Tag Archives: glory of God

The Glory of God

You are my servant, Israel,
through whom I show my glory.
Isaiah 49: 3

How do I manifest the glory of God?

How do I, in my daily life, show God’s glory?

There is a temptation to think that one can best show the glory of God by grand spectacles, by spectacular deeds, by lives that make people look on in admiration.

But, Jesus is manifested not as a Lion, but as the Lamb of God. As Jean Vanier notes, “We are called to be gentle followers of the Lamb, not people of power.”

But what is the glory of God?

St. Irenaeus put it succinctly:

The glory of God is the human person fully alive, and to be alive consists in beholding God.

Martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero added:

 Gloria Dei, vivens pauper.
The glory of God is the poor person fully alive.

When a person is fully alive God shines through. The person lives as a child of God – a person who is be loved as we love God. The human person fully alive lives with dignity.

That means that we must love and respect that person – and, better, accompany that person in the path of life and love.

In my ministry that means letting my presence, my accompaniment, be a means by which the people can see their dignity, their capabilities, their relationship with a loving God.

In speaking of catechists in Evangelii Gaudium, ¶164, Pope Francis put it well:

the first proclamation must ring out over and over: “Jesus Christ loves you; he gave his life to save you; and now he is living at your side every day to enlighten, strengthen and free you.”

We are called to manifest that love of God, especially for the poor, in our lives.

Recently I finished Eloi Leclerc’s The Wisdom of the Poor One of Assisi. At the end of this fictional account, he has St. Francis say these words to Brother Tancred:

“Can’t you see, Brother, that to evangelize a person is to say to that one: ‘You─yes, you too are loved by God in the Lord Jesus.’
“And you must not only tell that person so, but you must really believe it, and not only believe it, but conduct yourself with this person in such a way that this person can feel and discover there is something within that is being redeemed, something more majestic and noble than had ever been dreamed.”

How can I show the glory of God in my life so that the poor discover that power of God, that grace of God – in their personal lives and in their lives as community – that shows forth redemption, life, and love?


The glory of God

Today is the feast of St. Irenaeus, bishop of Lyon, who was both a peacemaker and a defender of the faith.

One of the major challenges of his time was Gnosticism, a belief in the absolute separation of matter, which is bad, and spirit, which is good. Thus, with a secret knowledge (gnosis) one should struggle to free oneself from the body. Thus Gnosticism had little use for the Incarnation, God becoming flesh.

In his treatise Against Heresies, he wrote:

For the glory of God is a living human being; and the life of a human consists in beholding God. For if the manifestation of God which is made by means of the creation, affords life to all living in the earth, much more does that revelation of the Father which comes through the Word, give life to those who see God.

The Incarnation thus is the revelation of God’s life and God’s desire for us to behold Him and live.

In his address at the University of Louvain in 1980, weeks before his martyrdom, Archbishop Oscar Romero closed his address on The Political Dimension of Faith with a rephrasing of the words of St. Irenaeus.

The Christians of old used to say: “Gloria Dei, vivens homo.” (The Glory of God is the human person who is alive.) We could make this concrete saying: “Gloria Dei, vivens pauper.” (The Glory of God is the poor person who is alive.) We believe that from the transcended of the Gospel we can judge in what consists in truth the life of the poor; and we also believe that by putting ourselves on the side of the poor and trying to give them life we will in what consists the eternal truth of the Gospel.

The incarnation of Christ as a poor man in a poor and oppressed land is what gives us the inspiration and the challenge to be with the poor, to be on their side, so that the glory of God may be revealed in us. It is what will give life, in a world torn apart by poverty and radical inequity.