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Converse with the Eternal

Converse with the Eternal


11 May 2010

Brendan spoke to the brethren, and said, "O beloved fellow citizens," said he, "I am asking of you counsel and help, for my heart and thoughts are all fixed on one single desire, if it be God's desire, to seek the land which Barinthus told us of, the land which God has promised to the men who shall come after us."

- Anonymous, Vita Brendani (Irish, 12th century, from an earlier ms.)

I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven - whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows.

- 2 Corinthians 12.2

Brendan's story receives its impetus shortly after he is ordained to the ministry of the Word. He meets a man named Barinthus who tells him of having journeyed to the Promised Land of the Saints - the place where Christ rules in eternal light, and where there is neither time, nor sin, nor day, nor night, a place of splendors and joys abounding.

In Irish hagiography from this period the Promised Land of the Saints seems to stand for what Jonathan Edwards referred to as the "beatific vision," the vision and, to a certain extent, experience of the unseen world of eternal glory. Irish saints knew that Paul had glimpsed this, Peter had converse with it, and John was able to look into the unseen realm as well. Why not them? Why not us?

At any rate, they longed for it, and they disciplined their bodies so as to be able to focus their hearts and minds on the vision of Christ exalted, so that the reality of Jesus seated at the right hand of God became a daily experience of God's glory for them.

You cannot engage this Promised Land of the Saints, this beatific vision of Christ exalted in glory, without a disciplined life of prayer, meditation, singing, and shutting out the attractions and allure of the mundane world. But discipline your focus to hold in a vision all that Scripture teaches about Jesus exalted, the unseen realm of saints and angels, and the beauties of Christ's heavenly court, and visiting that Promised Land of the Saints can be your experience as well.

And there you will know fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore (Ps. 16.11). For that place is real, and it's all around us, and it's accessible, Paul insists, to those who know how to gaze with the eye of the heart, escaping this veil of materiality and engaging by faith the larger world which is, and is yet to come.

Don't you want to go there?

Today in ReVision: Neither/Nor, Both/And

This Week's Download: A Personal Rule - Engaging the unseen realm is a function of discipline; this little pamphlet can help.

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T. M. Moore, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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