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Advent and the Vision of Christ

It's why we were created.

At this Advent season, I reflect on the fact that I am in my eighth decade of life (meaning I am in my late seventies). When one is in the winter season of one’s years, even if one actually lives into as many as a decade or more of actual earthy seasons, one realizes that one’s metaphorical season of winter will eventually come to an end. Advent reminds us that we all will die.

But what Advent also makes real is the pending reality of what the church calls the Beatific Vision. So much of the Christian enterprise is taken up with pursuing correct doctrine, proper liturgy, theologically “sound” music (pun intended), and personal piety that the main purpose of why God in Christ has called us to be his is often lost.

I am not saying that all of the items listed above aren’t important. They are. But they should not be given so much importance that we overlook the fact that our Father created us to have a complete, unmitigated, overwhelming, and joyous experience of his majesty and glory through a pure and perfect fellowship with him and with one another.

We can only experience the reigning Christ in this matter partially in this lifetime because we are not yet complete nor is our salvation complete. But our momentary and only fleeting experiences of God’s glory promise that a day will come when this experience will be ours in its fullest and most glorious, and also be unending.

This is why you and I have been created; we have been created to experience and to participate totally and eternally in God’s glory. We have been created to experience and to live eternally in unmitigated beauty.

Advent reminds us that the King of glory will come again, and when he does, we who are in Christ will be in resplendent, resurrected bodies that will no longer be plagued by infirmities, age, ailments, handicaps, and all of the various temptations and frailties of our current, corrupt flesh. Advent reminds us that we will, at some point not too far in the future, experience the all-consuming, all-encompassing, all-gratifying vision of the Holy and Wholly One Who is now enveloped in blinding light and Who reigns at His Father’s right hand.

Advent proclaims that the Beatific Vision, the visio beatifica, will soon be our vision. Advent thus reminds us that our vision should be this vision now.

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