Father Robert Barcelos, OCD: Christ’s passion, His free gift

In Christ Our Way and Our Life, the theology of Father Sophrony, a holy man who comes from the Eastern Christian Greek Orthodox tradition, is explained. Father Sophrony grounds the whole mystical experience of God in “the mystery of Christ.” Entering into the mystery of what it means to be loved by God is the source of Christian mysticism.

Father Sophrony grounds the magnificent realities, the magnanimous truth of who we are, in what Christ accomplished. His Word is truth and everything about it is possible because of who He is and what He did. God’s work is not something that we can produce on our own, nothing that we can ever earn by our performance, nothing we deserve by being ‘good enough.’

What He gives us is nothing that we are, by ourselves, worthy of. It’s all free gift. It’s all sheer grace – amazing grace.

Father Sophrony says, “Christ suffering in the flesh, inherited and took possession of all people.”  In Christ’s Passion, He came and He took, as it were, possession of all people.

Reflect on that a bit. In Christ’s Passion, He takes possession of all people. Remember when Jesus said, “When I am raised up” — like when Moses raised up the serpent, on the staff — “When in the Son of Man is raised up, I will draw all people to myself.”

Jesus became like us, mystically speaking – in His sacred humanity, his human body absorbed the suffering of every human being ever to live. He absorbed the sins of all people, from Adam to the end; in His pure humanity, in His innocence – and He became like us.

As High Priest, He humbled himself to wash our feet, and He became like us in all things but sin. He identified with every aspect of  our human weakness; he became so in touch with our vulnerability as human beings and as broken persons.

He entered into all vulnerabilities of all mankind, in every aspect of brokenness except for voluntary sin.

SOURCE: New Mexico Retreat, 2017, “First Love Exodus”


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