Omnipotence

The Autobiography of God

Jesus wrote his autobiography in two stories and in the connection between them. The connection is the bloody wounds we opened in his body with lash, thorns, nails and spear. The bloody wounds have two sides, a near side and a far side. The two stories unfolded on each of the two sides. The two stories are the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. His autobiography was not written in words but was done in deeds. In the Crucifixion, the Resurrection and the bloody wounds that connect them, Jesus revealed the identity of God.

[Note: Worry less about our Catholic identity and more about the identity of God].

The Crucifixion, the Resurrection and the bloody wounds that connect them are essential to a perfect understanding of God. Leave one of the three elements of the autobiography out and your image of God will be distorted. The Crucifixion, the Resurrection and the bloody wounds that connect them provide us with a high fidelity representation of the nature of God. No representation made by human hands comes close to equal the fidelity of the representation of God given to us in his autobiography. All representations of God of lesser fidelity must, therefore, yield to the autobiography of God. In cases of conflict, go with the autobiography.

Let us review the autobiography.

When we look at the near side of his bloody wounds, we see the Crucifixion. In the Crucifixion, we see his ignominious defeat. The Crucifixion is the adversity into which we baptized him to test his genuineness (Matthew 4:7) (Luke 22:42). In the Crucifixion, we see that we tortured and killed him and that he suffered and died. We stuffed him into the black hole of death. Nobody and nothing escapes from the black hole of death. 

His bloody wounds, however, are not solely the evidence of the evil we did to him. His bloody wounds are also a telescope. When we look through them, we catch a glimpse of paradise from here on earth.

When we look through his bloody wounds to their far side, we see the Resurrection. In the Resurrection, we see his glorious victory. In the Resurrection are the byproducts of the evil baptism into which we immersed him - the results of the test. We see the escape from the black hole of death. We see that he emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. These two details of divinity emerged from the dead. The results of the test are the proof that God put into our hands to extinguish our doubts:

  1. That he did not stay dead is the proof that Jesus is omnipotent. Nobody emerges from the black hole of death. He did.
  2. That he did not stop loving us is the proof that our conception of God as omnipotence is inaccurate. Another detail defines divinity besides omnipotence. Divinity is love. 

The Crucifixion is an amplifier. The difficulty of the test magnifies the results. The Crucifixion highlights the two details of divinity that emerged from the black hole of death. Neither detail ought to have emerged. Yet, both did. This is a radically unexpected and surprising outcome. The evil we did to him ought to have, at the very least, pissed him off. It ought to have antagonized him. It ought to have earned us a place on his shit list. It ought to have provoked his natural instinct for justice. It ought to have triggered his reflex for revenge, retaliation and retribution (Romans 12:19). It ought to have transformed him into our enemy - into a misanthropic monster - into the God who hates us. It ought to have shifted God from the pro-human team to the anti-human team with the serpent and his minions. When the fuse is lit, the bomb ordinarily explodes. But, remarkably, it did not. The fuse worked but the bomb was a dud (Isaiah 55:8-9). We gave him good cause to repay us in kind, but he did not (Romans 12:19). The evil we did to him did not extinguish his love for us or reduce it by even the slightest degree. Inexplicably, he clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go.  If his love for us were counterfeit, it would have faded as we tortured him and would have died when we killed him. But it did not. It survived. Its survival is the guarantee that his love for us is real. Despite the evil we did to him he continues to love us nonetheless. God let us get away with murder - with deicide. Such is the nature of God! We tried but failed to drain his heart of love for us. Wow! This is the good news of great joy - very good news for us indeed.

His omnipotence made paradise. However, his love for us makes paradise sweet. Rational people seek the sweetness of paradise (and flee the sourness of godlessness). It is contrary to our self-interest to do otherwise.

 

Let me summarize his autobiography. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he did not stay dead and did not stop loving us. This is the autobiography of Jesus crystallized into just twenty-one (21) words.

In most representations of God, God is portrayed as a one-dimensional, cardboard cut-out. The only detail of God either expressed or implied is that diviniy is omnipotence. This is true but inadequate. There is another detail that is as important to us. God is love. This detail was made clear when the Son of God presented his autobiography to us.

Love that is tested in and survives adversity is real. His love for us was tested in and survived adversity. We baptized him in a boiling cauldron of evil. Yet,he emerged still alive and still in love with us. Wow! He continued to love us nonetheless. Despite the evil we did to him, he continued to love us nonetheless.

The Sign of the Cross

A genuinely made Sign of the Cross “makes all hell tremble.”
— St. John Vianney
 

Let us begin our exploration of the mystery, majesty and magnificence of God with a short but powerful prayer, 'the Sign of the Cross'.

The gestures of the Sign of the Cross do not just point at the bloody wounds we opened in the body of Christ. They point through them. The bloody wounds are a telescope through which we catch a glimpse of heaven from here on earth. They pierce the veil.

If we stop short and only look at the bloody wounds, we only see the guarantee of the genuineness of the message - the verification of its veracity - its certificate of authenticity. We see that we tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. We do not see the message itself.

The revelation that the Son of God made during his visit consists of two components: 1) the message itself and 2) the guarantee of the message. 

In order to see the message itself, we must look through the bloody wounds not just at them. 

If we look through the bloody wounds, we see more - much more.  We see what God intended us to see. We see divinity in all of its glorious splendor. We see the engine that generates the sweet force that pulls us to the entrance of paradise. '

What do we see when we look through the bloody wounds?

We see that he did not stay dead and that he did not stop loving us. We see indestructibility. We see the indestructibility of the Son of God and the indestructibility of His love for us. Both the Son of God and His love for us survived the brutal baptism into which we immersed him. Life and love emerged intact and undiminished from the gauntlet of evil through which we ran the Son of God while he was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guest upon the earth. We put the Son of God to the test. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. From the fact that he did not stay dead we discovered that Jesus is God. From the fact that he did not stop loving us we discovered the divinity is love. His survival revealed His omnipotence. Death itself has no power over Him and, by virtue of Him, over us.  The survival of His love for us, however, revealed so much more - something greater and more powerful than omnipotence. The survival of His love for us revealed the very essence of divinity itself. God is love - a love that we are powerless to extinguish or reduce by even the slightest degree.

Therefore, let us re-learn this simple but powerful prayer --- that is all too often only perfunctorily said.  Make the Sign of the Cross often. Prepare places of honor for it in your daily lives.

 

The Bloody Wounds in His Head

Name the Father. Point to the bloody wounds we opened in the head of Jesus. Look through them as you would look through a telescope. See that the Son of God not only survived the evil into which we baptized Him but He also clung to His love for us, held tight and did not let go. He continues to love us nonetheless. God is love - a love that we are powerless to extinguish or reduce by even the slightest degree. 

Meditation:  Jesus wears the crown because He is the King of Kings. Rank in the kingdom of God is determined by love. He holds the highest rank because He has the greatest love. He loved us before He entered the gauntlet of gruesome suffering, He loved us while passing through it, and loved us no less when He emerged.

 

The Bloody Wounds in His Feet

Name the Son. Point to the bloody wounds we opened in the feet of Jesus. Look through them as you would look through a telescope. See that the Son of God not only survived the evil into which we baptized Him but He also clung to His love for us, held tight and did not let go. He continues to love us nonetheless. God is love - a love that we are powerless to extinguish or reduce by even the slightest degree.  

Meditation: The feet of God trod the earth, not above us as God, but on the same level as us - an equal to us in our humanity - a partner with us in our suffering. He communicated His love for us in the unambiguous language of suffering - our native tongue. Nobody signs up to dive headfirst or, for that matter, even dip his toe into the boiling cauldron of suffering unless they are insane or something important outweighs the high cost of suffering.  All creatures who suffer understand this. Suffering is a price we only willingly pay for something that is extremely dear to us. Jesus paid the price because we are extremely dear to Him. 

 

THE BLOODY WOUNDS IN HIS Hands

Name the Holy Spirit. Point to the bloody wounds we opened in the hands of Jesus. Look through them as you would look through a telescope. See that the Son of God not only survived the evil into which we baptized Him but He also clung to His love for us, held tight and did not let go. He continues to love us nonetheless. God is love - a love that we are powerless to extinguish or reduce by even the slightest degree.

Meditation:  Despite all of the evil we did to Him, the arms of God still remain wide open and ready to embrace us in a great bear hug of overwhelming love if we would repent, turn ourselves around and start our climb out of the inhospitable cesspool of godlessness.

 

THE BLOODY WOUND IN HIS Side

Say Amen. Fold your hands together to form the point of the spear that pierced the side of Jesus.  Look through the bloody wound we opened in His side as you would look through a telescope. See that the Son of God not only survived the evil into which we baptized Him but He also clung to His love for us, held tight and did not let go. He continues to love us nonetheless. God is love - a love that we are powerless to extinguish or reduce by even the slightest degree. 

Meditation:  At Calvary, buckets of blood and His very life itself spilled from the wounds we opened in His body with lash, thorns, nails and spear. However, not a drop - not a drop - of His love for us spilled. His most sacred heart continued to be filled to the brim with love for us. He and His love for us had survived. This is the good news of great joy.  At Bethlehem, the most Holy Trinity hand delivered to us a love note. At Calvary, they gave us a guarantee of its veracity.

 

You may be too busy to go to Mass or to Confession. You may not have enough time to say the Rosary. But what is your excuse for not making a meaningful Sign of the Cross?