The Way of BeautyThe glory of the Lord is ours

For the past several weeks, our reflections have focused on the suffering Lord according to St. Paul’s hymn in Philippians 2:5-11. This week, we shall expand on the last two verses in this hymns: “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”(vv 9-11). 

The cross of Jesus was his resurrection; he burned himself out to give us his light. His life was the candle that burned itself out in order to give its light to all. In Psalm 22, though we see the faithful soul suffering and forsaken, we also see that soul who places itself entirely in the hands of the Lord who will deliver it.  The psalm closes with the afflicted one praising the Lord. On the cross, Jesus expressed the meaning of Psalm 22 in his prayer to the Father. Jesus foretold his last hours on the cross: “If I be lifted up, I will draw all things to myself” (Jn 12:32). The Father transforms and raises up Jesus’ death into resurrection glory. The Father glorifies him and proclaims him to be Lord of the universe. Jesus’ humility and obedience of faith, total trust, and love are transformed and raised to God’s glory, and henceforth, “there is an upward movement in the whole of creation” (Sermon of St. Maximus of Turin, Office of Readings, “Liturgy of the Hours,” Volume II: 817). The folly of our human suffering becomes our glory as well, but we see this after the fact, after we have been elevated—raised to God’s glory. When people suffer out of love for God, it is only the fact that they have been inflamed by the most sublime of beauties–a beauty crowned with thorns–that justifies their sharing in that suffering.
 
The Spirit-Advocate   

As the Son was sent in the Father’s name to redeem the world, so the Spirit stands in relation to the Son who makes the world whole and holy (Jn 5:43; 10:25).  At the Last Supper, Jesus tells his disciples that he will ask the Father to send them the Advocate, who will not come until he (Jesus) goes away (Jn 14:14; Jn 16:7).  Then the Spirit will teach the world all things (Jn 15:15).
 The Holy Spirit is God’s own Self giving life to the world.  The creative and life-giving energy of God is also the source of movement and life in the created world. 
 
The Spirit is our Advocate.  Now an advocate is one who is called to help someone in need of counsel who imparts wisdom and fortitude in us. The Spirit comforts and consoles, supports, prods, protects, pleads, and intercedes for us before the Father (1 Jn 2:1).  Bearing witness to Christ (Jn 15:26), our Advocate shames the unbelieving world, and enlightens its darkness (Jn16:8-11). The Spirit-Advocate serves as the jury and judge.  Upholding the truth (Jn 16:9), our Advocate teaches us right from wrong and helps us interpret the glamour of sin and the deceits of Satan “who prowls about disguised as an angel of light” (2 Cor11:14;1Jn 4:1). Where is the Spirit? The Spirit is at work always and everywhere leading us forward to the eternal, always seeking new ways of bringing forth new fruit (Jn 16:13). In Eastern Christianity, the following prayer is chanted on Pentecost and at other times during the year: “Heavenly King, Consoler, the Spirit of Truth, present in all places and filling all things, the Treasury of Blessings and the Giver of Life, come and dwell in us, cleanse us of all stain and save our souls, O Good One!” (“Byzantine Daily Worship,” compiled by Joseph Raya and José de Vinck (Alleluia Press, 899) The hymns honoring the Spirit, Veni, Creator (Come, Holy Ghost) Spiritus and Veni, Sancte, Spiritus (Come, Holy Spirit) repay meditation and prayer for they describe the life-giving creative Spirit who, as the Holy Spirit, also fills the heart of the entire world. For beautiful translations, see: www.preces-latinae.org.

Images of the Spirit
 
The Scriptures name the Spirit as breath and wind, energy and power, as fire and water,  justice, art,  and artistic creativity.  The “Catechism of the Catholic Church” teaches that the Spirit is present in Sacred Scripture and Tradition, the Magisterium, the Liturgy, charisms, signs in apostolic and missionary life, in the witness of the saints. The Spirit dwells within every person as the principle of life. The Spirit blows freely in extra-biblical religions, giving abundantly to man and woman who live the new commandment of love. In fact, men and women will do far greater works than Jesus himself (Jn 14:12). The Spirit builds up the community of love, not just as a mere personal gift but also as a personal giver of gifts.  

The Glory of the Lord
 
The phrase, “the glory of the Lord,” is sometimes used in conjunction with the phrase, fear of the Lord, which occurs throughout the Bible.  This phrase means awe of Divine Mystery connoting reverence at the “Holy, Holy, Holy” of God.  It causes the soul to shudder from its overpowering reality, and yet it draws the soul in a wonderful moment of rapture to it (Rudolf Otto, “The Idea of the Holy” translated by John W. Harvey (London, Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press, 1958), 13, 17, 30). God’s absolute holiness is at once love, beauty, mercy, wonder – words incapable of being adequately expressed, but which we experience as unspeakable bliss. Fear of the Lord is awe, marvel, wonder, majesty, and astonishment – glory.  Filial fear refers to a fear of offending God because of His great glory.
 
The word glory defies definition, although to the Jews, it represented God in human form. Because of its centrality in the Judeo-Christian scriptures, the word glory (k b d), as in the phrase, the glory of the Lord, assumes an iridescence as does no other word:   it is replete with an array of synonyms for the divine. In the Hebrew Scriptures, “k b d originally signifies the importance or weight of a person. God’s glory constitutes not only the chief content of Scripture but also its formal foundational character. In the Hebrew Scriptures, the shekinah is the divine presence, the glory of the Lord.
 
Divine glory unites God’s beauty, holiness, and love.  Glory forms not only the content but also the underlying theme of Scripture. Glory is also the preferred place for God's manifest love in the dark areas of existence. Finally, glory permeates the mystery of the Godhead, “higher than the skies” (Ps 108:4). Glory transforms creation, integrates it, and brings it to completion. Glory resides at the center of salvation history–in the Incarnation, the Paschal Event, and the outpouring of the Spirit into the cosmos.  Glory magnifies the beauty of the trinitarian mystery beyond imagination. The Trinity is the pre-eminent model for all other relationships.  God is a community of love, a trinity of persons, the mutuality of oneness (perichoresis, in the Christian East). In music, the perfect triad, do-mi-sol/1-3-5 (mi-sol-do /3-5-1; sol-do-mi/5-1-3) may be seen as an analogy for the Trinity. The three notes form one chord, all three sounding in harmony and in relation to one another.  Glory not only transcends every word, all speech, every category, every expression of Jesus’ hiddenness but also his manifestation. Divine glory is God!  And Christ is God’s glory, which will be given to us, his disciples.  

Our mission is the truth. Join us!

Your monthly donation will help our team continue reporting the truth, with fairness, integrity, and fidelity to Jesus Christ and his Church.