In touring some underground caverns recently, the cave guide said that the exquisite formations all around us took tens of millions of years to form from billions of acidic water droplets which had entrained trillions of tiny particles of materials. Conditions above and beneath the surface had to be precisely correct, and changes in and on the earth had to occur in an exact order over millions of millennia so that the water could seep through hundreds of feet of stone to form natural works of art, as if made by some infinitely patient expert sculptor.
No two formations were identical, each was unique, each with its own beauty-each a silent witness proclaiming “the whole earth is full of His glory.” (Is. 6:3).
With all their intricate handiwork, with all their ability to present God’s glory, the wondrous cave formations were only silent immobile revelations of God. Each person on the tour observing these beautiful formations could provide a revelation of the Creator which no cave structure and no other merely physical creation can reveal. And the potential for each personal revelation of the divine is as different as each person.
God has made each person unique from the moment of conception. There was only one Mother Teresa and never will be another. No scientist or cosmologist will ever think Albert Einstein’s thoughts. No composer will ever have the imagination of W. Amadeus Mozart. And there will never be another person like each and every individual person God has made. There never has been and never will be again a person like you or like me.
Human DNA alone is a testament to the uniqueness of each person. If the information in a single human DNA sequence was printed, it would fill two hundred 1,000 page New York city phone directories. If unwound and tied together, the strands of DNA in one human cell would stretch almost six feet, but would be only 50 trillionths of an inch wide. If DNA in a person’s cells were unwrapped and fixed end-to-end, it would reach the moon 6000 times.
But a person’s DNA is only a small part of the whole story of each unique individual. What you have done throughout your life, the decisions you have made, what has happened to you and what others have done to and for you, your joys, your hopes, your dreams, and all your memories are part of who you are.
What this means is that God made you you and only you you. And this unique you, as made by God, is part of God’s revelation of Himself. But simply existing like a cavern’s stalactite is not the end of your role in revealing the divine. In making you special and unique, God has chosen you to reveal Him to others you encounter – as His instrument, as His messenger to shine His light, to show His life, to reveal Him to others, and to illuminate the way to Him.
The personal revelation of God that only you can provide does not happen simply by God willing it so. This cannot occur unless you, made in His likeness with a free will, choose to accept the mission. You willfully choose to act in His image – your will in harmony with His, your will aligned with His, not yours but His “will be done.” Each of your actions done in accord with His will reveals Him to everyone you encounter every day.
In theory it is ideally “Thy will be done,” while in practice day-to-day His will is done when your actions are those of the beatitudes, those of the sermon on the mount, those of loving your neighbor as yourself. This includes all your other-directed acts of virtue – like acts of generosity, honesty, justice, humility, patience, charity, mercy, forgiveness, and love. This can be as simple as a kind word, a smile, a courtesy, or an act of obedience.
Appreciation of your role in divine revelation will lead to the recognition of each other person as a special unique creation of God, also made in His image, and as one of His instruments in revealing Himself to you. In the words of C.S. Lewis, from The Weight of Glory, “you have never talked to a mere mortal,” and each immortal person you live with and deal with daily presents God to you, revealed to you because He wants you to know Him and to seek Him.
We read in John’s Gospel that, although no one has seen the Father, Jesus reveals the Father to us (Jn. 1:18). Since Jesus has ascended into Heaven and no longer walks among us, He has given each of us this mission of revelation. He said they will know Christians by love, and, fulfilling our mission, each of our human acts of love will reveal a glimpse of divinity.