much one wanted to make the universe universally harmonious again, it could not be done by anyone within time because time is irreversible.

The only way that discord could be stopped would be by someone reaching out from eternity, laying hold of that wild note, and stopping it in its mad flight. But would it still be a sour note? Not necessarily. On one condition it could become a sweet note, namely, if the one who stopped it wrote a new symphony and made that one note the first note in the new melody. Then it would be a sweet note.

Something like that must have happened at the beginning of the human race. God wrote a perfect symphony. It was well scored, but mankind was free to play a discord. Discords in the symphony of life did not mean our freedom was destroyed.

At the beginning, man being free, hit a discordant note, a disobedient note. That discord went through human nature, and it infected everyone. That original discord could not be stopped by man himself, because he could not repair an offense against the infinite with his finite self. He had contracted a bigger debt than he could pay. The debt could be paid only by the Divine Master Musician coming out of His Eternity into time. But there is a world of difference between stopping a discordant note and a rebellious man. One has no freedom, the other has; and God refuses to be a totalitarian dictator in order to abolish evil by destroying human freedom. God could seize a note, but He would not seize a man. Instead of conscripting man, God willed to consult humanity again as to whether or not it wanted to be made a member of the Divine Orchestra once more. Almighty God, having given freedom to man, will not take it away again.

There was a Divine consultation with humanity, in which a Woman was asked by God if she would give Him human nature - "Will you freely give Me a new note out of humanity with which I can compose a new symphony?" In the name of all humanity, she consented: "Be it done unto me." This new man must be a man; otherwise God would not be acting in the name of humanity. But He must also be outside the current of infection to which all men are subject. Being born of a Woman, He will be a man; being born of a Virgin, He will be a sinless man.

When God took upon Himself the human nature and became Christ throught he Virgin Mother, He was the first note in the new melody. It is up to our personal will freely to incorporate ourselves into Him by faith thus adding another note and creating a new humanity. We appropriate this saving grace by a free act, repeating the words of the Woman..."Be it done unto me."

Humanity is thus divided into two groups, namely, the old humanity, which is still goverened by the flesh, and the new, regenerated humanity, which is governed by the Spirit: the humanity of goodness, love of God, love of neighbor.

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