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His Name Will Be Emmanuel: God With Us

His name will be Emmanuel: God with us( cf. Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:23 ).

If we understand the significance of this figure Emmanuel, we will find it includes the notion of Savior. For what is a Savior unless one who takes away sin, just as the angel said? Yet with sins having been taken away and there no longer being any separation between God and us, what remains other than our excellent uniting with God?

We are, then, perfectly and eternally saved, and we recognize in Jesus, the person who is saves us, a true-blue Emmanuel. He is the Savior because in him God is with us. He is God united to our quality. Having been reconciled with God, we are lifted up by prayer to be one in atmosphere with him.

This is the work done by the one who is both what God is and what we are: God and lover together. “In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself , not counting their trespasses against them”( 2 Cor. 5:19 ). Thus God is with them because they no longer have their sins.

This would be nothing, however, were God not also, at the same time, to prevent them from committing new guilts. In the mode of Scripture, to say that God is with you means that God protects you. God helps you, and with so potent an relief that your antagonists will not prevail against you. “They will fight against you, ” says the oracle, “but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you”( Jer. 1:19 ). Be with us, O Emmanuel, so that, after the excuse of our guilts, when their noxious attractiveness and temptations return, we will remain victorious.

Is this the extent of the grace of our Emmanuel? No. Here is a higher one, the final one of all: he will be with us in infinity, when God will be “everything to every one”( 1 Cor. 15:28 ). He will be with us, to purify us from our guilts; with us, to lead us to the life entirely free from sin.

Here, says Saint Augustine, are three units through which we pass in order to gain the redemption we are promised in the name of Jesus and the perfect forgivenes of divine solidarity through our Emmanuel: fortunate , not only when we will no longer falter under the yoke of our guilts, but when we will be free of the desires that menace our deliverance!

This article is from Meditations for Advent.

O Jesus! O Emmanuel! O Savior! O God with us! O winner over sin! O peacemaker of divine confederation! With faith I await this blessed daytime on which you will receive the appoint of Jesus, the working day on which “youre going to be” my Emmanuel, ever with me, who lives amid so many temptations and perils. Protect me with your kindnes, unite me to yourself, and may all that is in me be subordinated to your will.

Editor’s note: This article is an excerpt from Bishop. Jacques-Benigne Bossuet’s Meditations for Advent, which is available from Sophia Institute Press.

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