The Desired of All Nations
“Thus saith the Lord of hosts : Yet one little while, and I will move the Heaven, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land. And I will move all nations, and the desired of all nations shall come, and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts. Great shall be the glory of this last house more than of the first, saith the Lord of hosts; and in this place I will give peace, saith the Lord of hosts.” Haggai 2:6-9.
1. It is no mere fancy of historians which sees in the history of almost, if not quite all ancient peoples, a certain looking into the future, a certain consciousness of undevelopment among themselves, a certain craving for something which they had not yet got, but which was yet to come to them–a light and more perfect understanding, a power for good, a completion and satisfaction in their own being which would bring them peace and contentment. It is specially marked among the Greeks, that hungry, restless, inquiring, half-despairing people, in spite of their natural gifts and perfections; a restless looking beyond which expresses itself with almost tragic force in their philosophers, and in the terrible agnosticism in which at last St. Paul found them. It is marked no less in the less-romantic Romans, whose very triumphs ring with a sense of dissatisfaction, almost with a determination to make themselves believe they had found what they had sought. But the later writers betray the hunger, and Virgil portrays the ideal that ate at their hearts.
2. But if this is true of all the nations, how much more true is it of the Jews. Of all [peoples] the Jews are the most hungry-hearted. They were built up upon it in the past; in the pursuit of the ideal they were drawn apart from the rest of the world: and even to this day it may be safely said that this hungry searching…characterizes them wherever they go. They look for the Messiah still; this is the first article of their belief. Now, as in early times, many grow weary of waiting, and seek their satisfaction in other things; but their very weariness does but confirm the truth of that hunger that has been, and that lingers on…. “Your fathers did eat manna in the desert and are dead; this is the bread which cometh down from Heaven, that if any man eat of it he may not die.”
3. The satisfaction of this hungering, expressed in many ways, is not the least of the beauties of the Old Testament, and finds its echo in the New. There are many parallels to the following, but we must be content with one: “ I, wisdom, have poured out rivers. I like a brook out of a river of a mighty water, I like a channel of a river, and like an aqueduct, came out of paradise. I said : I will water my garden of plants, and I will water abundantly the fruits of my meadow. And behold my brook became a great river, and my river came near to a sea: for I make doctrine shine forth to all as the morning light, and I will declare it afar off. I will penetrate to all the lower parts of the earth, and will behold all that sleep, and will enlighten all that hope in the Lord. I will yet pour out doctrine as prophecy, and will leave it to them that seek wisdom, and will not cease to instruct their offspring even to the holy age” (Ecclesiasticus 24:40-46 [Douay-Rheims]).
SUMMARY MEDITATION POINTS:
1. The hungering for something discoverable in the ancient civilizations.
2. This specially seen among the Jews.
3. The fulfillment in the coming of Our Lord.
Editor’s Note: This is the second in our series of meditations this Advent/Christmas season from “The Prince of Peace” by Alban Goodier, S.J., published in 1913 and difficult to find. It is our hope these meditations will help you enter more deeply into the spirit of this holy season. God bless you!
Art for this post on the desired of all nations: The Gathering of the Manna, James Tissot, ca 1896-1902, PD-US author’s life plus 100 years or less, Wikimedia Commons.