‘The Lord our God spake unto us in Horeb, saying, ye have dwelt long enough in this mount: turn you, and take your journey…’(Deuteronomy 1,6-7) This is a blueprint for mission. This proclaiming of Jesus is like the systole – diastole rhythm of the heart when pumping blood. We are recharged in the Eucharistic presence. And then, we become emissionaries of the Eucharistic table.
‘Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them.’ Before this arrival, the life in the desert is also an important part of our missionary plan. The hardships the Israelites experienced in it are a reminder of the task that we must honestly face reality. Today, the desert becomes the symbol of real efforts in preparing the above journey. The desert is the place where our sense of the ‘Real’ is being born. Here we learn to perceive the reality of grace and God’s Glory. Thus, the desert, as the symbol of the real, is the ‘antidote’ to the constraints of the cyber-realities, which seem to be our new place of the Biblical ‘exile of the Jews’. We really should take seriously how a ‘mediated reality’, in which we choose to live, affects our sense of the reality of God.
‘…The Lord your God hath multiplied you, and, behold, ye are this day as the stars of heaven for multitude.’ This is genuine diversity: the beauty of God and the beauty of the fellowship he creates! I just wonder to what extent the flickering multiplicity offered by our screen-worlds are genuine options. Is a life unmarked by prayer a real life? Are we gravitating to the real – or merely to our death?
The Gospels can be in terms of this yearning for the real. ‘Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom of Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me’. This is the power to regain our real life. When life is defined again as the reality of love.
‘And when Jesus had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.’ Again, this vertical, which cuts across human history, is our sole real direction. His return to the Father connects us with the ‘Real’, the house of Love. Are falling apart, uncontrollable pluralities (this is wounded human history), can be hold together again in view of this Centre of centres.
What is most strikingly beautiful, however, is this sentence: ‘And they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.’ This is the ‘upper room of understanding’, the upper room of the Eucharist. The birthplace of the real.
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..