REFLECTION ON EXODUS 34:29-35
Radiance! We are just swimming in radiance. It fills us, and all we can look upon, and all that is. The Scriptures tell us, “His radiance fills all things.” Presence could be another word for it. His presence fills all things. How could it be otherwise? Only the veil of creation obscures it, but don’t we experience it when we encounter one another at the level of faith, when, in the stillness of our hearts, we open out to a God who is present in all that he has made. And this radiance is the person of Jesus: in him all things were made, as John says. Jesus, the radiance of the Father and the exact representation of his being.
The Old Testament is chock full of instances where The Presence shines out in visible form in some manifestation of creation. Think of the Burning Bush. Think of Moses in Exodus 34, with his face radiant with the inner reality of The Presence. The Shekinah that accompanied the Israelites through the desert. Think of the New Testament and Jesus, The Radiance who fills all things. In whom we live and move and have our being. Radiance itself!
I like to think that it is this Radiance which tugs at the hearts of us all and pulls us ever deeper into our center. Where, like Moses in his encounter with The Presence, we drop like rain into the Ocean of God so that the Ocean and the raindrop melt into one and we ourselves shine. Perhaps we can even say that The Radiance, Jesus, by his very presence in all that is, creates the longing which is the heart of our call and journey along the monastic way. It is why St. Bernard of Clairvaux would place desire as the driving force of our daily life, which gets us up in the morning and tucks us in at night. Jesus our Radiance.
So what does that mean in our ordinary, obscure and laborious day ahead? Maybe that it really isn’t ordinary if God fills it, nor obscure if a lived faith can lift the veil for even a second, nor laborious if love is the moving force and presence which keeps us and draws us. This Radiance, pulsing not only in every fiber of our being but in all that is, can light our way not as another created thing, but as Being Itself, surrounding us all and enfolding us in care and tenderness. Perhaps today we can live from this Radiance, and with humbleness and awe, recognize and serve Jesus in one another and share the Radiance who longs to cast his fire upon the earth.