One of the many things I like about Fr. Z’s blog is his weekly commentary on the Sunday Collect. You can find this Sunday’s (the Second Sunday of Lent) here. Today’s Collect concerns listening, nourishing, purification, and the glory of the Lord. It was his comments on glory that got me thinking: things I had known, but had forgotten. Sometimes we get so caught up in the things of this world that we forget our grounding in faith. This is why I always find it beneficial and encourage the practice among others to regularly read catechisms and the like. One of the dangers of delving into the mysteries of faith is that we turn it into a journey down the rabbit hole, forgetting where we came from, what we are doing, and where we are going. Catechisms and other such materials serve as good reminders and stabilizers of what was revealed and into what/who we are delving.
Concerning glory, Fr. Z says that “gloria is more than fame or splendor of appearance. Our Latin liturgical gloria is the equivalent of biblical Greek doxa and Hebrew kabod…. Gloria has to do with man’s recognition of God as God. Gloria is a characteristic of God which He will share with us so as to transform us throughout eternity.” From this there are two aspects of glory that can be identified: first, recognition of God as God, and, second, a giving of one’s self upon recognizing God as God. I am here thinking in particular of the centurion before the foot of the Cross, who beholding the death of our Lord said, “Truly, this was the Son of God.” (Matt 27:54) We can even say that glory is given by the Evil One and the rest of the fallen, for they do recognize God as God and this necessitates a response: obedience – though not obedience borne of love! The many instances of Jesus expelling demons are examples of this.
Glory is also something God shares with us. We become glorified by partaking of God’s glory. The image of the Transfiguration about illustrates this. Elijah and Moses participate in Christ’s glory as well as the saints, depicted by I’m assuming Mary the Holy Theotokos and St. Dominic. When we are glorified it is because God is recognized in us. Through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit we, in Christ, become a true image of the Father. Just as one who looks upon Christ sees the Father, so too when one looks upon a Christian they should see the Son.
This does not happen through ambiguous actions of “love”. Rather this happens through the real encounter between peoples: an encounter in which there is true compassion (a suffering with) as well as a suffering for. Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God, was glorified by being raised on the Cross. It was when people looked upon Him hanging on the Tree that is both Death and Life that He was recognized as the Son of God. It is only on and through the Cross that we participate in God’s glory, at which point our souls magnify the Lord.