Image and Likeness: Summary
Seeing the Divine Image Everywhere
Sunday, December 23, 2018
We cannot earn God. We cannot prove ourselves worthy of God. Knowing God’s presence is simply a matter of awareness, of enjoying the now, of deepening one’s own presence. There are moments when it happens. Then life makes sense. Once I can see the Mystery here, and trust the Mystery even in this piece of clay that I am, then I can also see it in you. We are eventually able to see the divine image within ourselves, in each other, and in all things. Finally, the seeing is one. How you see anything is how you will see everything.
Jesus pushes seeing to the social edge. Can we see the image of Christ in the least of our brothers and sisters? That is his only description of the final judgment (Matthew 25). Nothing about commandments, nothing about church attendance—simply a matter of our ability to see. Can we see Christ in the “nobodies” who can’t play our game of success? In those who cannot reward us in return? When we see the image of God where we are not accustomed to seeing the image of God, then we see with eyes not our own.
Finally, Jesus says we have to love and recognize the divine image even in our enemies (Matthew 5:44). He teaches what many thought a leader could never demand of his followers: love of the enemy. Logically that makes no sense. Yet soulfully it makes absolute sense, because in terms of the soul, it really is all or nothing. Either we see the divine image in all created things, or we end up not seeing it at all. There is a first epiphany, and gradually the circle keeps moving outward, widening its embrace. It is almost the meaning of life!
The Christian vision is that the whole world is a temple. If that is true, then our enemies are sacred, too. Who else created them but God? The ability to respect the outsider is probably the litmus test of true seeing. And it doesn’t stop with human beings and enemies and the least of the sisters and brothers. It moves to frogs and waters and weeds. Everything becomes enchanting once we have full sight. One God, one world, one truth, one suffering, and one love (see Ephesians 4:4-6). All we can do is participate.
Adapted from Richard Rohr, Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer (The Crossroads Publishing Company: 2003), 55, 57-59.