To view the horizon is a wondrous thing. To see something greater than yourself, something magnificent and beautiful, makes the smallness of your person rise to a greater nobility. On a rainy day, one’s feelings become immersed into peaceful and composed brilliance of the mountains of grey stretching on forever, and hiding eternity behind their folds. The sound of the rain beating off leaf and stem, the continuous melody of descending drops, sparkling as they extinguish into a lake, fills the memory until it seems the only song one has ever known. To view the horizon is a wondrous thing, a thing that can silence time and make a moment as immortal as the sea of sky.
Jacinta sat on a grey stone, watching. Her clothes were soaking wet, her hair lay curling around her round face, her eyes blinked away the rain as she smiled into the sky. She, only eight years old, was in the midst of a greatness far beyond her. In the sky swirled doves with broad wings, circling a light like the sun. It was as if their own efforts caused a growing whirlpool to form in the sky, until the sky could no longer separate earth and the heavens. Deep pinks and brilliant yellows and angelic blues painted in the clouds a magical portrait of eternity personified. In Jacinta’s eyes, a mystery of God, before unknown, was slowly becoming real.
A tall man with a gentle smile stood next to Jacinta. He was wearing a one piece garment of grey. When he looked at her, a tear, or a raindrop, descended his cheek from his eyes. His hands were masculine and strong, but his facial expression was peaceful and soft. Jacinta looked at him; he was her angel, John, and he had been with her all her life. Looking back to the horizon, and wiping the rain from her hair, she said softly: “Every time I look around me, every time I pray to Jesus, it is as if I am seeing or hearing something that none have seen or heard before me. In this vast expanse I am nothing, and yet all that happens to me seems special. Can one know God more than another has known Him? Will life ever be anything less than a mystery to me? I feel I shall never grow old, and I shall never learn or do anything, when I glimpse heaven this way.”
John never spoke vocally, but Jacinta always heard his voice in her heart. There were no words, but only thoughts, and thus Jacinta had always understood his words to be inexplicably soft, without the coarseness of language. She understood him, and voiced what he said to herself, so that she may have the delight of hearing their melody in her ears. She let out a sigh as her oldest desire again sent pangs to her heart. In all her life, as long as she could remember, she had wanted nothing more than to spend a few moments with Jesus, God made Man, and to have a conversation with Him. Without the word she looked back to the horizon, and sat silently.
***With the regal billows of cloud watching over her, and the rain gently rolling down her face and beating upon her warm shawl, Jacinta grew neither cold nor tired nor hungry. Why should she? Not a moment passed as she sat there, for in the steady rhythm of the rain there could be no time. It was as if she was born then, and still eight years old, all at once. Her mind was not disturbed by thought, for one easily retains silence of the mind for one moment, and her life, her family, her friends did not exist in that moment of reality. That supernatural happiness and peace that arrives and quickly passes away in the turmoil of our minds remained with her, unchanged and uncorrupted. The world levitated, just in that moment. The clouds were close at hand, and Jesus was before her, His eyes level with her own.
Jacinta’s eyes looked into those of Jesus, and in that moment their mutual gaze communicated a love that Jacinta did not know she had. Nothing else mattered now, in the depths of His eyes, in His visible emotion, all other things were subdued and set aside. Jacinta left her rock and sat back on her heels, pressing deeply into the now dry grass. Here was Jesus, in the reality of His presence she did not even need to ask if this was a vision or a dream, for Jesus was here. Had He left her to do as she wished, there would have been no words, save those silently communicated between their two hearts. But Jesus knew what her desire had been, He knew that she had questions to ask. Jacinta’s dreamy perception became alive, and she spoke:
“I’ve been looking all my life… Sometimes I find you, and I think I know you, but then I am discouraged and confused again. You do not remain real and alive to me, therefore how could I ever have known you? Can I truly say that I love you, if I do not know you? How can I speak of you, when you are such a mystery to me? Sometimes it seems as if…”
Jesus put His finger to her lips, for He could see that the questions in her mind awakened memories that disturbed her peace. After all, she did not need to tell Him. He knew her heart, and it was precious to Him. He would have her understand how she should see Him, how she loved Him, and so much more. He would have her see His feelings for her.
“Dear Jacinta, I am a mystery to you, but you are no mystery to Me. Look into the sky for a moment, what do you see? Your heart is pure, so you see nothing but the mystery of Me in them. You see God, you see heaven. Look at me, what do you see? I am a man to you, but much more, I am love, life, and purpose to you. You see everything in Me. Now…”
In His hand Jesus held the precious Host, the Holy Eucharist. Jacinta’s eyes filled with tears as a great sensation radiated from the bread. Then her mind became blinded by a light whiter than she had ever known, as grace seeped into every part of her being from the Host in His hands. She opened her mouth and received Him, only to be surprised by a deep burning within her. She felt as if her entire person were consumed by painless fire. Her face ignited with a shining joy, and she glowed.
“You have never before received my gift of love to you, but now you shall receive it forever. I am Man, I am God… I am love, I am divinity, I am life, I am and have always been. Do you hear me in your mind? It is my voice. Do you feel me in your heart? That is my heart. Is their life within your soul? That is my life. You do not know yourself, but I know you. You do not know Me, but I know all things. You see, feel, and love me. Jacinta, you know Me. Whenever you see Me, whenever you glimpse the Mystery, you know Me. Your eyes shall open, and they shall not be closed. Your gaze shall be steady, and your view shall increase. You know Me, and the longer you look the more you shall see. You love Me, yes, you love Me with all you are and your love shall only grow. One day, there will be no Mystery of love for you. I will invite you into my Divine Heart where the Trinity resides.”
Jacinta was not astounded, nor overcome. What Jesus had said to her was perfect, and she knew in her heart that He spoke truth. They were there together a moment? An hour? A day? She hardly knew. But she was sitting on her rock again, looking at the horizon, and listening to John’s gentle lullaby. She slipped her bare feet into her sandals and walked home through the rain. Behind her stretch the clouds in their pool of delight, in their colored expanse, in their serene magnificence. The trees stood tall, the grasses bent slightly in the breeze, and time began to move again.
The more one comes to know God, the more he perceives what he does not know. As he looks into the sky, into the endless clouds, he sees everything at the same time as he sees nothing. He sees that there is an everything, and in the midst of his limited sight, he comes face to face with the entire mystery of life. At the moment that time ceases, and the melody of life is continuous, the mystery of time unfolds. One finds the mystery in the horizon, one finds the mystery in God, but only one who can look on in silence with an unassuming eye can grasp the truth that he can only come to know a little, while an ocean of those things he does not know stretches before his reach. Meanwhile the rain drops fall, and raise the ocean bit by bit.