Interview with Fr Robert Barron about Christ and mission

Some great stuff in this interview over at One Peter Five:

My fear is the domesticated Christ, which my generation got after the Council, and which the modern world is happy with. You know, Christ who is defanged, who is a bland spiritual teacher… a teacher of “timeless truths.” That [last part]is fine and true, but it’s domesticated. The Gospels rather present this ferocious figure, meaning “The New Lord.” He’s JesusKyrios, “Jesus the Lord,” which means that He has supplanted all the other Lords. His cross and resurrection is something that demands a complete conversion on our part. If He’s the King, then my entire life has to change. I wanted to recover that edgy, challenging, and deeply Biblical Jesus.

The new series Priest, Prophet, King is certainly in that line, but I’m trying to deepen and broaden these things by looking at these three great archetypes which come roaring up out of the Old Testament, and that are used by the NT authors and the Great Tradition. If Christ is King as He reigns from the cross wearing a crown of thorns, then he is a dangerous figure, and your life is going to be really different following that King. The other two archetypes come up out of the great Biblical tradition and have their own texture, and depth…so I wanted to continue in that Christological vein with this, and just fill out the picture of Jesus, so that He doesn’t become this postmodern stereotype of an easily domesticated teacher.


I don’t want to turn into a macho guy, or put down women…women have a distinctive role, and there is a distinctive female spirituality…but I think that men – as you were suggesting –  we’re subjected to too much of a feminized spirituality that doesn’t appeal. Sitting in circles and sharing feelings is not what men like to do. What men like to do is receive a mission. And make it hard. Make it challenging. Give me something difficult to do.

You see, “mission” is central to Christianity. Nobody in the Bible is ever given an experience of God without being sent on a mission. To go back through Moses, Abraham, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Peter, James, John, and Paul: all of them are given a mission. Go! Do something! It’s always hard, and often will demand your whole life. That appeals to men, it seems to me. And I think in the spirituality for men, you want to put stress there.

God has a mission for you, and it’s hard. It’s the mission of love. You see, “love” is not a sentimental term. Love means giving your life for the sake of the other. It means “I exist for you, not for me.” And I find that with young men, the harder you make the mission, the more appealing it is to them. So don’t water down the Priesthood – I say here – or lower its demands…heighten them, if anything. Make it more difficult. Celibacy is a good example of this. There are many dimensions to celibacy, but one of them is “mission”, or “freedom for mission.”  I’m going to eschew marriage and children and family, because I’ve got this job that God has given me to do. So it’s not a feminized thing, but a hyper-masculine thing.

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