I can think of a few off the top of my head. Just to get a peak of Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa or Michelangelo’s David, people will put themselves through all sorts of inconveniences, travel thousands of miles, wait in long lines in the early morning and in the rain, hoping that they will be able to push themselves through the crowd to get in the right position to have a good view. All of this for a short glimpse of something breathtaking.
I found myself in a somewhat similar situation not too long ago. I, along with anywhere up to two million others, made my way down to Center City Philadelphia for the Eagles victory parade. I navigated heavily overcrowded trains running on heavily modified routes and schedules, walked miles to find a spot that wasn’t totally jammed with people, pushed my way into the crowd to get as close to Broad Street as possible, and for what? To catch a quick glimpse of a silver trophy and the men who had brought it to Philadelphia. All this I only saw for a moment, and what little I did see, I was only able to view because a friend hoisted me onto his shoulders. As soon as they had come, they had gone. Immediately hundreds of thousands of people were looking to get out of there. It took hours to leave the city and get back to the seminary gates. I spent my entire day just for a brief look at a trophy! Was it worth it? Absolutely.
Believe it or not, this story relates to how I have experienced prayer. Much time is spent waiting, day in and day out. I often begin to feel as though I have little to show for the hours spent before the tabernacle. Yet one does catch glimpses. Every so often one might have a feeling of peace, or awe, or vocation, or certainty. God reveals himself in many ways, and often only for a moment. But in that moment, all the time which might have seemed wasted finds its fulfillment. As Catholics, we have the opportunity to kneel before the God who made us, to gaze upon the Word made flesh. We have a chance to catch a glimpse of the face of the God of Jacob—to feel his love and know his presence. He doesn’t reveal himself all at once, but he does reward perseverance. Before Peter, James, and John could see the Lord transfigured on Mount Tabor, they had to endure the climb. So, I just would like to ask: what would you do to glimpse the glory of the Lord? Will you climb his mountain?