Thursday, November 30, 2006

Yearnings of the Pre-Christian World Part II

Preparing for the Season of Advent we look into the past to see signs of the coming of our Lord and Savior. "The Yearnings of the Pre-Christian World" Greek literature was not alone in picturing man craving for another wisdom than that of earth, and another relief from inner misery than that given by man alone. The Eastern people had it, too. The ancient Hindus sacrificed a lamb to Ekiam as they prayed, "When will the Saviour come? When will the Redeemer appear?" …Confucius in his Morals continued this universal craving for a Saviour when he wrote, "The Holy One must come from heaven who will know all things and have power over heaven and earth." One may ask if Buddha pointed to Christ? Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, lived from 563-483 B.C. On dying he said, "I am not the first Buddha who came upon earth, nor shall I be the last. I will die, but Buddha will live, for Buddha is Truth. The kingdom of truth will increase for about 500 years…In due time another Buddha will arise and he will reveal to you the self-same eternal truth which I have taught." His disciple asked, "How shall we know him?" Buddha answered, "The Buddha who will come after me will be known as Maitreya, which means, "He whose name is love." Roman civilization struck the same chord, for all humanity is one…Cicero, the great orator, quotes a sibyl as saying, "A King will come who must be recognized to be saved." Suetonius, in his life of Augustus, continued the traditional aspiration: "Nature has been in labor to bring forth a personage who would be King of the Romans." The Senate was disturbed by this general expectation and passed a law forbidding anyone to let live a male child that year. The order was not executed because many of the senators' wives were with child. But it did show how much the ancient air was filled with a hushed expectancy that some great King was coming to the world. Tacitus confirmed this in his History: "Mankind is generally persuaded that the ancient prophecies of the East will prevail, and it will not be long until Judea would bring forth one who would rule the universe." (Life is Worth Living, Bishop Fulton Sheen, pg. 31-33) For Part I click here.


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