Weekly Reflection - 2/2/2022
St. Mary's Reflection: Natalie Hala, Liturgist and Verger
“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then we see face to face. Now I know in part, then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.”
God has extended an open invitation to us with the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope on Christmas Day and its unfolding in space two days after The Epiphany. An infrared telescope with a 6.5-meter primary mirror, The Webb, will study multiple phases in the history of our universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang to the evolution of our own solar system. We are about to add another chapter in space exploration that is poised to extend beyond feats of technology and engineering to reveal qualities of the Divine.
Our ongoing cosmic dance with God and encounter with the Christ mystery started billions of years ago and remains on a path of steady and increasingly intimate revelation of Divine Love. It is appropriate that this space odyssey is occurring during the Epiphany season, a season, by definition, that vibrates with the potential of “aha” moments—a sudden insight or intuitive understanding. Franciscan Pierre Teilhard de Chardin viewed Christianity “as the most realistic and cosmic of faiths” and cautioned that if this duality isn’t internalized then “nothing has been understood of Christianity’s mysteries.” Quaker mystic Isaac Pennington says it this way: “There is a great difference between comprehending the knowledge of things and tasting the hidden life of them.” “Full tasting” is what true consciousness is all about, and it just may be what St. Paul is alluding to when he concludes his insightful teaching on love.
As we carry on through the pandemic, we need the fruits of the Epiphany season more than ever. We are living in a world where fear and cynicism continue to run high and where the continued disruption to our natural rhythms of life leave our souls a tad weary. Variant forms of suspicion, pessimism and befuddled inertia have become formidable and convenient self-defenses against virus fatigue and political vitriol. We hunger for reassuring experiences of awe and wonder that we can grasp and internalize that reach beyond our human limitations.
Epiphanytide offers us a season to embrace the dynamic, creative interplay of the past and present cosmos that can shine through the reflective image of our human form. Like a beacon or the Webb mirror, our human finitude has the ability to manifest and transmit light, that is, “magnify the Lord.” We all possess the inner ability to use “full tasting” consciousness to become, in essence, light stations. Are you ready to take up your post in this cosmic dance of giving-and-receiving? If so, then you are on the path of not being merely a bystander, but a transformer of life forces and an agent of love illuminated by the inherent Epiphany that dwells within each of us.