Hobbits, Small and Big


Lord, increase our faith! (Luke 17:5) [Spanish]

The Christian faith defies definition. Our faith is something mysterious, since it involves: our finite minds somehow touching, somehow knowing the infinite God. Holding the Christian faith means receiving a gift from heaven. And co-operating with it, mentally.

We express our faith in the… Creed. We believe in God Almighty, Creator of all, Lord and Giver of life. We believe that He made everything out of nothing.

Why does earth orbit the sun–the third planet out, in this particular little solar system–with Venus our neighbor inward, and Mars one planet out? Because of physics and gravity? Well, yes…except then you have to ask: Why then is there a sun and an earth and a Venus and a Mars, and physics and gravity? Because of the Big Bang? Maybe. But if there was a Big Bang, then you have to ask: Why then was there a Big Bang? Our faith gives us a certain answer: Because God wills.

The infinite Power has an infinite Will, which wills that the universe exist, and that we exist, exactly as things stand, right now. If He willed otherwise, things would be otherwise.

Let’s ask ourselves this: Is our faith in this infinite, omnipotent God a comfort to us? Or is it terrifying?

Maybe it’s a comfort?  God governs everything with His inexorable power. So we can let go of our delusions of grandeur. We can accept that, in the great sway of the divine government, we are very small. Like little hobbits occupying an obscure corner of the cosmos, living on earth for a brief moment in the grand scheme of years. Our little pilgrim lives will pass away as swiftly as they came.

God is big. We are small. God can move mulberry trees at will; we are small enough to fit under a mulberry tree. So we can shed our Messiah complexes and enjoy our dinners in peace. May God’s will be done. Knowing the future is above my pay-grade.

But wait: This is a little terrifying, too—the greatness of God, and the littleness of us carbon life forms on the third rock from the sun. I mean: Do we matter? We believe in the awesome infinite God, Who has laid out the heavens and the stars. We ourselves huddle here like so many little specks of life on a little planet. Do we matter?  Our smallness can just about overwhelm us.

Let’s go back to our original question. What is the faith that we pray the Lord will increase in us? The holy Catholic faith. Which believes in God Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, of all things, the visible and the invisible. And our faith also believes in–part two of the Creed–Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.

Do we matter? Well, the infinite God, Who cracks mulberry trees in half at will, by thunderbolts and hurricane winds—He made Himself one of us. He became incarnate and walked the earth.

And we have to seek precision here. God did not ‘incarnate’ Himself in the form of some fleeting vision. He didn’t even just send an angel. The holy Incarnation has no ephemeral aspects. He took our human nature to Himself in such a way that He Personally became one of these little semi-hairy creatures, who take up a tiny patch of territory on this little, remote planet, for a fleeting period of time, punctuated by daily dinners.

elanorgamgeeGod is a man. From the first Annunciation Day forward, He always will be a man. And that is His most awesomely powerful act of all. He saves us sinners and gives us eternal life. He makes us His intimate friends, His kith and kin: the eternal Son’s brothers and sisters, the eternal Father’s beloved children. For God to become man, while remaining pure God—that involves the kind of omnipotence that makes thunderstorms and hurricanes look like so many little splashings in a bird bath, by comparison.

After all, the universe really only appears to dwarf us human beings with its vastness. Yes: we get tired just walking from one end of a Walmart to another. But, in fact, every single individual human soul extends to a greater space than the entire universe of stars and planets, supernovas and galaxies. We can conceive and envision and number all the elements of the universe. The very huge cosmos, in which we find ourselves so small—this universe is, in fact, something of which we can conceive, something about which we can have a clear idea, as we gaze at the night sky. Which means that our minds are bigger than it is. Not in feet and inches. But in total spiritual comprehension. Each of our minds is bigger than the entire universe.

God did not unite Himself Personally with a supernova, or even with the Milky Way galaxy. He united Himself with us little goofballs right here. To give us His eternal friendship. That He did that is more awesome than anything.

We pray that our faith in that unfathomable mystery, the mystery of the eternal Son of the eternal Father becoming man–we pray that our faith in that awesome mystery will always increase.

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