We continue the reflection on opening oneself to a new “way of seeing” by considering what Father Barron has to say about the way in which we see God. Beginning with the great Catholic “both/and” paradox, Father considers the God who cannot be grasped nor hidden from, who exists simultaneously as supremely serene and supremely creative, who is both utterly self-sufficient and entirely faithful, and who embodies definitive Lordliness and lowliness concurrently. This beautiful paradoxical language amounts to an understanding “around” the God who is non-competitive, all-encompassing, trinitarian love, a reality that is often inadequately appreciated because of humanity’s tendency to view itself as being at odds with the Divine. Father Barron clarifies by noting that to change the way we see God, to really understand what it means to say that God is love, we must first change the way that we “name” God:
“It is the rock, the storm, the lion, the flood, the desert. It is the bear, the leviathan, the whirlwind, the barely audible whisper, the voice, the silence, the city strongly compact, the mother with abundant breasts, the tearful father. There is a mysterious reality, at the borders and at the heart of our ordinary experience, suffusing and yet transcending all that surrounds us, a reality that can be evoked with a thousand names and that cannot, finally, be caught by any name. This mystery judges us and energizes us, frightens us and gives us incomparable peace, overwhelms us and captivates us. Like Melville’s white whale, it surges up from the depths and sinks our ships, and like Jonah’s whale it draws us into itself and gives us protection. It is as high as the heavens are above the earth and as low as the caverns of Hell; it is as dark as a pillar of cloud and as luminous as a pillar of fire; it is the burning bush that is not consumed, and it is water from the rock. It is the sheer act of Being itself, and it is nothing at all; it is what is hardest to see, and it is what is most obvious.”
“Every great mystic, prophet, or theologian knows that this mystery cannot be spoken of adequately, that, like a wily fish, it escapes all the nets of thought and language that we set for it. Thomas Aquinas—the most talkative theologian of the tradition—simply stopped talking at the end of his life, convinced that all he had said of the mystery amounted to so much straw. And yet, as my catalogue of traditional names suggest, we talk, almost compulsively and manically, of this power, pushed by some inner drive of the spirit. We cannot speak of God, and we must speak of God. It is as simple and as strange as that… God must be spoken of because we are alienated from the Mystery that along can give us life, and we know it; God must be engaged because we are wired for the Mystery, and nothing short of the Mystery can give us peace… All of this suggests, of course, that the naming of God is a vitally important spiritual exercise and not merely a game of the mind.” 
“We have already seen…what the original sin of Adam and Eve produced in us, namely the tendency to place ourselves at the center of the universe, to render ourselves unconditioned and absolute. This false move of the spirit, in its turn, resulted in the objectification of all things and people around us: the god-ego threatened by rivals on all sides.”
“It is my conviction that the God-talk of our tradition (though tainted by sin) is a consistent and largely successful attempt to undo the effects of the Fall by orienting us to the God who is really God and not the fantasy of the sinful soul. The theology, art, literature, architecture, drama of the Christian heritage constitute an attempt to name God, not as the pathetic rival to the ego’s phantom unconditionality, but as the power in which the fearful ego can find itself through surrender. God is that reality which, thankfully, can neither be manipulated nor avoided, neither controlled nor hidden from, and, as such, God is that which effectively invites the ego to give up its fearful and finally illusory place at the center of the universe. In naming God in the wildly diverse ways that it does, the Christian tradition attempts to doctor the soul, to frustrate the myriad of moves of the grasping or self-concealing ego.”
In later posts, we will follow Father Barron’s explanation of the particular “both/and” names of God.
 Robert Barron, And Now I See…A Theology of Transformation (New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1998), 92.