by James Paulin
Throughout time mankind has sought to have personal encounters with God. Every age and culture has looked to find favor with the powers they imagined that controlled their existence. Many thought they would find God in nature, some in spirits of great powers and some in forces of good and evil. High priests of various populations practiced ceremonies of sacrifice, including humans, which were intended to appease the gods and gain favorable circumstance. The God of the Israelites choose to reveal an identity that was both visible and interactive.
First came the knowledge that no person would be able to bear looking upon the face of God and continue to exist. Then God appeared in the form of a burning bush that was not consumed and spoke to Moses. The next appearance was made in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night that guided the chosen people out of the land of Egypt. These were spectacular images to the human experience but were merely all a person could absorb at that moment.
God is unimaginable. There is a wonderful insight into the spirit of God in the way Jesus is presented to us. Just try to imagine, the entity from which all things exists that are both known and unknown, taking a role as a newborn baby to experience our frail humanity. Communication with humans has to be with a common understanding. We all were defenseless babies and were nurtured by our mother and father so God comes to us wrapped in an infant blanket, totally dependant upon the love of Mary. This breaks all barriers between deity and mortal in a manner that permits individual choice to believe or ignore God through the approachable, welcoming, open arms of Jesus who tells us that those who have seen him have also seen the Father who sent him. What a way for God to show His face and yet let us decide if we wish to look and live or turn away.
We are a community of laymen and laywomen who, with vowed Passionists, seek to share in the charism of St. Paul of the Cross through prayer, ongoing spiritual formation, and proclamation of the message of Christ Crucified.