The Only Person Ever Pre-Announced
I was browsing in my library yesterday, and spent some time in the company of that excellent book, Fulton Sheen’s “Life of Christ”.
The first chapter is titled, apparently predictably but actually not so, “the only person ever pre-announced”. It has a long list of testimonies not only from the Judaic, but from the non-Jewish world (from the Romans to the Greek, to the Chinese and the Japanese; and we can add the Druids), of the Saviour that was to come.
I think we tend to lose sight of some aspects of Christianity at times. To us, Christ’s divinity is a given. We were (most of the readers of this blog, very probably) given it almost together with the maternal milk. It was, and is, part of the landscape like the sun and the moon. Also, some of us grew up in an environment in which Christianity was the omnipresent norm, only interrupted by the strange presence of the occasional Jew here and there, and with even atheists fully embedded in – and many times, fully approving of – the moral system of Christianity.
Still, as adults, and in a changed landscape, we need to recover, or to nurture, a more logical approach to Christianity; one that will help us, when the occasion arises, to actually explain Christianity in a logical way to the staggering number of non-Christians around us.
Christ is, in fact, the only person ever pre-announced. No one, ever, predicted the advent of a paedophile, blood-thirsty bedouin who would suddenly create a religion that is, in fact, nothing more than a monstrous deformation of the true one. And these announcements are the more impressive, because they were spread outside of the Jewish world eagerly awaiting for the Messiah. Among others, think of Cicero, who dies 43 years before Our Lord’s earthly birth, and knew about him already.
The argument for Christianity – a superfluous one in my youth, but an urgent one in these disgraceful times – should rest on a robust logical basis instead of relying on the “Jesus loves you” and “share the joy” platitudes one hears all the time in church and outside.
I suggest to all those who have not done it already to read this book. Fulton Sheen’s writing style is extremely easy to digest and at the same time exact and compelling. This is not your typical theology book. This is Christianity for the masses.
God knows we need something like this in these disgraceful times.