Evangelize the culture with the new Word on Fire tote bag, depicting the 3 Paths to Holiness!
The front of the tote presents a graphic depiction of the 3 paths Bishop Barron describes as the journey towards Christ. The triptych was designed by Gabe Rauch.
PATH 1: “Find the Center”
The first of the paths to holiness Bishop Barron describes is that of “Finding the Center.” This is depicted in the left-side panel of the triptych. The panel features a rose window in the center with the architectural elements of a cathedral’s exterior framing the window. At the bottom of the panel are hands open in a prayerful pose of longing and offering. The prayerful reflection upon the symbolism of the rose window is an exercise in centering one’s spiritual life. Bishop Barron speaks often of the rose window of the Cathedral of Notre Dame as the symbol of the well-ordered soul.
In his own words:
"At the center of every rose window is a depiction of Christ (even when Mary seems to be the focus, she is carrying the Christ child on her lap), and then wheeling around him in lyrical and harmonious patterns are the hundreds of medallions, each depicting a saint or a scene from scripture. The message of the window is clear: When one’s life is centered on Christ, all the energies, aspirations, and powers of the soul fall into a beautiful and satisfying pattern. And by implication, whenever something other than Christ—money, sex, success, adulation—fills the center, the soul falls into disharmony. Jesus expressed this same idea when he said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and the rest will be given unto you” (Mt 6:33). When the divine is consciously acknowledged as the ground and organizing center of one’s existence, something like wholeness or holiness is the result. Don’t live your life on the rim of the circle, but rather at the center. Focus on that reliable, unchanging point where Christ resides."
PATH 2: “Realize you are a Sinner”
The second of the paths to holiness is that of “Realizing You are a Sinner.” This path begins once Christ is realized as the center of one’s life. This is the center panel of the triptych, depicting the hand of “the original sinner” reaching for the apple in the Garden of Eden. The serpent in the lower portion wraps around the wrist in debilitating temptation. Adam and Eve make up the sides framing the panel, the first individuals to be tempted, the first to succumb, and the first to recognize themselves as sinners in the light of God’s presence.
Bishop Barron describes:
"When we see our lives in the light of Christ, we see clearly the distance between ourselves and God. When we take a good look at Jesus Christ’s total obedience to the Father, we immediately become conscious of just how disobedient, damaged, confused, and willful we are. If the revelation stopped there, the Gospel would not be Good News. But the joyous truth is that God only brings our sins to light so that we can repent and he can forgive and heal us...But we mustn’t despair, for we have a savior. We cannot set the condition right (“who will deliver me from this body of death?”), but there is someone who can."
PATH 3: “Your Life is Not About You”
The third path to holiness is that of discovering that “Your Life Is Not About You.” This is depicted in the right-side panel of the triptych as the great narrative of the calling of the apostles (Matt. 4:18-22). He calls the fishermen Peter and Andrew, James and John, and the others, tells them to leave their nets and follow him as he will make them “fishers of men.” We see the hand of Christ reaching out for the hand of his disciple at the bottom of the panel. The right and left sides show the prophetic fruits of the apostles’ decision to follow Christ: in the light of the Resurrection, their empty nets are filled to overflowing (John 21:5-7). They have left behind their plans and dreams in order to follow the mission of Christ, and in so doing, they have become what they were meant to be.
In Bishop Barron’s words:
"In essence, we have come to know we are sinners in need of the grace of Christ in order to find salvation. So, we have turned to him and sought that healing. What does Jesus do? He heals us and then calls us to mission; to the realization that our lives, while truly his gift to us, are not about us but about him and his purposes. He calls us to leave our ego-driven existence and take our place in his vastly larger plan of love and redemption for the world. Only when we realize that our lives are situated in a context of a Life that stretches infinitely beyond them, only when we know that our wills are related to a Will that encompasses and surpasses the whole of the cosmos, are we ready to truly live."