Since I was late to Bishop Barron’s talk this afternoon (I have an excuse! I went to Confession! … that’s why I was late. I didn’t go to confession for being late. Anywho…) I had a seat way in the back, but it didn’t matter- the man has a way of delivering the message that draws you in so it doesn’t matter where you are – he has your attention.
I missed his introduction, but it didn’t take me long to see where his talk was headed. He spoke about man being created in the image of God, and what that means in our role as priest, prophet, and king. Archbishop Fisher tweeted, “His big idea is that ‘the image of God’ is not a private treasure but a mission.”
The thing about Bishop Barron is that he says the most profound things in the simplest ways. Who else could bring Jean-Paul Sartre and Servais Pinckaers down to a level where a ballroom of families could understand at least part of what you were trying to convey? I know a lot of people have compared him to Fulton Sheen, but he reminds me of Frank Sheed. The profound truth, said profoundly, but in an understandable way. I feel like I could meditate on Barron’s talk for quite some time and still not reach the depths – but while he was speaking, I didn’t feel like my brain was going to explode. Does that make sense?
He went through the three roles — priest, prophet, and king — and what the roles require, but then how original sin compromised them. The one that really blew my mind was our role as prophets. In the Garden, Adam was given the mission of cataloging the world according to God’s Word. He named the animals. He preached the Truth by defining things according to their nature.
The Imago is compromised today when we start defining things ourselves. We preach the lie that we give things meaning. Words mean whatever you say they mean. The human person is defined however you want to define it.
We would do this with nothing else that mattered to us, Bishop Barron pointed out. No one tells someone who wants to play golf, “Oh, just express yourself! Swing however you want to swing!” That’s ludicrous. If you want to play golf, you are “freed” once you know how to golf – once you know the laws of golf.
I would try to explain how he connected this to God’s extravagant demand for perfection and extravagant mercy, why Pontius Pilate is the first evangelist, and why we have a crisis of the laity, but I would rather you just somehow listen to the talk yourself some day. Because he was incredible.
He left us by reminding us that if we remembered who we were, created in the Image of God as priest, prophet, and king, we would not be living in a secularized society. We would have “Edenized” the world. Sanctifying the world is our mission. The importance of the family today is that it is the place where the Imago Dei is burnished – where we learn how to be priest, prophet, and king, where we are prepared to go out on mission.
It made me want to get in a big circle, put our hands in, and then yell, “Go Family!”