Catholics who are alive in Christ know that “in hope we are saved.” We know and trust that God is working, even in what appears to be chaos, to bring salvation to the world.
The beginning of Lumen Gentium contains this beautiful passage:
When the work which the Father gave the Son to do on earth was accomplished, the Holy Spirit was sent on the day of Pentecost in order that He might continually sanctify the Church, and thus, all those who believe would have access through Christ in one Spirit to the Father. He is the Spirit of Life, a fountain of water springing up to life eternal. To men, dead in sin, the Father gives life through Him, until, in Christ, He brings to life their mortal bodies. The Spirit dwells in the Church and in the hearts of the faithful, as in a temple. In them He prays on their behalf and bears witness to the fact that they are adopted sons. The Church, which the Spirit guides in way of all truth and which He unified in communion and in works of ministry, He both equips and directs with hierarchical and charismatic gifts and adorns with His fruits. By the power of the Gospel He makes the Church keep the freshness of youth. Uninterruptedly He renews it and leads it to perfect union with its Spouse. The Spirit and the Bride both say to Jesus, the Lord, “Come!”
Between these truths, there is a lot of room for human beings to screw things up and to sin. But even worse are those who reject the Spirit’s work, who only see chaos and sin, and as a result, despair.
Chaos in the Beginning
The ancient understanding of “chaos” referred to a lifeless void, a primordial unity of nothingness. From this “chaos” came life. Strands of the Jewish faith, in fact, describe creation not as an act of sheer “something out of nothing” but rather a separating of this original chaos: light/dark, day/night, sun/moon, waters above/waters below, oceans/land. God then filled the world with life.
One way to describe this initial phase of human existence is that it was dynamic or energetic. Day and night cycled in and out. A variety of trees and plants grew and produced fruit. Adam named the multitude of animals previously unnamed. God put the world into motion.
But here, in the Garden, there is no chaos, by the modern understanding of the word. Chaos implies a world that is out of sorts, spiraling out of control, entropic. Chaos was only introduced when the order of this dynamism was upended, when a created being chose himself over God. Only then did chaos enter into the world.
Yet from that first sin, through the cross, and to today, the Spirit has been working in the world to restore that order, by calling humanity to love God above all things and to live in accordance with his holy will.
Daniel Amiri is a Catholic layman, finance professional, and armchair theologian. A graduate of theology and classics from the University of Notre Dame, his studies coincided with the papacy of Benedict XVI whose vision, particularly the framework of “encounter” with Christ Jesus, has heavily influenced his thoughts. He is a husband and a father to three beautiful children. He serves on parish council and also enjoys playing soccer and coaching his daughter’s soccer team.