A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.
And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.
From the moment of our race’s fall we have been in hiding. Fig leaves and pointing fingers seem to work in a pinch, filthy rags and good deeds a seemingly preferable distraction. Whatever might avert the burning gaze of the divine has a crafty if serperntine quality about it.
Truth be told, the sun may be just too hot for us to bear, and shadows make for cooler climes. But long enough in the shade and the day gets hard on the eyes. Stumbling around in caves for awhile can start to feel like home.
God is love right through, but such affection is penetrating in its purity. The moon is far enough away to reflect the sun decently enough, but any closer and it might melt in its heat, the alternate faces of both fury and delight.
A human heart that strays from God becomes rigid and dull, like a stone buried deep in the ground and away from the light. Every moment left to darkness encrusts layer upon layer of diffusion, a lusterless rock unremarkable in its banality.
In the garden of our beginnings Eve found a hiding place in her sin which turned into a bunker for her children. God called light into being and it flashed out to fill and define creation. In our world the sun runs its course like a champion, his all-seeing glare inescapable. But where its rays and its brightness signify the glory of God, and when we were meant to be open in our innocence to his all-consuming love, the transgression closed tight the eyes, the covering of vines itself its own ironic denuding.
But lost in depths and shadows the light may still peek through, especially in the darkest places. An unremarkable maiden might seem ill-suited to be the mother of a new creation, but perhaps rustic girls are better at killing snakes.
Mary did not become the Theotokos because of her beauty, but rather because of God’s good looks. We are all smudgy windows, but saints get used to Windex. Love can turn the hardest rocks translucent, until our lives are consumed by the radiating light of God’s grace; someday all of our dense and dull colors might be re-purposed as stained glass.
Jesus comes as the light of life deep into the darkness. On the mountain of transfiguration humanity in Christ comes bare before God, its hiding left behind on the ground below. Here the unrelenting heat of divine love finds a willing medium, and for the first time the curtains that divide heaven and earth peel back for a moment. The eternal and ineffable communion of the Father and the Son is blinding, the lines between the human and the divine nearly obliterated but for their insoluble union in God himself.
Here we find that love in its essence is transparent. The Father gives of himself so completely to the Son that the Son is not simply a mirror, but also a window. The interpenetration of love in its unending diffusion is at the same time the source of its brilliance. In Jesus the human nature is not merely along for the ride- an accoutrement of flesh and bone- but becomes the very form of God’s self-revelation to creation, the raison d’être of the whole shebang.
In the end we are meant to be transparent. The adjustments to our opacity ebb and flow relative to our openness to God’s love. The expanse of God’s love doesn’t just reflect, but it penetrates, as the rays of the sun search out even the hidden places.
When we allow the light of God’s love to clothe us and surround us and fill us, we enter into the Trinitarian communion which is the entire purpose of our being. As we cannot contemplate Mary without being led to her Son, so in this fellowship our lives become a window to view the inexpressible beauty and wonder of God.
Here lesser lights pale next to the source of the radiance, and we are immersed in the passion and fury, the joy and the delight of God himself.