An Unhoped for salvation

“From the beginning, God did bear human being to be swallowed up by the great whale, who was the author of transgression, not that they should perish altogether when so engulfed, but arranging in advance the finding of salvation, which was accomplished by the Word, through the ‘Sign of Jonah’ [Matthew 12:39-40], for those who held the same opinion as Jonah regarding the Lord, and who confessed and said, ‘I am a servant of the Lord, and I worship the Lord God of Heaven, who made the sea and the dry land’ [Jonah 1:9], that human beings, receiving an unhoped-for salvation from God, might rise from the dead, and glorify God, and repeat, ‘I cried to the Lord my God in my affliction, and he heard me from the belly of hades’ [Jonah 2:2], and that they might always continue glorifying God, and giving thanks without ceasing for that salvation which they obtained from Him, ‘that no flesh should glory in the Lord’s presence’ [1 Cor 1:29], and that human beings should never adopt an opposite opinion with regard to God, supposing that the incorruptibility which surrounds them is their own by nature, nor, by not holding the truth, should boast with empty vanity, as if they were by nature like to God.”

St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies, 3, 20, 1.

Having once seen or felt the hand of God in our lives, let us turn to Him. Let us not become like Jonah who sails to Tarshish ‘from the presence of the Lord’ (Jonah 1.4). Or having once done so, let us return to Him Who calls us.

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