Close encounters of the most divine kind
In UFO-logy, you need at least three paranormal scale metrics that can perhaps make you a credible source in this area of study. Capture an observation of an object of unknown origin, provide further evidence of its existence, then the ultimate – make a personal encounter with it.
For many, Steven Spielberg’s 1977 science fiction Oscar-winning “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” broadened the paranormal vernacular. As curious and bizarre as close encounters with the unknown may seem, they can, hopefully, make us reflect and draw us to the divine and supernatural encounters that matter most in our life of faith.
Here in the present moment we pray in the midst of the festive activities of the Catholic Vigil’s monthly intention for December, focusing on close and deep encounters with our Lord: “For the blessings of this holy Christmas season, may all families, and in particular those of our archdiocese, deeply meet the child Jesus as he is given by the example of the first holy and domestic church.
The book of Genesis gives us an idea of the divine closeness that God allowed Adam and Eve to have with him. This closeness, however, our first parents eventually lost due to the encounter with the serpent and its temptations – causing the Fall. Even today, there are temptations similar to disobedience in our fallen nature. But Advent and Christmas are coming back to give us time to prepare and celebrate the joy of the coming of the baby Jesus. He is the baby that our Blessed Mother and Saint Joseph brought up with wisdom and strength in the first and holy domestic church.
Restoring such a divine opportunity to experience closeness to God – through the birth of Jesus – is the real gift of Christmas. The closest encounter with the divine is unmatched in terms of wonder, grandeur and glory. “Rejoice in the Lord always, I repeat, rejoice! … Then the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts in Christ Jesus ”(Phil 4: 4, 7). Nestled between these verses, the apostle Paul told his fellow Christians to give thanks to God in their requests and requests. It is reassuring to know from Holy Scripture that he has experienced encounters of the most divine kind.
The first apostles and witnesses of Jesus may have passed away, but they have left us the sacraments, the Holy Scriptures, the divine traditions and the writings of the fathers, teachers and preachers of the Church. Now there are even a few good multimedia Christmas varieties to help meet our Lord at the start of this new liturgical year. All of this helps us remember as a family that God, fully human in nature and fully divine like Jesus, came to see us. He came as one of us – as a child. Mass, holy communion and adoration with the Blessed Sacrament in particular help to manifest the sanctifying grace which opens our hearts to recognize and encounter the real presence of Jesus.
It’s the most divine kind of encounter between the natural and the supernatural – yes, even beyond the paranormal – in which we could have faith and hope. It is time well spent, all year round, to help us better engage, understand and learn the love that God has for us. Our path – pressed by the grace of God – to heaven is to embrace the ultimate closeness to Him who created us and to all things.
Deacon Bird is ministering to St. Joseph in Rosemount and All Saints in Lakeville, and assists the Catholic Watchmen movement in the Archdiocese. Learn more about Catholic Watchmen at archspm.org/faith-communities/men.
Category: Catholic watchmen