Thursday, January 13, 2022

Seeing the light in all its purity and brightness.

When, therefore, our Lord Jesus Christ shall come, and, as the apostle says, bring to light things hidden in darkness and make plain the secrets of the heart, so that everyone may receive his condemnation from God, then lamps will no longer be needed. When that day is at hand, the prophet will not be read to us, the book of the Apostle will not be opened, we shall not require the testimony of John, we shall have no need of the Gospel itself. Therefore all Scriptures will be taken away from us, those Scriptures which in the night of this world burned like lamps so that we might not remain in darkness.

When all these things are removed as no longer necessary for our illumination, and when the men of God by whom they were ministered to us shall themselves together with us behold the dear and true light without such aids, what shall we see? With what shall our minds be nourished? What will give joy to our gaze? ...

You will come to the fountain, with whose dew you have already been sprinkled. Instead of the ray of light which was sent through slanting and winding ways into the heart of your darkness, you will see the light itself in all its purity and brightness. It is to see and experience this light that you are now being cleansed.
St. Augustine, treatise on John

When I copied this into my quote journal from the daily reading in the Liturgy of the Hours, my imagination was caught by all the aids we have on earth to help us get a glimpse of God. The idea of not needing them anymore was astounding, logical, and something that made the second coming seem a little more real, a little more like something I can grasp.

Today I read it with slightly different focus because my brother-in-law's funeral is this afternoon. It comes after a long battle with cancer so his death wasn't a shock. And yet since I've heard the news his voice occasionally sounds in my ears, with that kindly smile and flash of blue eyes. He's ahead of me on the journey. I like to think of his astonishment and joy at beholding the ultimate reality of Jesus, who I know he loves.

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