In light of today’s solemnities, and the desire to keep our eyes on the Christ, I’ll refrain from talking too much history and delving into the characteristics of the Friends of God. Instead, I cite one of them for you (in my own paraphrase). Here this Flemish mystic from the 14th century writes about the Transfiguration of Christ. He makes no overt connections to Good Friday or the Crucifixion. That is my doing. Mount Tabor and the Mount of the Cross cannot be too far apart.
Our Orthodox brothers and sisters teach us that, on the Mount of Transfiguration, it was not Christ who was transfigured, but the eyes of the disciples that were opened. They were gifted to see Christ as he really was, in his glory. To most, most of the time, it was hidden, cloaked in the humble garb of a first-century itinerant rabbi. To many today it is still cloaked.
But there, on Golgotha, we have another Transfiguration, if we have eyes to see it. Jesus revealed in all his glory. Victorious, triumphant, King.
And so John of Ruysbroeck writes:
When we have climbed with Jesus on to the mountain of greatest awareness; and if, then, we follow Him with a single and simple gaze, with joy and with deep longing, we will feel the fierce heat of the Spirit, burning and melting us into the Unity of God. For when we are one with the Son, and lovingly turn ourselves back to our true identity, our Beginning, then we hear the voice of the Father, touching us and drawing us inward; for He says to all His chosen in His Eternal Word: This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased. For you should know that the Father with the Son, and the Son with the Father, have joined in conspiring together that the Son should take upon Himself our humanity, and die, and bring back all the chosen to their Beginning.
And so, in these holy, silent, luminous hours between tonight and the riotous joy of Easter morning, may you have eyes to see this glorious Christ who surveys the depths of hell and horror as Lord. “You have brought your worst,” he says, “now see what I will do.”
Photo courtesy Cornelia Kopp, Flickr C.C.