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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Glory of God

A very good explanation of the quoted verses from the preceding blog post:

  "All lack the glory of God. God is not satisfied with the actual state of humankind, even if the latter feel quite satisfied with their mediocre condition. He calls us to share his Glory, that is, everything in God that makes him great, happy and everlasting. God has created us to bring us into communion with him, and as he is out of reach, he reaches out his hand to us and makes us just (v.21). ... when Paul speaks of the justice of God, he means God's way of making us upright [in] his eyes. God makes us just and holy.

One of the things I've noticed lacking in some Protestant thought is a bit more hope, an appreciation of the totality of God's love for us. As I've heard Dr. Scott Hahn say in one of his talks, God not only declare us to be righteous: he makes us righteous. Why stop at covering our dunghill with snow when he can change our dunghill into purest snow inside and out? A new heart and a new spirit -- that's how far he goes when he makes us righteous, so that he can truly say to the righteous at the end of time, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you.." because not only are the blessed declared to be just, they truly have become just -- even in action: "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.'" (Matthew 25:34-36)

God's targets are beyond us, but he can afford to raise them so high because he knows exactly what his Holy Spirit is capable of in his children whom he raises up in holiness. As St. Josemaria Escriva quotes in The Way, our souls were bought at a great price, and that redemption in the blood of the Lamb is more potent than our weakness.

The commentary goes on about faith:
  "Now confronting all those who think they are worthy before God because of their own efforts, because they fulfill all the commandments, Paul says: true holiness must be given to us. For there is no other righteousness or holiness than sharing the perfection and love that are in God himself."
I am glad that we repeat certain crucial short prayers or verses during certain crucial moments of the Mass. For example, anticipating the partaking of holy communion, the faithful repeat the centurion's sentiment of humility and trust: "Lord, I am not worthy to receive thee, but only say the word and I shall be healed." This is a holy gift, the body and blood of our Lord in the Eucharist, and this is a holiness that is given graciously to sinners who are not worthy, and will never be worthy in and of themselves. But there is total trust, and so we open ourselves to receiving this gift of holiness -- by faith.
[Commentary comes from the Christian Community Bible, Catholic Pastoral Edition, Claretian Publications, Philippines, 1997.]

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