April 21, 2011

The Glory of the Lord

Only those who enter into his prayer with their whole lives really come to understand the heart of Christ.  From his heart, an endless sea of the deepest and most noble of human desires flow with divine power.  The most intimate of these was offered the night before he died, “Father, I will that where I am, those whom you have given me may be there with me so that they might contemplate the glory you have given me from before the creation of the world.”

This prayer of Jesus, uttered with full knowledge of his impending passion and death, assumes we understand what glory the Father gives to Jesus.  Glory is the radiance of personal greatness, and true glory is almost always hidden in this world.   The one who sees someone in his glory really knows the truth about that person.   To see the glory of the Lord is to know who he is.  His eternal glory is revealed on the Cross - where God has died that men might live.

Entering into the events of Christ's passion grounds prayer in this eternal glory.  Without entering into Christ’s passion and death, prayer remains merely a nice thought, a polite thing to say.   To really learn to desire what God desires, to really know what to ask for and how, this can only be learned when we follow Christ crucified from Gethsemane to Calvary. For the Christian as it was for Christ, our “if it is your will let this cup pass” must become “into your hand I commend my spirit.”

The threshold into the deepest mysteries of our humanity is always close to us: persevering in kindness in the face of hatred, suffering for righteousness sake, forgiving and seeking forgiveness from one's enemies, making all kinds of renunciation, accepting humiliation and enduring even what seems to be abandonment by God.   Such are the things of real love.  Not only do they test us, but even more, these humble actions attract God and make of our prayers something beautiful in His eyes.  This is because such things make our prayer a participation in the glory of the Lord.