In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another and said:
- “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
- the whole earth is full of his glory.”
The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”
Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: “Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I; send me!” (Isaiah 6:1-6).
The worship experience in this reading from Isaiah, suggests that God can be experienced. God can be identified while touching us without the use of a hand. Yet the symbols of the presence of God seem to transport and transform as the holiness of God becomes what is real, whole and good.
St. Benedict in chapter 19 of The Rule wrote, “We believe that the divine presence is everywhere and that in every place the eyes of the Lord are watching the good and the wicked (Prov. 15:3)“.
The presence of God invites us into a relationship with the holy. It is listening to the Holy Spirit speak to us through life; in the beauty of creation and the wonder of what is beyond our comprehension. In contemplative prayer, what is holy becomes not something that we reach, but it is about the Holy One reaching out and touching us. This relationship with the holy is not limited to our moments of prayer and devotion. It is to be acknowledged and lived into through the ordinary being transformed into what is extraordinary because we find God speaking to us there, asking us to listen.
May God continue to lead us into a deeper relationship with the holy.
Br. Anselm Philip King-Lowe, n/OSB