Yesterday we prayed the Transfiguration of Our Lord and I talked about those glorious moments when we are close to God.
But the Transfiguration, in all of the Gospels that relate it, is followed by the descent down the mountain. And Moses descends from Mt. Sinai to find idolatry and chaos (Ex. 32). Likewise Our Lord comes down to find a kind of ineffectual lack of faith (Mat. 17:16). This descent goes even deeper, for following upon the glorious Transfiguration is the Passion. "It follows hard upon," as Horatio might say.
And after every glorious transfiguration moment for me, there has followed "hard upon" a hard landing, a difficult descent. I wrote yesterday of how these moments of bliss and joy would come during visits to EWTN or Chesterton Society conferences or during performances - and then I'd have to come home and deal with bills and hassles and working all day long in my basement office, which is sometimes rather stuffy and dark.
And then I'd get cynical.
"What was I thinking at that Conference or at that Network?" I would say to myself. "This is real life. That was just the rarified air of an illusion. Real life is this, not that."
But I had it exactly backwards.
I now see that, on the contrary, the rarified air at the top of the mountain is a sign that you are closer to reality, closer to God, to the source of all that's Real. The stuffy air in the damp dark basement is what lulls us into an illusion - the illusion that drudgery and frustration is more real than joy. But it's not. Joy is our destination; joy is eternal; joy is the shining face of God.
Let us pray for a way to see beyond the thickness of the dank air that surrounds us. Let us pray for a way to see the brilliant face of Jesus, and that our own faces may continue shining as Moses did when he came down the mountain (Ex. 34:29), even when we make our own descent.
And let us pray ...
To you, Immaculate Heart of Mary, we consecrate ourselves – our hearts, minds, wills and lives and all those works we undertake so they may be for the glory of God, for the sake of the Gospel and the salvation of souls. Holy Mother, our Queen and our Joy, give to our hearts the dimensions of yours and form us in the image of your beloved Son.