In this Year of Grace we are invited by the Australian Bishops to make a pilgrimage into the inner sanctum of our being, a journey of faith keeping before our eyes an icon, or beacon, into the inner sanctum, the face of Jesus. And not only His face, as the human face of God, enfleshed, but the image of the true man of God, Jesus, the Icon which shows us the truth and reality of God.
To experience this charis (grace) and discover the divine truth of who God is in the person of Jesus, the first born of all creation and the first born from death (Col. 1:18), is to return to the source or the beginning. In order to discover the truth of the human person, we need to appreciate that the blueprint is in the likeness of Jesus, the prototype of all creation.
This journey of faith in a year or moment designated "grace" means to be still for a moment so as to contemplate Jesus, and as encouraged by Pope Benedict XVI, to see how everything truly starts afresh from Christ.
To mirror Jesus
From this source which is Christ we then need to move forward and strengthen the image of man which God had envisioned for the human being from before time began and before sin brought a forgetting of that image. For we too easily forget that we have been designed in His own beautiful image.
The principal task of all "life" is to mirror Jesus, so that for those who see "me" it might become possible to clearly see Jesus.
The words in Scripture, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus" (Jn. 12:21), reflect the soul's yearning to recognise Jesus made visible in the other and to seek Him in daily life and in every one who has "life" breathed into them.
Jesus can be found in the turmoil of life, in the sufferings of life, as well as in the moments of graced silence when words are not needed and the effect of true humanity is seen and felt, because Jesus opens up the panorama which clearly shows what the human being can be and is in the mind of God.
The vision shows the design and possibilities of grace as the divine bequest and as an irrepressible ecstasy which overflowed into human life and allowed us a share of His own inexpressible life. For life is the result of an overflow of the love of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and the home designed for that life is heaven with a vision of the face of divinity forever.
This year of Grace gives us the opportunity to live in such a way that the development of divine manners may be accomplished in order that we may not be found wanting like the unprepared virgins (Mt. 25:1-13).
Those manners, lost in the eons past, and a further loss to which we have contributed, may during these moments of grace be relearned so that at the end of life we stand before God not as strangers and homeless in what should be our natural homeland, paradise, but as sons and daughters who have been on a journey and are returning home to their awaiting Father who runs to greet and then prepares a banquet in celebration of the return.
This year of Grace opens the vista for a vision of glory to be seen as a signpost towards home.
Nothing of the effects of life's journey is lost or discarded but all is retained, though these effects are reorganised in a manner which grace has purified. Indeed preserved are all of life's imprints, triumphs, sorrows, which grace then ennobles.
Thus re-established, grace, together with all its gifts, leads to transfiguration and finally ascension. Life with its grace-filled purification is raised higher and immersed into the grace of God and ultimate union with Him.
Journey of grace
Jesus has opened the portals for us to enter. He leads the procession of those going home to the Father who engendered them. Now they are returning home with Him as the Shepherd who has not left one of those given to Him behind (Jn 17:12). He leads and they joyfully follow. "Come let us go towards the light of my father's love, I am your shepherd I will lead you, I will not leave one of you behind. Come follow me. Come be at home with me in the high places" (Hk 3:19).
When on this lofty ground, we recognise the Messiah: "We have found the Messiah" (Jn 1:42). What joy to finally encounter the Messiah who has silently accompanied and led us on the journey to the high places, to finally see his face (Mt. 17:1-9).
I have taken the journey of Grace with Jesus who has shared il camino (the pilgrimage) with me; the one who has been for me the prayer itself. I have been the pilgrim leaning on the prayer all the time bringing Him with me on the journey to the high places.
The Year of Grace is indeed a gracious and grace-filled moment.