Father Robert Barcelos, OCD: paradoxical beauty 2


Cardinal Ratzinger writes, ‘It’s when we have known Him, from the inside out, not only because we have heard others speak about Him, then we will have known the beauty of truth, of the truth that redeems.’ Nothing can bring us into close contact with the beauty of Christ Himself, other than the world of beauty, by faith and light that shines out from the faces of the saints, through whom His own light becomes visible.

Jesus is not only the perfect icon, the window, of God; Jesus is God’s self-portrait. Not only does He fully reveal to us who He is, but He is also a mirror reflecting for us, who we are capable of becoming as beloved in Him. When we’re called to see Him, to contemplate Him, to look into the eyes of God, to behold Him, to behold His beauty, that face is a mirror of who we are called to be–not in the physical, visible way, but in the beauty of who He is as our beloved. In His Sacred Humanity, God wants to bring in each of us the fullness of life in Him, according to who we are, our background, and where we’re at in our life’s journey.

As the wisdom of St. Thérèse expresses, there’s no amount of sin, pain, failure, shame, weakness or littleness in someone’s past, that can disqualify a person from the work of His love. The wisdom of St. Thérèse says that the more weak I am, the more I see myself as imperfect, the more little I am, the more I am suited to the works, the designs of God’s merciful love.

St. Paul writes, ‘When I am weak, I am strong. When I am weak, Christ’s grace comes to be in abundant measure. Therefore, if I am most strong when I am weak, when Christ is closest to me, then I will boast in my weaknesses. I will see my weaknesses as a treasure and blessing, and not as a curse.’ This became a platform for St. Thérèse’s confidence. She says, ‘Lord, You came for sinners, and you’ve allowed me to become aware of my littleness and weakness. I lift myself up into your arms, knowing that everything that You have expressed about who You are and Your mission through the public ministry of Jesus, shows that You came for the weak, the broken, and those who recognize their need for You. I recognize my need for You. Therefore, I have rights to Your heart. Here I am to take You by the heart.’

The saints are God’s work of art in our world… even more than the beauty of all nature, and nature is magnificently beautiful. It is marvelous, how God has designed creation, from the simplest insect, to the workings of our body, to the stars in the cosmos, to the multiplicity of galaxies; creation is amazing. The earth, among all the planets in our solar system, is spectacular! And yet, as St. Teresa says, none of that can be compared to a single immortal soul, made in His image. St. John of the Cross explains that God cares more for that one soul than all the works of His natural creation. He would be willing to give up all of the natural beauty of creation that He has made to save a single soul. That is how important each human being is to Him.

Yet, the paradoxical beauty is that God, in His love, respects our freedom. Love cannot impose itself on anybody. Love cannot be possessive and controlling. Love is respectful of the other person. God is not a tyrant or dictator; He doesn’t want to dominate our lives. He invites us into a relationship of mutual trust. He is not an abusive father; he is tenderly compassionate, understanding, and patient (to be continued).

May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life.

(SOURCE: Denver Retreat, October 2015)

Copyright 2016, Fr. Robert Barcelos. All Rights Reserved

‘Arm yourselves with the armor of faith and the sword of truth. Pray for the grace to forgive and to ask for forgiveness – and for the healing of wounded bodies and souls.’


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