By Rev E B Belizar, Jr., SThD
I STILL recall the dare from someone very powerful. It was loud and clear: Show me a selfie with God and I will immediately resign.
It was one of those challenges from the chief executive that are not supposed to be taken seriously, if the history of similar pronouncements are to be considered. In fact, the whole thing is already out of most people’s consciousness. But what was that actually meant to be?
To anyone who paid any attention it appeared to be some form of “faith shaming”. Why believe in a God you cannot show as concretely as by a selfie like many involving a very close adviser who specializes in selfie-taking with political or showbiz celebrities? Knowing that no one can actually do this turns faith into a laughable “unscientific” proposition. It does not seem too farfetched to say that its main but unacknowledged target is the believer, more specifically the community of believers, the Church. If faith in an unseen God were to be shown ridiculous, so is its main purveyor, the Church.
Unfortunately the challenge falsely assumes that God fits or can be made to fit into human categories, including being seen and photographed. Its source conveniently forgets that if this were true, then he is, in the words of St. Augustine, “not God”. The real God is beyond human categorization. But would this be an acceptable riposte to the challenger? I personally doubt it. Yet saying so is a risk worth taking, considering that statements of this kind from the chief of state are recorded for posterity. If future generations were to chide the present one for taking the challenge in stride, at least that would not include this writer and many others who take their faith to heart.
A selfie with God, at least for the chief executive, is as ridiculous and impossible as white becoming black. Hence the challenge and the offer of resignation. By this time people have heard the latter offer for the nth time that it has sounded stale in the ear. Unfortunately it has also taken the sting out of the falsity of the challenge’s presupposition.
To presuppose that no selfie with God is possible is to forget that the “Word” who “is God” (Jn 1:1) “was made flesh and has dwelt among us” (Jn 1:14). The God who is invisible has become visible in Jesus Christ the Son.
I actually have a selfie with God who became visible. It is right in my photo gallery. Yes, you will distinctly see me standing beside the Blessed Sacrament.
Yes, we should all resign from thinking of God in our own terms, according to our images and likenesses.