THE FULLNESS OF TIME
“ When the fullness of the time was come, God sent His Son, made of a woman, made under the law: That He might redeem them who were under the law; that we might receive the adoption of sons.” Galatians 4:4-5
“ That He might make known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Him, in the dispensation of the fullness of times, to re-establish all things in Christ, that are in Heaven and on earth, in Him.” Ephesians 1:9-10
1. GOD had permitted the world to teach itself its lesson. Man had learnt what of himself he is, or rather what he is not; what of himself he can do, or rather what he cannot do. Till the “Fullness of Time,” till the coming of our Lord, the history of mankind had been the history of blighted hopes, of successive disappointments, of civilizations growing up and ending in collapse. It is true there had been some progress in spite of these collapses. From the ruins of each succeeding stage man had picked out a few relics to be treasured for the future and these, gradually accumulated, had formed the material side of the “Fullness of Time.”
There was also the spiritual side. Out of all these experiences man had learnt himself his own limitations, his own humiliation, his utter dependence on some higher power for any hope of safety. He had learnt to aspire to other things than this life of ruins and disappointments could give him. Jews and Gentiles alike had come to yearn for something nobler than had as yet been laid before them; this time of longing was the ”Fullness of Time.”
2. During all these ages God had been watching; watching and waiting. He knew what was happening in the world; not a sparrow fell to the ground without His knowledge. He had given man free will, to do good or to do evil; He permitted him to shape his life in the world as he would.
Some of the consequences of his evil deeds He permitted man to suffer, in himself or in his posterity; and this made the misery of the world. But not all did He permit; had He done so, man would have destroyed himself, corrupted himself off the face of the earth. Instead, the hand of God was ever held out to save him from utter ruin; preventing him here, guiding him there, in another place enlightening him, strengthening him, beyond all desert or expectation.
3. Man needed to learn the lesson; and even today, like a thoughtless child, man needs to be constantly reminded of it. Like a thoughtless child, with the least success he becomes elated, he forgets his littleness and dependence, he assumes airs, he demands all kinds of rights and privileges, he is impertinent to his master, he will brook no interference. And as with the spoilt child, so with man, the only cure is to let him fall. That teaches him, as nothing else, how very weak he is, how very dependent; it teaches him, too, how dear is the heart of the Master who has permitted it. But with us it is not as with the men of the olden times. They yearned for their Lord through the ages; we have Him in our midst, at hand to help when we plead.
Summary Meditation Points:
1. The training of mankind during the ages before the Incarnation, from knowledge of himself to yearning after the Redeemer.
2. The guardianship of God during all these evil times, drawing man to Himself.
3. The need that man has of having the lesson renewed in our own times; and the help that is ever at hand.
Editor’s Note: It is with great joy that we are pleased to provide you with a series of meditations this Advent/Christmas season from “The Prince of Peace” by Archbishop Alban Goodier, S.J., published in 1913, and difficult to find. There are 30 meditations for Advent. That means that some days more than one will be published in order to keep with the author’s thought and the flow of the meditations. Be sure to check our daily notifications email by scrolling down the page to see if there is more than one that day. If you are an occasional reader, look on our home page in the section titled “Recent Posts” and you will also find them there. Better yet, treat yourself this season and subscribe to our site for free (on the home page, click under the crucifix where it says “Sign Up for Our Newsletter” and follow the instructions). It is our hope that these meditations will help you enter more deeply into the spirit of this holy season. God bless you! Please pray for us as we pray for you!
Art: Adventkranz (liturgisch), Andrea Schaufler, own work, 2 Dez 2006, CC, Wikimedia Commons.