O Happy Fault!

Haggai 2:9
“The latter splendor of this house shall be greater than the former, says the LORD of hosts; and in this place I will give prosperity,” says the LORD of hosts.

Some people imagine the Faith is one gigantic affirmation of conservative ideology.  Conservative ideology always tends to say, “It was better in the old days.”  But God, who embodies all that is best and not merely the fragments which are our human ideologies, doesn’t fit that mold well, especially in today’s verse.  God is too full of life to pine for the good old days.  When He redeems, it’s better than it would have been had there never been a fall.  And so, when the old temple of Solomon was destroyed (as God knew from the beginning it would be), God sends Haggai to remind Israel that the new temple to rise in its place is “greater than the former.”  Even the sins of Israel lead to greater glory.  Likewise, when Adam fell, it led, in God’s mysterious providence, to the incarnation of God as man in Jesus Christ and to the glorious redemption of man to a heavenly destiny greater than Adam’s original lot.  “Oh, happy fault!  Oh, necessary sin of Adam!  That won for us so great a salvation!”

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

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