A new book on the fundamental Judeo-Christian belief that God is One and that He searches for us long before we search for Him, is on bookshelves near you.
It was written by Father Jeffrey Kirby, the Pastor of Our Lady of Grace Parish in Indian Land, South Carolina, who studied in Rome and received his doctorate from the Pontifical Holy Cross University.
This Advent, Zenit spoke with him about his latest work, which emphasizes as well, the Christmas message and how we can prepare for the Lord’s Nativity. Here is our conversation:
Zenit: Father Kirby, tell us about your new book, God’s Search for Us.
Father Kirby: Thank you for this opportunity. My new book came from different parts of the research I did for my doctoral thesis a few years ago. The work was on conscience formation and, in order to argue for a moral teacher, I returned to some basic biblical beliefs. In particular, I returned to the core belief: God is One and He searches for us long before we search for Him.
This was an accepted perspective throughout salvation history. It was the view that helped us to understand the Incarnation, the Lord’s coming to us at Christmas. It was the context within which we understood the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
This view, however, has been a neglected one in more contemporary times. Modern philosophy and contemporary thought accentuates our search for God or for meaning in this life. The emphasis has become solely our own journey or on our own effort to build a world for ourselves as we seek to create meaning and value for ourselves. While we certainly have a part to play in knowing God and seeking Him, the task can be a lonely one when God is removed or when He becomes a mere actor in our play. In such a scenario, our journey only leads to ourselves. It leads to emptiness and misery. In contrast, by putting first things first, we realize that God is the source of the meaning, value, and purpose of life. In accepting this reality, our search for Him builds on and complements his search for us.
Zenit: So there’s a lot in this little book…
Father Kirby: Yes, you could say that. But with that said, I want to stress that there’s nothing in the book that anyone would find overwhelming or confusing. In the end, the book is about God’s love for us. It is a love that is active and that pursues us. It is a love that searches for us and offers us fellowship.
Zenit: What about the subtitle: Five Truths from a Missing Coin. Could you explain how that fits into the book.
Father Kirby: In writing the different parts of the book, I realized that there was an inner harmony among them. I wanted to stress this unity and so I looked through the Sacred Scriptures. In its pages, I came across the parable of the Lord Jesus about the woman who lost a coin. It’s in Luke’s Gospel, Chapter 15, and was given as an encapsulated story of salvation history by the Lord. It emphasizes God’s search for us. It was the perfect context for the book and so I borrowed it as the unifying story of the book’s themes.
Zenit: You mentioned the Christmas message earlier. Is this a good book for our Christmas preparation?
Father Kirby: Definitely. If anyone wants to really dive into the depths of the Christmas mystery, then God’s Search for Us can certainly help. It’s basic message – God is looking for us – is the story of Emmanuel, God-with-us. Hence, it could certainly help anyone prepare well for the Lord’s Nativity.