A couple of days ago, after a minor tiff with a sister, I asked forgiveness saying, "Jesus is asking me for something new and I am fighting Him and you all the way." Fortunately our monastic way of life provides for a personal retreat day each month and my chosen day followed those words and preceded the Solemnity of the Ascension. It was a 'cooling off period', a time of silence and solitude in which to ponder that new thing being asked of me and what graced insight the eve of the feast might offer if I just listened. No difficulty at all in identifying in excruciating detail that new, very hard, "thing" Jesus was asking of me. I easily analyze and see the situation that causes my despair. But then come the questions. "Why? What could God possibly have in mind? Can any good come from this?
The answers came within the context of the Ascension. Jesus ascends to a higher realm, another world, to be in total communion with the Father and the Spirit. He returns to full expression of His divine life. Is this very trying time a call to join Him there in my contemplation? Is there an invitation here for me to readjust the focus of my eyes to somewhere above the solidity of the horizon line?
For a long time my contemplative focus has been the earthbound Jesus. I easily image sitting next to Jesus on a rocky ledge contemplating the plight of humankind and with Him calling down the blessing of God for this benighted people. I easily image the disappointed, rejected, frustrated, abandoned and suffering Jesus. I am easily present to Him in the Garden of Gethsemane or at the foot of the cross experiencing His fear, despair and final surrender.
Can my current circumstances and this great feast be directing me to raise my head, open my eyes, and refocus my vision in order to take in the divine nature of Jesus the Christ and participate with Him in the companionate, intimate, inter-active and productive life of the Holy Trinity in endless glory and majesty? Is this yet another call to peace, love and joy? Is this yet another invitation to glorious hope? The directions I recognize demand that I put aside any judgment of unworthiness or false humility and dare to go higher in my contemplative journey. Perhaps this is the new frontier which allows for no fear of flying.