The light of Your holy face

You allowed me a wonderful blessing recently, Lord, which I hope to capture here in words as transcendent as the experience.

How do I explain the experience in a way that enlivens and fills with hope the hearts of others today? It reminded me of the experience of the apostles who witnessed Your transfiguration. Could You, did You visit me here in this time and this place in a such way that I was given even a glimpse of Your luminous face?

My prayers often include expressing the desire to see You face to face, the desire to be allowed to see Your beauty. A couple of weeks ago, I believe You blessed me with just such a glimpse.

I’ve prayed for years now before a beautiful crucifix, which I found on eBay. Its seller said he found it buried on his property in Hawaii. In addition to Your crucified body on the cross, the little statue has You, our mother, Mary, and Joseph in bas relief on each of the three sides of the base. It’s lovely. I have the base positioned so that Our Lady faces out, along with Your body on the cross above her.

In all, the piece is only about 10-12 inches tall. There is a lot of beautiful detail, as it turns out, but Your face is always in shadow in the dim light of candles, Your beauty and Your mother’s hidden or obscured.

On this day I was praying the Rosary toward the bottom of the afternoon. The sun was beginning its downward arch toward the west. As I was kneeling to say my final prayers, the sun’s rays suddenly shone through the window over my left shoulder. The light fell directly on Your face in a way I’d never experienced before. The detail in the sculpture of Your eyes and Your nose and Your mouth, even through Your beard, the parts in Your hair, and the nails in Your hands. I was startled and amazed.

I know it was just a statue, not You, and yet, there You were — not in Your full heavenly beauty, but beautiful; not in Your transcendent glory, but glorious; not fully revealed, but a vision of Your future revelation. And I was transfixed.

I had to lower my eyes and give thanks to You for this gift. The experience felt not unlike the stories of Your blessing of Moses as You appeared in the burning bush, or when You took James, John and Peter up on Mt. Tabor and revealed Your transfigured body to them.

Like our ecstatically overwhelmed Peter, who suggested he and the apostles build three tents, one for each of You, Moses and Elijah, I wanted to capture the moment, bottle it up somehow, to savor forever.

And Mary’s face was alight, too, the delicate beauty of her face revealed, as well. There she was, our Blessed Mother, obedient, humble, faithful at the foot of Your cross.

I know, I know. These faces are not Your’s or our Mother’s. A statue is just a statue. Yet, the artistic detail had never shown so purely and brilliantly. Not even when I first received it in the mail and inspected it closely, enamored from the beginning with its delicate lines. It really was as though You heard my desire to see You and gave me just a taste of Your heavenly images to come.

Thank You, Lord. Thank You.

The light lingered, as did I, kneeling still, until the sun moved along its celestial path and my little crucifix resorted again to its normality. Still a creation of this world, Your shimmering essence evanesced to the supernatural mists of another day.

I pray You call me again for this special time with You, Holy Lord, when we might share, even for a few moments, the glory of Your Holy name here on earth.

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