In a few moments, when our attention shifts to the altar, we will sing, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts. Heaven and earth are full of your glory!”[i] God’s holy, holy, holiness is invisible, transcendent, infinitely beyond our capacity to apprehend. But then there is God’s glory. God’s glory teems through creation, from the tiniest of creatures to the greatness of the mountains, in color and scent, in size and texture, in harmony, in the whistling wind, and in the light of day and stars at night. Traces of God’s glory appear to us in beauty so magnificent. Mechtild of Magdeburg, the 13thcentury German mystic, said “[God’s] glory pours into my soul like sunlight against gold.” The Jesuit priest and poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, said of God’s glory:
“The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil…”[ii]
Jesus abounds in God’s glory: God’s face which could not be seen, voice which could not be heard, hands and heart which could not be touched, comes to us in human form – God the Son, whom we know as Jesus. Jesus’ wisdom and power, love and hope, kindness and courage. As St. Paul says, such is “the eternal weight of glory.”[iii] The word “glory,” God’s glory, repeats itself three times in this brief passage from the Gospel according to John, a Gospel which echoes with “glory.” John writes, “We have seen [Christ’s] glory, the glory as of a father’s only son.”[iv] Most astonishing we hear Jesus say that the glory he has received, Jesus has shared with us. This means that you are the glory of God. God’s glory is of your essence. You are the glory of God, God’s unique dwelling place, like in none other. And so our invitation in life is create a space within us where God’s glory can dwell, and from where God’s glory can swell. Create a space where God can be at home within you.
You might try claiming this refrain: “I am the glory of God.” Say it to yourself: “I am the glory of God.” Repeat it to yourself: “I am the glory God.” Respond with a “yes” to God, to teem and stream with God’s glory – the wonder we witness in all of creation and which we harbor within our own soul. Say “yes” to God. Let God’s glory flow through you like water streaming forth from a reservoir. You are the glory of God. Let it flow with great abundance. And if you find any resistance to beholding God’s glory within you, where you are withholding saying “yes” to what Jesus is intent on sharing with you and through you of God’s glory, there you are primed for a conversation with God. Let your resistance to glory be your prayer.
Saint Irenaeus, second century Bishop of Lyons, said, “The glory of God is a human being fully alive.” So we live our lives teeming with Jesus’ shared gift of glory, that in all things God may be glorified.
[i] The Sanctus, which comes from Isaiah 6:3.
[ii] “God’s Grandeur,” Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889).
[iii] 2 Corinthians 4:17.
[iv] John 1:14.
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