Glory of God (CC. 2, 9, 66)
– V. Lawrence cmf
The aim of the congregation is to seek in all things the Glory of God …(CC2)
1. Biblical Reflection
The Glory of God in the OT is his visible “Life-giving and Saving Presence” to his people. Whenever God appeared to them, His glory accompanied him. It was a signified by cloud and fire, the first forms of his presence seen by the people, when God led them away from the clutches of the Egyptian might (Ex 13:21; 16:7).
This glory dwelt in the tabernacle (Ex 40:34), and later in the Temple (1 Kg 8:11), as his ruling presence on earth. Many texts highlight its luminous character which is the brilliance of Yahweh himself (Is 24:23; Eze 1:28), which was interpreted as an expression of his divinity, holiness and purity (Is 6:3; 42:8; Eze 39:21). Therefore anything that is bright and brilliant on earth evoked his glory: “the earth is full of the glory (light) of Yahweh” (Num 14:21; Eze 43:2; Ps 97:6). As the nature manifested it, the historical saving acts of God also did the same (Is 35:2; 40:5; Ps 63:3).
In Jesus the salvific presence of God the Father (glory) has come closer to humans but hidden in the vulnerable human nature. Jesus is the reflection of the glory of the Father (Heb 1:3). It was revealed once to the disciples (Lk 9: 29-31) but to be manifest to all at his second coming as judge (Mt 16:27). The Father gives his glory to Jesus and he in his turn shares it with his disciples (Jn 8:54; Jn 17:22). It is said that the disciples saw his glory (Jn 1:14). At the incarnation the glory of God stood around the shepherds (Lk 2:9). The disciples also will share the throne of glory with Jesus (Mk 10:37).
But Jesus is said to have arrived at this glory through his passion and death (Lk 24:26; Jn 12:23), incorporating in him the suffering of humanity (Heb 2:9; 1 Pet 1:11). The recognition of God’s divinity and holiness is realized in the crucified Christ (Phil 2:11). He is the Lord of Glory (1 Cor 2:8) and by his suffering he brought many to Glory (Heb 2:10). The Christians share the glory of Christ through their sharing of his passion (Rom 8:17). Thus the Christian reflects the glory of the Father by being changed into the likeness of Christ (2 Cor 3:18). Therefore, suffering for one another in love is glory (Eph 3:13). This glory confers perfect freedom upon the Christian (Rom 8:21). And so they must glorify God.
To give glory to God is to recognize his divinity and holiness. One gives glory to him by confessing sin (Jos 7:19), by singing hymns of praise (Ps 29:1), by performing the functions of cult (Mal 2:2), above all by keeping his divinity and holiness in the thought and knowledge (Hab 2:14). But Paul tells the Christians to do everything for the glory of God, recognizing in every act the saving presence of God (1 Cor 10:31; cf. Mt 5:16). In other words by obeying God in everything they glorify him (2 Cor 9:13). He considers the body of a Christian the temple of God where his glory dwells now and therefore he exhorts the Christians to glorify him in their bodies (1 Cor 6:20). Above all by suffering for the faith one glorifies God (1 Pet 4:16). One should desist from seeking one’s glory that comes from humans (Jn 5:44).It is thus the Christian like Christ will rise to glory (1 Cor 15:40).
2. Theological Reflection
The root meaning of “Glory” in the Bible is “weight” or “importance” that which exhibits a person’s inner worth and demands the respect of others. This is the common meaning of the term in many of our modern languages too. Naturally all of us have the tendency to seek and establish our own importance in front of others, which often involves acrimonious moves that hamper smooth relationships. This is seeking vainglory. Our religious consecration is a conscious commitment to keep God, our neighbors and the creation at the center of our lives in a continuous act of self-sacrifice offered in the fire of love. Therefore a self-centered religious is an anomaly. Keeping this in mind, our constitutions speak about “seeking the glory of God in everything” (2, 9, 66), which means that
- Firstly, one purifies the motives of every action to make it God-centered.
- Secondly, while carrying out our activities, we keep the divine, holy and the salvific presence of God in our thoughts, mixing our love for him with the daily activities.
- Thirdly, we recognize this luminous presence reflected in the face of all our brothers and sisters with whom we form the one family God’s children.
- Fourthly, we acknowledge the saving presence of God in the light that shines through the entire creation. Therefore, glorifying God means recognizing his presence in the self, others and in the cosmos always.
In union with Christ who attained glory through his self-sacrifice on the cross, we also glory in the cross of Jesus Christ (CC.9). In the missionary model that our founder has painted for us “cross” and “suffering” are the most colorful. It does not mean that he had a special love for suffering! Since he was attached to the crucified Christ, the model for sacrificial love, he united consciously his daily sufferings in his missionary endeavors with that of crucified Christ, which enabled him to be configured with the Lord of Glory. This is how a Claretian can glory in the cross of Christ. He readily endured all kinds of suffering for the sake of the well- being of his neighbors, a sign of his deep love for them and faith in God. As the glory of God came closer to humans in Jesus in the disguise of the broken humanity, the missionary hardships contains the seeds of glory. In solidarity with the suffering humanity and the tarnished creation every suffering endured in love is the birth pang of a new glorious life for all. This is how a missionary forgets his self and lives for the greater glory of God and the salvation of humans and of the cosmos.
3. Practical Application
1) Take a few minutes to recall all those around you and visualize their faces communicating the presence of God for you.
2) Plan some of the ways you can grow in the awareness of God’s presence and choose 2 or 3 practical actions to practice each day until they form part of your nature.
3) Make a list of your present hardships and sufferings which you tend to avoid or resist and look at them in the light of the paschal mystery.