And all of us, with faces unveiled, seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed…
–2 Cor 3:15
Today’s reading from St. Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians brims over with the imagery of light. Let us take a moment to immerse ourselves in this objective power and beauty of light, for it speaks to all people.
Many years ago, long before my conversion to faith, I was struck with a moment of beauty that has lingered in my memory. It was the thick of winter during my second year of medical school; I had just stepped off the bus, and I paused to gaze at the campus all around me, blanketed in fresh snow. The sun was shining so brilliantly that the snow was no longer mere snow, but a sparkling mosaic of gold. As I stood in quiet wonder, it seemed to me this was no ordinary sight. Divine artistry was surely at work. The expanse of snow had been transformed by sunlight into countless tiny glints of gold. Simple as it was, I have never forgotten that sight.
Shining with God’s Glory
Might not this image of sunlight and snow offer us a small but valuable glimpse into the experience of God’s glory? The earth, when covered in snow, becomes a blank canvas that reflects the sunlight falling upon it. So too, our hearts shine abundantly with God’s glory when we turn to Him. St. Paul tells us that “when anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” Thus with unveiled face and heart, we receive “the radiance… of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”
What does it mean to be veiled or unveiled before God?
Here, we may recall Moses who, when he descended from Mount Sinai, had to wear a veil before the people in order to shield them from the brightness of his face. Because their minds remained “impenetrable,” they could not look upon Moses who had been in the presence of God. For us, however, the veil has been taken away once we turn to Christ, and we behold in Him a glory imperishable; a glory that then transforms us into His image.
Not everyone, though, chooses to receive the gift. St. Paul knew this clearly, counseling the church in Corinth that though they spoke plainly, the gospel might remain “hidden” to those around them. Why was this? Quite simply, these others were so blinded by the things of this world that they failed to see the light of Christ, the “visible face of the invisible God.” Thus, even this absolute gift of the light of God may be refused.
Unveiled before God
However, we who have accepted Him must continue to unveil ourselves before His gaze, in order to be transformed. How does one do this? Perhaps one of the best ways to experience the power of His gaze is through Eucharistic Adoration. When we sit in quiet, loving contemplation before the Blessed Sacrament, the Real Presence of Our Lord, we allow ourselves to receive all He desires to give us. There is something about the stillness of an Adoration chapel that strips away the veils covering our heart, so
that we may come unveiled before the Lord. The more one sits before Him with an open heart, the more one receives into oneself His holy and precious light.
Today, friends, let us take time to reflect upon this call to unveil ourselves before the face of Jesus. Let us allow ourselves to be still, to strip away interior and exterior noise, and to come in all simplicity before the Lord. It is only then that we come to see “as in a mirror” the glory of God, and only then that we are transformed into Christ. Much like the snow transformed by sunlight into gold, we become the living image of Christ to the world.