Christ is the faithful witness. (Revelation 1:5)
Jesus said, “For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.” (John 18:37)
We need to grasp the truth of God, if we are to make any sense out of our lives. To obey God, to walk with Him, to hope in Him, to enjoy His friendship as His beloved children—that path alone offers true peace and the prospect of real happiness. This path lay hidden to the world. But then Jesus came and bore faithful witness to it, testifying to it Himself.
How? Christ has “testified” by obeying the Father in everything. The eternal Son submitted to being born of an obscure Jewish virgin. He submitted to growing up in a poor family and working hard, with His hands. He submitted to every jot and tittle of the Old Covenant, in order to fulfill it.
He undertook a hardscrabble, vagabond ministry of long wanderings and cold nights sleeping on the desert ground. He taught and worked miracles precisely as His Father would have Him do, not for His own personal adulation, but to glorify the One Who sent Him.
Christ chose Apostles and disciples, trained and instructed them, precisely as the Father willed. He instituted the Holy Sacrifice of His Church, and He gave Himself over as the innocent Lamb to reconcile mankind with God. He rose from the dead, walked the earth for forty more days, ascended to heaven, and poured out the Holy Spirit—all in perfect accord with the Father’s plan.
In other words, Jesus Christ is the king of harmony with God. The world has no royalty as royal as Christ, and His royalty consists in this: Perfect obedience to the heavenly Father. Christ bore faithful witness and testified to the truth by His perfect harmony with the Father’s will.
Now, what, exactly, is the will of the Father? Christ has “harmonized” with an original melody, so to speak. The original melody is the plan, the truth, the love which directed Christ through His entire pilgrim life. This plan, this truth—the love with which the Father acts: that is the pre-eminent mystery of life, the secret of Divine Providence. We are like surfers. The Providence of God is the ocean.
Hopefully we memorized the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit when we prepared to receive Confirmation…wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, piety, fortitude, and holy fear. We may have memorized these words, but maybe we didn’t understand what these Gifts actually are.
All of them involve direct interior contact with the transcendent, invisible, unknowable God. The operation of these Gifts directed Christ through His entire “testimony” to the Father—His pilgrim life as a man. So, by the Gifts of the Holy Spirit we can harmonize, too–just as Christ has perfectly harmonized with the plan of Providence.
They are gifts because we ourselves, by our own devices, can neither see, nor know, nor grasp, nor domesticate, nor reduce to our level the Great Father of our existence. The clay cannot say to the Potter who molds us, “We’ve got you! We have your number! We know your game!” No. The ocean moves, and not at our direction. We surf on, by co-operating with the waves.
The “kingship” of Christ: Only He and His saints in heaven see the Almighty Potter of all this clay. The King of Harmony with the Creator has reached the final goal; He sees the very mind of God. He pours forth His seven-fold spiritual gifts upon us, so that, despite our human weakness and ignorance, we can have interior harmony with the unseen God:
We can understand and know God’s plan. We can hear His commands and deport ourselves as His children. We can have His strength to endure difficulties. We can truly fear the prospect of grieving Him. And we can grow wise with heavenly wisdom.
In other words, through faith and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, we can stand firmly on the Truth that nothing can rattle or shake, just like Christ always stood firm, even in the face of a cruel and unjust death.
Our spiritual houses can be built on that solid footing. We can make God our true “home.” –To the outside eye, a surfboard seems like a very small home. But the one on the surfboard of co-operation with God knows that his or her true home is not just the board, but the whole big wave, the whole big ocean.
Indeed, by faith and the gifts, we reign right alongside the eternal King. We can share the kingship of Christ. We just need to stay in the state of grace. Which means going to Confession on some kind of regular basis.
What is the pomp and circumstance of the true King? Spreading out His arms on the cross, out of love. We celebrate this very sacrifice, our King’s eucharist, at the holy altar—and all the spiritual gifts He gives us work their way to fruition in us by our constant celebration of the Holy Sacrifice.
We begin with the Mass. We bring it to fulfillment with the Mass.
All praise, glory, laud, and honor to the King, Jesus Christ, the perfectly obedient Son of the eternal Father!
One thought on “Surfing the Gifts with the King”
Amen, Father Mark!