In The Luminous Tattoos of God, he said that this topic required further explanations and he wanted to continue them. Two facts subsequent to that writing have confirmed me in this regard. The first has been reading full of amazement, because it was the same day I sent it for publication!, the graffiti that heads these reflections: “I’m not cold. The tattoos shelter me”. Signed: “Susy”.
And the second, also read -along with numerous emails that expressed full agreement with what I said in that article-, another that had seemed “nonsense”; I quote verbatim: “This is idiocy that partly justifies everything that is currently wanted to be seen as normal. Read Leviticus 19, 28”. I save the search for him: in that passage of Leviticus, God forbids getting tattoos.
I understand that this reader was upset that the practice of tattoos is seen today as something normal, and I respect his opinion; but I interpreted the article as a pure defense of tattoos, and that was not my intention at all because I do not pronounce myself on tastes or customs that do not offend God, and I think that such is the case with tattoos.
Other readers, in fact, have also seen it that way and have stood up to the one who disagreed. Isabel, for example, responds: “… I think she has not understood the meaning of this article. He does not advocate the tattoo, but the Love of God for each one of us.” Another reader clarifies the reason for the prohibition of Leviticus: “God gave this mandate to the Israelites because he did not want them to be like the neighboring peoples who carved the names or symbols of their gods on their skin (Deuteronomy 14: 2) ”. These three interventions, which appeared on a digital platform, in Spanish, in the United States, confirm that the topic “tattoos” is alive, and deserves new comments.
As that reader pointed out, it was my intention to highlight the Love of God. In short, I came to say that God, when creating each spiritual soul, imprints his image on the person’s entire being, as if sealing it with “a thirst for the infinite, a nostalgia for eternity, a search for beauty, a desire for love, a need for light and truth, which impels him towards the Absolute” (Benedict XVI, Hearing May 11, 2011).
It is like a spiritual imprint or “mark” of the Creator, which could be analogically compared to visible tattoos. The footprint, with the divine image, was disfigured in human nature by the original sin of Adam and Eve. And from there I went on to refer to Christian baptism, where the person recovers the original brightness of the first light, by virtue of the new birth in Christ, the eternal Son of God-Father.
Today I want to highlight this marvelous reality of being and knowing one’s daughters or sons of God, in a new way, thanks to the water of baptism and the words that accompany it. Following the analogy of tattoos, but taken to the supernatural plane, faith tells us that, at that moment, the baptized person is “signed” with the image of Christ, who died and rose for us. Saint Paul writes to the Christians of Galatia, and that is to say to those of the whole world: “You are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal 3:26-27).
It is not about an external, epidermal covering, but an interior conformation with Jesus, which deifies and divinizes the baptized. Benedict XVI, when baptizing a group of children, expressed it this way: “The water with which these children will be signed in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit will immerse them in the ‘fountain’ of life that is God himself. , which will make them his true children. (Homily Mass 13-I-2013). God-Father, seals us with the image of Christ, source of life, for the love of the Holy Spirit.
Addressing the parents of these children, he added: “By requesting Baptism for your children, you manifest and testify to your faith, the joy of being Christians and of belonging to the Church. It is the joy that springs from the awareness of having received a great gift from God, (…). It is the joy of recognizing ourselves as children of God, of discovering ourselves entrusted to his hands, of feeling welcomed in a loving embrace, just as a mother holds and embraces her child.
This joy, which guides the path of every Christian, is founded on a personal relationship with Jesus, a relationship that guides all human existence. It is understandable that Francis, already in April 2013, on a similar occasion of infant baptism, asked the participants if they remembered the date of their baptism, because it was as important as knowing the day each one of us came into the world. . And he has repeated it frequently, because “it is something beautiful” to “remember the date of our Baptism, because it is our rebirth, the moment in which we become children of God with Jesus.” (Angelus¸ Baptism of the Lord, 9-I-2022).
Today I want to highlight the reality of this invisible tattoo or “spiritual” and supernatural seal in Christ, which makes us children of God-Father, with a new and luminous affiliation, which fills us with security, peace and the warmth of our home. For this reason, I make fully my own, always from a vision of faith, that graffiti whose photo heads these lines.
As soon as I read it, I said to myself: I subscribe to it, it has hit the nail on the head! because, taken to the supernatural plane, I thought that a Christian, son of God in Christ, can affirm: “I am not cold. The tattoos shelter me”. It is clear, with what has been written so far, which and what kind of “tattoos” I am referring to.
I confess that as soon as I read the graffiti, I felt an enormous desire to have a chat with “Susy”. his signatory. He would have told her that I really loved it; that I would like to know what kind of tattoos and why they sheltered her. It would not be a shelter from the inclement weather, but rather, from the troubles and difficulties of life… But the motives and content of tattoos like this, capable of scaring away the cold and bitter moments of this life, would have to be very powerful. . I don’t know what those reasons were for Susy, and who or what she was thinking of when she wrote that memorable sentence.
I have met and dealt with a saint who was very clear about it: divine filiation in Christ was for him the source of total security, the shelter from troubles, the “no more”. I am talking about Saint Josemaría who, with his feet very close to the ground, he fought the battles of this life, “with the strength and freedom of the children of God”, as he liked to say.
The awareness of knowing that he was a son of God, “another Christ”, constituted the radical essence of his identity as a Christian, and the motivation of all his being and acting. “Do not forget: he who does not know he is a son of God, does not know the most intimate truth of him, and lacks in his performance the dominion and dominion proper to those who love the Lord above all things.” (Saint Josemaría, Friends of God, no. 26).
That this saint lived and vigorously transmitted that reality of divine filiation, shelter from the cold and existential sadness, is proven by the testimony of a young university student, who will be the protagonist of a point on the Camino: “Father,” said that big boy (what will there be? been his?), a good student at Central — I was thinking about what you told me… that I am a son of God! Son of God!”— I advised him, with a sure conscience, to encourage “arrogance” (The Way, 274).
The supernatural tattoo of divine filiation, illuminated by the light of the Spirit, shone for a few moments in that boy’s soul and his heart exulted with the joy of the children of God. May every Christian always keep the baptismal image of Christ clean in his soul. It is certain that, strengthened by the shelter of God’s love, the cold of this life will not win.
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