"The Christian must discover in contemplation, and in the giving of his life, those symbolic actions which will ignite the people's faith to resist injustice with their whole lives, lives coming together as a united force of truth and thus releasing the liberating power of the God within them." - James Douglass, Contemplation and Resistance.

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Face of God

The face of God is seen in our brother, our Iraqi brother, our Palestinian brother, the brother that lives in the prison. Even to debate whether torture can be justified is a stain on the body of Christ. Christians live from an even greater expansion of the dignity of the human person which gives true glory to God, not in battle fantasies against cartoon evil. Listen to the words of our mother, "The human person’s dignity is a central moral criterion in 20th-century theology. Many theologians find the 'image of God' in the dignity attached to our personhood. They also see the human talent for creating and sustaining community life as grounded in our similarity to the divine nature, a nature which the doctrine of the Trinity teaches is a unique community of three persons distinct only in their mutual relationships to each other. Thus, a torturer inflicting torments and suffering on a victim not only defaces another brother or sister but implicitly attacks the face of God in the other and destroys human community." - John Perry S.J. "The Theologian's View"

To be a Christian means to place the respect for human dignity in the heart of our worship. In the words of Vatican II, "Today there is an inescapable duty to make ourselves the neighbor of evern man, no matter who he is, and if we meet him, to come to his aid in apositive way, whether he is an agaed person abandoned by all, a foreign worker despised without reason, a refugee, an illegitimate child wrongly suffering for a sin he did not commit, or a starving human being who awakens our conscience by calling to mind the words of Christ: "As you did it to one of the least of these my bretheren, you did it to me" (Mt. 25:40).

"Whatever is opposed to life itself, . . . whatever violates the integrity of the human person . . . torments inflicted on body or mind, attempts to coerce the will itself; whatever insults human dignity . . . all these things . . . are a supreme dishonor to the Creator"

"[Such infamies] do more harm to those who practice them than those who suffer from the injury." ("Gaudium et Spes," 2, 27).

Human dignity will one day expand in an ocean of light. Let us take the first steps into that sea by embracing more and more of the faces of God, then we shall honor God.

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