In the past months, we have seen an escalation of Covid-19 cases in the Philippines. This situation is far from comprehensible and fathomable by normal people like me. Even more, as Luzon, our region, was placed in a community quarantine. The looming threat of Covid-19 put a halt to schools, businesses, and offices. Places of entertainment such as theaters, malls, and restaurants had to close their doors to all their guests. For us Catholics, even our public celebrations of the Holy Mass were prohibited for a time.
Living in a time of pandemic is frightening especially in a developing country such as ours, but this time of quarantine forced me and many to pause and reflect on our limitations as humans in contrast to the greatness and omnipotence of God. In the free time that was given to us during this quarantine, I found it very apt and timely that I finished reading the book The Inscrutable Wisdom of God written by our Servant General, Tito Frank Padilla. This time of crisis gives further emphasis on the paradoxes presented in the book. Many of us would resort to fear and anxiety because we are faced with an uncharted issue. But as disciples of God, we are called to have strong faith in God. We must see the spiritual aspect of this crisis more than its economic and social effects. We must believe that God is more powerful than every virus and infectious disease present in the world. He must allow this pandemic to take place in order to speak to us powerfully and for us to return to Him wholeheartedly. Such is the paradox of the Christian life, we continue to proclaim and believe in God’s love and goodness even if it seems foolish to the world.
Various paradoxes in the Christian life similar to the above were cited in the book. From the beginning chapters until the conclusion, Tito Frank expounded on the knowledge and wisdom of God. It should be understood though that no one can really fathom the whole depth and intensity of God’s mind and ways. Tito Frank pointed out many verses to affirm this such as Isaiah 55:89 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways—oracle of the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” As I delved into each page, the more I got to embrace the fact that our God is indeed great and mighty. His way of thinking is a great contradiction to the world where we live. But no matter how His ways are beyond our comprehension, we are called to take on His mind and heart.
The book Inscrutable Wisdom of God provides an enlightening perspective to those who choose to serve and love God. It is segmented into seven parts with various principles mentioned for each. The first part tells us to take on Divine Wisdom. Divine wisdom is mysterious and hidden but is revealed to God’s humble children. It is opposite to the human wisdom that thinks we know it all. As for us, if we desire Divine Wisdom, we must be fools to the world, “for the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God.” (1 Cor 3:19a)
When we begin to take on God’s wisdom in our life, we start to secure the lowest place. We practice the virtue of humility by practicing greatness in servanthood, being exalted by God when humbled and His power being manifested to us through our weaknesses. By securing the lowest place, it becomes possible for us to be His disciples. As disciples, we must deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow our Master. The book also explains the paradoxes in the work of the Kingdom. Our work of evangelization and mission will always be made bearable in the light of the inscrutable wisdom of God. We continue to believe that God is doing the main work and even though we are unworthy, we are privileged to be commissioned to take part in this salvific work.
The last three parts of the book are entitled Onward to Battle, Looking to the Cross and Filled with Good things. These parts state important reminders and strategies for God’s holy warriors as we continue the mission. We may experience defeat, dishonor, woundedness and many unpleasant things that one is expected to experience in a battle but God’s assurance is present in the victory of His resurrection. He also gives us comfort by reassuring us that He knows what we need in this battle. He will always provide. He is and will always be enough.
As a missionary, I believe all the paradoxes and principles stated in the book are essential in life. We must learn them so we may be truly transformed and attain salvation for our souls. It is imperative that we desire them especially in extraordinary times such as this pandemic. We may not understand why we need to undergo all these things. We may be confused, angry, anxious or scared but God knows and so let us turn to His inscrutable wisdom. The fact that our good Father knows beyond what we can see and grasp should teach us to trust Him more. Because when we trust in His inscrutable wisdom, we obtain the kind of peace that this world cannot offer.
Karen Penetrante is a FTW of MFC Youth serving in the Area of NCR Central and serving as the coordinator of MFC Youth LIT.