Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Glory of God is a Living Man

"Gloria Dei vivens homo; vita hominis visio." (Irenaeus, "Against Heresies", 4, 20) is the most mistranslated and misunderstood verse in patristic literature.  To make it clear, the translation is "The glory of God is a living man; the life of man is the vision of God.". (generic man).

Who is the man?  It is Jesus Christ, of whom the scriptures say that he is the glory of the father (cf. John1:14, et al.). The life of man, i.e., all human beings, is the vision of God, whom we can only see in Jesus Christ,, for "no one has seen God at any time, the only begotten Son...he has made him known."

How then do we see God? We see God through the gift of faith, through the indwelling of his Spirit, who provides us eyes to see.  We thus see God worship, and in the Holy Scriptures, especially as they are proclaimed in worship, the Scriptures which are the Word of God, i.e., Jesus Christ, "in letters" as Ss. Augustine and John Chrysostom say.  We see him  in the sacrifice of Christ made present, the Eucharist, where Christ incorporates bread and wine into himself, making them his body and blood, so that we may see him, yes, but also so that we too, eating his living flesh and drinking his living blood, may be incorporated into him, and become members of his body, one flesh as his bride with him.  We thus also see him in the Church, and in the deeds done in his name, which is how the world may see and know him.  

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