Our Hidden Treasure: The Catholic Vision of History

Principles | 10/16/1979 | Staff
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Ask a typical university student what he considers to be the most important event in all of history. He might offer responses such as “the invention of the printing press,” or “the Industrial Revolution,” or “the civil rights movement.”

These are certainly important events, but none compares with the one event that redirected the course of human history more than any other: the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. No other event in history was so anticipated and no event has so irrevocably changed the path of the human story. In the Incarnation of the Word, God became a man in Jesus Christ. The world could never be the same again.

History - Lens - Incarnation - God - Providence

History viewed through the lens of the Incarnation reveals God’s Providence at work in the world. The Incarnation offers a vision of history in tune with reality and through which different civilizations, cultures, and all human actions down through the centuries can best be understood. Furthermore, Christ’s advent in history provides the key to understanding our present age. Catholics and all Christians must regain the authentic vision of history with Christ at its center and embrace our role as active participants in that story.

Christ is, of course, the only religious founder who enjoyed a prehistory, as both Jew and Gentile longingly awaited some type of divine intervention.1 In order to begin to grasp the awe-inspiring preparations for His coming and to catch a glimpse of God’s Providence at work in history, we need to consider how the ancient world providentially prepared for the coming of the Messiah.

Cultures - Tributaries - River - Civilization - Hebrew

We can see three ancient cultures forming the tributaries of a great river that was to become our Judeo-Christian civilization: the Hebrew, Roman, and Greek civilizations. These three civilizations are central to understanding the highly significant passage of St. Paul to the Galatians in which...
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