Friday, December 22, 2006

The Eye of the Beholder

How . . . to explain the failure of the disciples to recognize the risen Christ on the road to Emmaus, or Mary Magdalen’s earlier mistaking him for the gardener outside the empty tomb — until he addressed her by name? There is no suggestion that our Lord was disguised or that he changed in appearance; the changes seem instead to take place internally, within the disciples themselves; in these instances epiphany is in the eye of the beholder. It is as though a kaleidoscope becomes a telescope; the beauty of fragmented confusion is given the instant clarity of a Van Eyck landscape of luminous wonder. But how to keep the mind’s eye or ear attuned to them — that is the daunting thought. We may bear more responsibility for revelation than we should like to imagine. Not every wise man saw the star; nor, presumably, did every shepherd hear the same celestial chorus over the hills of Bethelem.
— Charles Scribner III, The Shadow of God: A Journey through Memory, Art, and Faith, 2006, 98



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