Sometimes in life there are moments of inexplicable beauty, of heart-rending joy. When these moments come a small doubt arises within the soul, “if I were to fully open up to this would I be lost for all time?” This power of this joy threatens to tear your soul in two it is so magnificent. It is a joy you feel way down deep, right there at the ground of your being and it floods the body with a rush of endorphins. It is well nigh the experience of standing atop the summit of half-dome, right there at the edge, and sensing for one brief moment that there is nothing preventing you from being completely absorbed into the transcendent heights from where you are perched, it is almost frightening how powerful this joy is. You become so absorbed in the beauty which you perceive that you fear being completely lost to it. It is a joy so completely compelling that you collapse to your knees in utter reverence for you-know-not-what. Here within the grasp of joy you forget yourself, you lose all that you are in that beauty which is beholden to you, and it is therein that you are found.
This joy is no petty porneia, no silly neon emblazoned appeal to your baser sensibilities, it is rather not of this world. It is not a voyeur’s attempt at seizing and controlling the beauty it desires, no this joy seizes you with omnipotent might and directs your heart as the winds direct the sands of the Sahara. It is no cheap print of a masterpiece, robbed of its original artistry by pop culture, but is the real thing, unfettered and staggering in its presentation of itself. It is not a flippant and wasted one-night stand, but is all the magic of the first night of marriage mixed with all the fidelity of a weather-worn fifty years.
The kind of joy which I speak is what mankind was made for. It is what the subscriber to Playboy, the auto-erotic voyeur, the pop-culture thief, and the prostitutes employer all grasp for in vain. It is not something that is far off that one needs cross a sea, or a galaxy for that matter, to find, but stares us in the eye each day and brushes against our cheek each warm evening, yet it is nearer than that. It is in us all.
The tragedy of all tragedies is that though it is alive to us, most are dead to it, and ultimately will die to it. Sometimes, as from a dark and forgotten fire, it erupts into flame in even the most deadened of souls. Its voice calls in the dark “wake up O sleeper and rise from the dead!” Its joy courses through the pavilions of the soul, only to leave the spirit of the departed groping as if it could hold on to the wind. This joy is its own master, and leaves traces of itself outside the soul, and within it. When a deadened soul is but for one brief moment illumined with its light it transcends itself, only to collapse like a dying star. These moments are for the sleeper a sign, and it points to what is beyond itself, outside of itself, and inexhaustibly good, true, and beautiful. The soul that heeds not these flickers is to be greatly pitied, and whose condemnation is just.
Yet to those who are aroused from their nightmare are carried upon it as the wings of the great eagles. It gives flight to their wearied souls, and carries them to heights ever unknown and ever longed for. It carries them to the source of light and life ere they are ever renewed and ever reborn in its beauty. This Flame Imperishable which is hidden deep in the mines of the mind of the Living One, and is that from which He made us. It is Divine and Holy Wisdom, the Word from which all life issues forth, and the Life which though it tasted death shall ever live. Give heed to Him all you who long for joy, for it is He to whom you must be lost, and it is in His transcendent joy that you shall be found.