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The Mirror and the Veil

"Do not weep; for she is not dead but sleeping" (Lk 8:52).

There cannot ever be evil unless there is first Love. The soul inclines toward death, but we must never lose sight of the fact that in a state of grace, this lifting of the mortal veil is actually the lifting of the bridal veil by our adorable Christ! “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face” (1 Cor 13:12). James reminds us to “Be poets of logos, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. For hearers are like those who look at themselves in a mirror and immediately forget what they were like” (Jms 1:22-23). Hölderlin even adds that “our thanks Know God.”

This veil, this mirror, is the mortal Earth, where in most cases, only natural things call us— when we commit mortal sin, “our brother’s blood [cries] out from the ground” (Gen 4:10), and when we commit sins of omission “the stones would shout out” (Lk 19:40) in thanksgiving instead!

It is not hard to be risen from sleep; it is hardest to wake yourself up when you are half-asleep, in tepid stupor. “For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep” (1 Thess 4:14).

And true, on this Earth, “I slept, but my heart was awake” (Sng 5:2). But “Listen! my beloved is knocking… [He] thrust his hand into the opening, and my inmost being yearned for him” (Sng 5:4).

Do we see this hand of GOD in our sleep? In the trite and mundane of our daily lives? If we notice the little things about our loves on Earth, the little sacrifices and signs they make for us, the good effect they have on us and others, how much more do we notice the flirtations of our precious Bride, the silly notes and in-jokes and eye-contacts across wide spaces he sends us? Do we deny His advances? Why, if we truly desire Him? How often do we recognize His Form, through the dark and distance? If our world starts to become or revolve around our Earthly loves, how much more do we see them as yet another gift from The Lover of our soul? If we cannot help but talk about our Earthly loves, cannot keep them a secret from everyone we meet, how much more do we find ourselves overflowing with words to describe the WORD?

If the mirror and the veil are the Earth, and James is confident that we have all heard logos, what does that imply about the possibility of seeing Christ in things? “Before I was aware, my soul set me in a chariot beside my prince” (Sng 6:12).

John Donne once wrote to Christ that “I, Except you enthrall me, never shall be free, nor ever chaste, except You ravish me.” In the same vein Plotinus also said that “The One gives what he does not have”— that is, all is gift. Everything you see is something given from the Father; and can’t we imagine that He and The Son sit back and wonder at what we in our unique vision can do with our “talents” (Mt 25:13-40)?

So when we try to take control of our lives, or when we do not love all people, is this not disdain for Our Father’s gifts? What greater offense can we cause? What greater gift did we deserve?

But “If [we] then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts..., how much more will [Our] Father in heaven give good things” (Mt 7:11)?

We must take the Father at his WORD; and Christ whispers to us that “you are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you” (Sng 4:7).

O steeple, do you ring for my being lost, or being found? Have I been buried in the Earth, or have I been born afresh from its womb? Have I gone to sleep, or does my heart only now begin to feel its first stirrings?

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