Sebastiano del Piombo, Posthumous Portrait of Columbus, 1519
This Monday celebrates Columbus Day, the anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the New World on October 12, 1492. Although many today ignore the providential aspects of this momentous event, American Christians can celebrate and remember the heroic actions of Christopher Columbus and his crew.
Columbus is often portrayed as an opportunist and a villain in today's secular culture, but the "Christ-bearer" (as the explorer's name, Christopher, means) saw his primary mission to be the spreading of the Gospel. He believed his name was given him, not by accident, but by the will of God. As he wrote in his journal, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, “determined to send me, Christopher Columbus, to...India, to see the...people, and territories, and to learn their disposition and the proper method of converting them to our holy faith....”
Columbus’ journey changed forever the concept which people had of the Earth and opened a new stage of God’s plan for the redemption of the world. Columbus's zeal planted the Gospel on the shores of the Americas and along with it, the seeds of liberty.
Columbus said of his venture, “No one should be afraid to take on any enterprise in the name of our Savior, if it is right and if the purpose is purely for this holy service…”
This year, as we commemorate Columbus’s voyage to the New World, let us remember that God sees history not as a haphazard series of accidental and unrelated events, but rather as the working out of His plan for His creation.
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