Posted by: fvbcdm | July 23, 2014

Feast of Saint Bridget of Sweden (23 July 2014)

In the passage of the Old Testament about the burning bush, when God sends Moses to demand that pharoah let his people go, Moses asked God, “Who shall I say is sending me to you? What is your name?” And God gave the immortal reply, “I AM WHO AM.” What does that mean? It doesn’t sound like much of a name to us of this time and culture. However, to those accustomed to think philosophically and theologically, it is full of meaning and very profound.  “I am” is the first person singular of the verb “to be.” Now, being is the first of all realities. Before you or I can be a human being, a man or a woman, an American or a Chinese, a Catholic or a Buddhist, or any other quality we might think about, first of all we have, simply TO BE. And there was a time when we WERE NOT. Just think of your present age, add one year to that for the time that you spent in the womb, and that figure will tell you when you began to be. Before that, you simply were not. And God the Creator, called you out of that nothingness into being. And if he did not keep you in being at every moment, you would fall back into that nothingness.

But God did not have a beginning. He was not given being by someone else, as we are given being by him. He simply IS. He is being itself, or as we sometimes say, the Supreme Being, the Ground of Being.  Being is his very nature.  He cannot NOT BE. So when Moses asks his name, God says “I AM WHO AM.”  I am he whose essence, whose nature, is to be. You might find this a hard concept to grasp since it is so abstract, but it is true. In all of reality there is only one Cause which has no cause, and that is God. Everything else has a cause, a force that brought it into being. The Hebrew word for I AM is “Yahweh.” That is God’s name in the Jewish language. It was considered so sacred that it was never pronounced or written; they would use a synonym for it, like “the Lord” or “the Holy One.” One time, Jesus was having a discussion with the religious leaders of the time. He said that Abraham had rejoiced to see his day. They were astonished, and said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and you have seen Abraham?” Abraham had lived 1800 years previously. And Our Lord’s words echoed those coming from the burning bush to Moses: before Abraham came to be, I AM. Jesus was asserting that he is God. And today we adore him as the God who is eternal, the God who simply IS. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  This Message was composed some years ago.

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