In our second On the Square essay today, Patricia Snow reflects on the story of the thirty-three miners rescued from the San José copper mine in Chile this past October and sees a parable of Christian life:

But for Christians, and especially for Catholic Christians, who share the faith of the miners themselves, this was a profoundly Christian event, understandable both in its details and its overall scope only in Christian terms. It was a teaching moment, rich in theological references. It was a kind of parable, worth considering as an Advent reflection, with its strong movement from darkness to light.

. . .

In this postlapsarian state, man cannot save himself. He is alive, but only provisionally. He can stay busy; he can endure; at best he may manage to avoid evil and practice virtue. But lasting life, as well as the faith and hope that such a life is possible, can only come from above. The ladder from below, like the ladder the men found in a ventilation shaft or the Tower of Babel in Scripture, is too short. It doesn’t reach to heaven. The initiative has to come from above. Only God can cross the distance between Himself and fallen man. So the probes begin.

“Where are you?” God famously calls to Adam in the cool of the day in the garden. “Where are you?” the probes ask of the men cowering and famished in the dark.