Thursday, February 26, 2009

Divine Adoption

Two couples we are friends with have completed adoptions in the past few months. At the Baptism of the first child on Holy Family Sunday, the priest emphasized that we are all adopted. We are all divinely adopted sons and daughters of the Father. And of course, there is nothing lesser about being adopted, in fact, this Divine Adoption creates a deeper and more unending bond than parenting of the "natural" order. Our parenting on earth is really a sharing in this Divine Parenting.

On Sunday we went to a Mass to welcome the other couples' new son and daughter, twins from an orphanage in Uganda. As we spoke to D and J afterwards, they related the rather incredible conditions the twins lived in, and the long, physically and emotionally arduous 7 week journey to meet them and finally bring them home.

I've been thinking of the lengths they went to to unite with their children, and of the long, trying road that brought B and R their beautiful son. Given all this, my prayer over the past few months has been peppered with this concept of Divine Adoption. What does it mean for my marriage, for my fatherhood, for my life as a Christian? One thing is for sure, since getting married, and especially since becoming a dad, Theology is a whole heck of a lot more personal. If that makes any sense.

I'm still pondering this and can't quite articulate all the insights, but I was thrilled to come across this profile of Blessed Columba Marmion on Ignatius Insight. Here's the tidbit that knocked me over:

Though Marmion was not opposed to the more abstract theological mode of St. Thomas Aquinas and the scholastics, he had a different point of departure, said Fr. Groeschel. "Abbot Marmion in some ways was the beginning of a movement that became known, under Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, as the 'New Evangelization.' That movement begins theological and religious investigation with the self," an approach that "comes directly from the great statement of St. Augustine: 'You have made us for yourself, O God, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.' It relates to how a person experiences their need for God.""One of the things about Abbot Marmion," Fr. Groeschel added, "is that he ain't fooling. He's a deadly serious spiritual writer."

This seriousness is reflected in the theme of Divine adoption that forms the great motif of Marmion's works: because God became man, men can become adopted sons of God. The doctrine of Divine adoption is, of course, found in the New Testament, and has always been taught by the Church, but Marmion brought a special depth of insight to its expression. Indeed, some of Marmion's admirers believe he will one day be declared a Doctor of the Church -- the Doctor of Divine Adoption.

According to Fr. Tierney, "A lot of the Eastern fathers wrote about the idea of Divine adoption, but they put it into technical language. Marmion brought it down to the level of the ordinary man. Marmion's definition of grace is that it is nothing more than the life of Christ in the soul. That is why he chose the title, Christ, the Life of the Soul. Grace is the life of Christ in the soul, which we get at baptism and which we build on right on up to the day we die."


Blessed Columba Marmion, Pray for all of us, the Adopted Children of God.

1 comment:

Bill Donaghy said...

beautiful.... AMEN!