Tuesday, November 09, 2010

In Right Relationship With Glory

Today at Mass, I was reminded of this quote from Pope John Paul II:
Man must reconcile himself to his natural greatness.... he must not forget that he is a person.

At one point in my life, this would have shocked me, scandalized me even, to a degree. "Natural greatness" just seemed too deep a contrast to my understanding of sin and its effect on the soul.

But today's homily, on the occasion of the feast of St. John Lateran, focused on the glory of God coming to rest on this earth (Ezekiel 47) and then, in particular, in the person of Jesus Christ in the miracle of the Incarnation. Fr. David spoke of a modern painting of Mary at the moment of the Incarnation, with her abdomen surrounded in an orb of light which she embraced, kneeling, awestruck and humble.

I was struck by this realization because everything about the Incarnation really stops me in my tracks and makes me catch my breath. The Incarnation has been the theme of my journey with the Lord for the last 19 years. It seems that I have come to be able to accept finding the glory of God revealed through another human person. But what struck me today is the awkwardness I have at accepting the glory of God revealed through myself to others. This, I believe, is the key to humility and the antidote to pride: to know that the source my good is the Lord, to really and truly acknowledge this, and then live in right relationship with this fact. To the extent that I mistake the glory of God for my own efforts, or vice versa, I am not in right relationship with this fact.

And this too is a work of God's grace. But Mary shows us the pattern for us: to look intently for and at the glory of God, to be lost in adoration, praise, and worship as we gaze deeply into the reality before us, including the work of grace within ourselves, as one aspect of God's vast design.

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