49. The Hope of Glory
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
All praise and thanks be to the Father for the gift of the hope of glory. Through this gift the Holy Spirit opens all that we are and all that we do to the promise of eternal fulfillment beyond death.
In our prayer, in which we look to the glory of the ascended Christ and realize our union with him, we see only as “in a mirror, dimly”; the Spirit fills us with the hope of seeing him as he is, face to face. As we follow the way of conversion, and surrender to the grace which changes us from one degree of glory to another, our longing to be wholly transformed into his likeness deepens. Our own sufferings, and the pain we see in the world around us, sharpen our yearning for all creation “to be set free from its bondage to decay and . . . obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”
In our daily worship, hope stirs our desire to adore God for all eternity in the host of heaven. In the Eucharist we show forth Christ’s death until his coming again, and the gift we receive in Communion intensifies our expectation of that final coming. Inwardly we pray, “Come, Lord Jesus,” looking forward to that day when he will gather us for the eternal banquet that will unite all God’s people in the joy of the Kingdom.
This gift of hope is woven into the texture of our daily life as a community. Living, working and worshiping together as one body, calling nothing our own, we learn to anticipate the glory of the communion of saints, in which all joys are shared. The gift of hope is present whenever we minister to one another and to those whom God gives us to serve. Christ has promised that we shall bear fruit that lasts if we abide in him. Hope assures us that every act of witness, prayer and service that draws others into the life of divine love builds up the eternal city of God.
In this hope we, the brothers of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist, offer our whole life to the glory of God the Holy Trinity, thankful for the mercy that has drawn us into the divine life. Our hope lies not in what we have done for God, but in what God has done for us: “Every action by which his strength has been developed in us has been a deifying action, gathering us up into the participation of the divine nature, which is the blessed purpose of his Incarnation, the fruit of his mediatorial love, the epiphany of his triumphant power.”
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.
The good feeling that spontaneously arises when we help someone or see that what we have said or taught them or done has improved or enhanced their life is evidence of the fruit that lasts if we abide in Christ. The feeling affirms that what we have done has that eternal quality, unfettered by a particular time and place. It seems to me that the universality of our joy in serving others is evidence of Christ drawing the world unto Himself.