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Timeless reminder: `God is for us not against us`
Saturday, February 6, 2016

MANILA, Jan. 24, 2016 – Acting like some sort of theological archeologist, Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron reminded the faithful of an ancient yet ever new truth that has seemingly been buried by the centuries: God is for us not against us. 


“The glory of God, everybody, is a human being fully alive. God is not in competition with us. His glory, is when we flourish,” said the popular host of Word on Fire Ministries during a talk at St. Paul's College in Pasig on Sunday.


“Iraneus said, 'Gloria Dei homo vivens.' The glory of God is the human being fully alive. Beautiful! I’ve said you can lose all of Christian literature, and keep that one line, and in many ways you would have kept the whole story,” he added, noting the need for Catholics to relearn St. Iranaeus' doctrine of God.


Theological hero

St. Iraneus, one of Barron's many “theological heroes” had close Biblical ties because he was mentored by St. Polycarp who was, in turn, taught by St. John the Apostle. 


In his usual multi-disciplinary style, the bishop went on to explain how modern and ancient philosophies say exactly the opposite of this truth: “God is in competition with us. God is glorified when we are put down.”

 

Barron cites the Prometheus myth of ancient philosophy, which was supplanted by the New Atheism espoused by Fauerbach, Freud, and Sarte. 


According to the prelate, Faeurbach said, “No to God is the yes to man.” Faeurbach was echoed by Sigmund Freud, who aid religion was like an “infantile fantasy, like a dream.” On the other hand, Sarte theorized: “If God exists, I can’t be free. But I am free, therefore, God does not exist.”


Such bad PR for the Church is unfounded because as Barron puts it, “Christianity, properly understood, is the greatest humanism imaginable. God became man that man might become God.” 


“...Our great theological tradition, beginning with Iraneaus, coming through Augustine and through Thomas Aquinas in the modern times, says,...the more we surrender to the true God the more alive we become. The more our humanity is realized.”  


'Radiant not destroyed'

The fractured beliefs on the relationshp between man and God cannot even begin to fathom the immensity of the Christian message.


“[It is not] that we turn into God but that God became one of us so that we might become sharers in God’s own life. Christianity is not just becoming a better person, becoming morally upright. We have been called to share in God’s own life,” explained Barron.


Referring to ancient Greek and Roman mythology, he observed that “when the gods break into human affairs what happens?  People are incinerated. People are destroyed. As the gods come in, we have to give way.”


In contrast Christians have “that wonderful scene in the book of Exodus, Moses sees a bush, on fire but not consumed. The bush is on fire but not destroyed.”


Ending his discussion on the doctrine of God, “When the true God comes close to His creation, creation is radiant and beautiful and not destroyed.”


Barron, who was invited to give two session at the 51st International Eucharistic Congress in Cebu was also asked to give a talk on the family and New Evangelization during his stop-over in Manila. (Leia Go)




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