SOUL FOOD Talk # 14 – A PLAN TO PRAISE HIS GLORY
1. I read recently in Under the Gaze of the Father [Conchita’s retreat in 1935] this paragraph which touched me deeply: “The love of Jesus is very pure. His Heart contains all of us, yet He loves but [only] His Father. He walked the earth doing good, pouring out graces, giving life with generous abundance, setting the earth on fire with fire from heaven, but in reality, He did not seek anything other than the glory of God, nor did He accomplish other work than of simplifying all things in the unity of His Heart in order to plunge the universe into the pure bosom of God.” [p. 83]
2. This phrase, “simplifying all things in the unity of His Heart” reminds me of similar phrases which come up in many places, especially in St. Paul. For ex. in Colossians 1:15-20 “…in Him all things hold together….For in Him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile all things for Him, making peace through the blood of His Cross….” Through the years I have spent many hours contemplating the meaning of these words. “In Him all things hold together” I took to be related to the earlier lines in Colossians 1:16: “For in Him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers [the angels]; all things were created through Him and for Him.” Thus those things created through and for Him also hold together in Him. God the Father created the universe of planets, stars, men, and angels for Christ. Was the Father’s purpose to gift this to his human born son, Jesus? That all these things be gathered in Him? I began to think that this was a part of the Divine design or plan from all eternity, not only that Jesus would redeem fallen mankind, but restore to its original unity and pristine condition all of creation in His beloved son.
3. I revisited my old Jerusalem Bible and read there from a footnote on Colossians 1:19 “’Because God wanted the pleroma to be found in Him.’ The exact meaning of the word pleroma (i.e. the thing that fills up a gap or hole, like a patch, cf Mt. 9:16) is not certain here. [My theology teacher, a priest, told us that pleroma meant fullness.] Some writers thought it must mean the same as in 2:9 (the fullness of divinity that filled Jesus), but since vv. 15-18 have already dealt with the divinity of Jesus, it seems likely that the reference here is to the biblical concept of the entire cosmos as filled with the creative presence of God….Paul teaches that the incarnation and resurrection make Christ head not only of the entire human race, but of the entire created cosmos, so that everything that was involved in the fall is equally involved in the salvation.”
4. I found especially meaningful Rom 8:19-22 – “For creation awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God; for creation was made subject to futility, not of its own accord but because of the one who subjected it in hope that creation itself would be set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.”
5. It seems to me that St. Paul is saying that all of creation is to be restored in Christ, not just man, but the whole physical creation as well. Since all were damaged, all will be brought to wholeness, fullness once again, in Christ.
6. Now read Ephesians 3:9-10 – “He has made known to us the mystery of His will in accord with His favor that He set forth in Him as a plan for the fullness of times to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth.” We have another reference to this “plan” which was set in place “before the foundations of the world”—perhaps even before the creation of the angels, a creation which preceded that of earth and man.
7. We know that Jesus was made flesh in the Incarnation in Mary, emptying Himself of His Glory in order to redeem us from sin, but this, our redemption, is set by St. Paul into a much grander frame, scale, or plan, summarized as we saw earlier: “ He did not seek anything other than the glory of God, nor did He accomplish other work than of simplifying all things in the unity of His Heart in order to plunge the universe into the pure bosom of God.”
8. In Under the Gaze of the Father, Bishop Luis Martinez explains to us: “The perfect glory of God will be accomplished when the Mystical Body of Jesus is brought to completion, all enemies defeated, even death itself, and everything subjected to Him; then according to St. Paul, ‘The Son Himself will also be subjected to the One who subjected everything to Him, so that God may be all in all. “[1 Cor 15:28]
9. “The final words are the supreme formula of the glory of God, because they express the full divinization of the entire universe in Jesus, to whom the Father handed over everything.”
10. Caught up in Christ, ALL inflamed with the Holy Spirit, ALL enthralled with the love of the Father, ALL will be plunged into the bosom of the Blessed Trinity. Bishop Luis Martinez repeated to Conchita, “God should be all in all. For the eyes of your soul, God has to be all in all.” Thus the Glory of God is All, the End-All, the Be-All of existence.
TENDERNESS & PASSION
11. We have seen that it is the passionate intensity of His love for the Father and His Father’s will that drive Jesus—it’s just that we happen to be caught up in that passion of love and fire. [Yet at the same time, just as Jesus told Phillip: “Phillip, whoever sees me, sees the Father”; the entire Holy Trinity plans, intends, and is involved in our salvation and in the redemption of creation.]
12. Bishop Martinez paints such a picture for us here of a Christ ecstatic with the fiery light of passion and love: “Let us approach the intimate sanctuary of Jesus. His profound gaze, filled with light, penetrates the abyss of God and He knows the Father as no one else has ever known Him. His [the Father’s] royal beauty enraptures Him [Jesus]. He walks in that divine heaven in which all perfections shine in marvelous harmony like splendid suns, in ineffable unity.
13. “His Father, who loves Him with infinite tenderness, who is infinitely pleased with Him, is this boundless treasure of beauty, goodness, and happiness beyond understanding. How would Jesus’ very noble, delicate, great Heart, made for Divine Love, cast itself into the bosom of the Father with uncontainable strength, with superhuman ardor? How would Jesus consecrate Himself to the Father with total, irrevocable, eternal consecration, from the first instant of His life?
14. “Neither the gigantic waterfalls which cascade thundering into the void, nor the great meteorite which rends space with vertiginous greed, leaving light in its wake, nor the worlds which roll in the firmament with fantastic speed, nor the most zealous souls that accomplish heroic deeds and run to martyrdom, driven by a strange passion, give a remote idea of divine love, of the incomprehensible force with which the soul of Jesus casts itself into the arms of the Father, with a love more powerful than death, overwhelmed by the splendid, ineffable vision of the infinite goodness.” [p.175]
15. It is into this awesome, powerful, unlimited exchange of passion and tenderness, into the inexpressible richness of Divine Love, that we are caught up if we are in Christ. As we learned earlier from Bishop Martinez: “If our souls become Jesus by sharing in His life, the Father looks on us with His gaze of light, love, and satisfaction, just as He gazes on His Son.” [p. 44] Not only that, but we gaze on the Father with the eyes of Jesus, inflamed by the Holy Spirit, with the same power and intensity, entering into the very life of the Trinity.
16. Bishop Martinez tells us: “When the Father gazes, He engenders the Word out of Love….There where the Father contemplates His Word in the soul, communicated by the Holy Spirit, there He rests His gaze, He empties Himself and rejoices in Himself, along with the Divine Persons who are joined to Him; that is to say, in His Divine Son and in the Holy Spirit. The Father sees only His Word, through the eyes of Love, and in His Word, He sees all things [us].”
THE GLORY OF GOD
17. Sitting in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, as I reflected more on the Glory of God, that the Glory of God is All, the End-All, the Be-All of existence, the Holy Spirit poured such grace into my intellect and imagination, so as to overwhelm them, even my senses. In a daze of joy, I felt drawn up as into a cloud as He taught me about the Glory of God, not only teaching me ideas, but giving me an experience of it. This mystical experience lasted a couple of hours including the duration of the entire Mass. All I could think was “In His Temple all cry Glory!” a phrase which I repeated endless times. [Psalm 29:1-9]
Give to the LORD, you sons of God,
give to the LORD glory and might;
2 Give to the LORD the glory due his name.
Bow down before the LORD’s holy splendor!
3 The voice of the LORD is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders, the LORD,
over the mighty waters.
4 The voice of the LORD is power;
the voice of the LORD is splendor.
5 The voice of the LORD cracks the cedars;
the LORD splinters the cedars of Lebanon,
6 Makes Lebanon leap like a calf,
and Sirion like a young bull.
7 The voice of the LORD strikes with fiery flame;
8 the voice of the LORD shakes the desert;
the LORD shakes the desert of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the LORD rends the oak
and strips the forests bare.
All in his Temple cry, “Glory!”
18. I don’t begin to have the words to describe this experience for you beyond what I have said, but certain ideas I can share, though the words are inadequate.
19. We tend to see the Glory of God as a static thing, brilliant Light, radiance, etc. such as Peter, James, and John saw to envelop Christ during the Transfiguration on Mt. Tabor. Yet we should realize that His Glory is intensely alive with Divine Energy, ecstatic and personal, throbbing with incomprehensible Love, deeply shared, pouring out from Divine Person to Divine Person eternally. His Glory is Delight, enthralling, enrapturing. To catch but a glimpse of it (as I did briefly) is to taste Heaven on earth!
20. One thing we had best understand is that Glory is not extrinsic to God, but intrinsic—essentially His from all eternity. We cannot give Glory to God; He IS Glory. When we say “Glorify God” or “Give glory to God” we are talking about the praise of His Glory, giving Him what is extrinsic to Him, incidental, nonessential. If we are pure and acceptable to Him in Christ, it is as though we are holding up a spotless mirror to reflect His Glory–we don’t increase it, but merely reflect it. What a wonderful picture this presents to us. Imagine millions of mirrors of all sizes reflecting the splendor of His Light—each mirror reflecting His Light and the reflected light of all the other mirrors!
21. Our prayer of the Church’s doxology: “Glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit….” would not be prayed in a routine, humdrum way if we realized what we were saying!
PRAISE OF HIS GLORY
22. When I was a novice in the late sixties, I came upon a book about Sister Elizabeth of the Trinity, a young Carmelite nun, who, like St. Theresa the Little Flower, died in her twenties. She was devoted to the spirituality of St. Paul, and delighted when she found in his letters what she believed was her calling. Talking with the other nuns about the “new name” which the Book of Revelations says each of the redeemed will receive in heaven, Sister Elizabeth declared that she had found hers in St. Paul. “I have found my vocation there,” she declared. “I am to be the ’praise of His glory’ eternally. I wish to be laudem gloriae here on earth.”
23. If we turn to Ephesians 3:3-14, we find this remarkable phrase repeated three times. Verse 5-6: “In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved.” Here St. Paul declares that our destiny lies in the praise of His glory.
24. Ephesians 3:11-12 – “In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory….”
25. And lastly, in Ephesians 3:13-14 – “In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed* with the promised holy Spirit, which is the first installment* of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s possession, to the praise of his glory.”
26. Enchanted with this young Carmelite, I tried that name on myself for some time, entering into St. Paul’s cherished teachings. The question is why did St. Paul repeat this phrase three times? For emphasis. He did not want us to miss the point. All Glory is due to God, and it is our destiny, our calling, our ultimate vocation to praise His Glory now and for all eternity. When I read about her so many years ago, she was just an obscure young nun, someone like me, someone I could emulate. When I returned to the church in 2009, I looked her up on the internet, and to my joy I found this:
27. “On November 25, 1984, Pope John Paul II beatified Elizabeth of the Trinity. In his homily at the beatification, the Pope presented Elizabeth of the Trinity to the Church as one “who led a life ‘hidden with Christ in God’ (Col 3,3),” and as “a brilliant witness to the joy of being ‘rooted and grounded in love’ (Eph 3,17).” We can turn to Elizabeth of the Trinity today as a witness to the impact that the presence of the loving God within the soul can have in a human life. She proclaims to us with St. Paul the great dignity of the Christian Vocation: the call to be conformed to Christ — crucified, risen, and present in the Eucharist – to become “temples of the Spirit,” all to the praise of the Father’s glory. She reminds us that the Trinity is “our home,” that God has created us in order to be united to Christ, to live as his adopted sons and daughters, dwelling in his love and remaining there always in this life and in the next. “ [ http://www.helpfellowship.org/Blessed_Elizabeth_of_the_Trinity.htm%5D
SUPPLEMENT: “The Glory of the Lord” by FR. KENNETH BAKER, S.J.
28. The Nicene Creed says not only that Jesus “will come again” at the end of world history, but it also gives a biblical description of his coming by adding that he will come “in glory”.
The idea of “glory” and the “glory of God” occurs throughout the Bible, so we might do well to reflect on this datum of revelation for a few moments.
29. In the Hebrew Bible the word for “glory” (kabod) originally meant heavy in weight. If something was heavy and large it was important, like a mountain, and so it inspired respect. The basis of glory could be riches. Abraham was said to be “very glorious” because he possessed cattle, silver and gold (Gen 13:2).
30. The Expression “the glory of the Lord” means God himself insofar as he is revealed in his majesty, his power and his holiness. He manifests himself in two ways: in his lofty deeds and by his appearances to Abraham, Moses and the prophets. God showed his glory especially in the miracle of the Red Sea (Ex 14:18) and also the manna and the quail (Ex 16:7). The divine appearances are normally accompanied with disturbances of nature, such as thunder, lightning, fire, earthquakes, clouds. These phenomena manifest the glory of God; the cloud that surrounds the glory is there for the protection of man, for no man can see God and still live (Ex 33:20).
31. The glory of God, in the form of a cloud, filled the Tent of Meeting where Moses spoke with the Lord (Ex 33:9). It also filled “the house of the Lord” that Solomon built (1 Kings 8:10-11). As time went on the idea of God’s glory developed in the prophets from clouds and fire to the notion of illumination. We find this in Ezekiel 1 and Isaiah 60.
32. After the Exile (537 B.C.), the Jews came more and more to realize that the power of the Lord extended over the whole world. Thus his glory is shown in his dominion over all nations and all creatures. The Psalms often called upon all creatures to praise the glory of the Lord (cf. PS 57; 97; 145-50). But the one passage in the Old Testament to which the “coming in glory” of the Creed refers, more than to all others, is the description of the “son of man” in the prophet Daniel (7:13-14): “I saw one like a son of man coming on the clouds of heaven.… He received dominion, glory and kingship; nations and peoples of every language serve him.” This passage is commonly interpreted as referring to Jesus Christ who will “come in glory to judge the living and the dead”.
33. Glory in the sense of majesty, power, dominion, illumination, holiness belongs primarily to God. Men like Moses or the saints can share in the glory of God by doing his will and by growing in virtue.
34. Isaiah says that “all the earth is filled with his glory” (Is 6:3). The glory of God in this sense can mean: 1) the divine protection, and 2) the praise that creatures give to God because of his glory. The sense of this text from Isaiah is that all creatures reflect the wisdom and perfection of God. And by their very existence, as a reflection of God’s perfection, they give praise to their Creator. Man alone among all creatures on earth gives praise to the glory of God not only by his physical existence, but also by consciously acknowledging the goodness and the love of God.
35. The motto of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuit Order, was Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam — “For the Greater Glory of God”. The phrase came so spontaneously to his lips that it appears on almost every page he ever wrote. Ignatius was so captivated by the love and goodness of God that he would spare no effort to give recognition to God and to praise him by a life of virtue and sacrifice.
36. Christian painters surround their images of Christ and the saints with reds and yellows and white to indicate their glory. This is an attempt, through the impression of illumination, to indicate their glory. By faith, we know that Jesus Christ will come again in glory — the blazing light, clouds and fire are symbolic of his definitive triumph over evil and death and his everlasting dominion.
[Kenneth Baker, S.J. “The Glory of the Lord.” In Fundamentals of Catholicism Vol. 1 Chapter 27 (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1995), 82-84. ] Also: ttp://catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0761.html