Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying: “I pray not only for these, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.” John 17:20–21
“Lifting His eyes to Heaven…” What a great phrase!
As Jesus lifted His eyes to Heaven, He prayed to His Father in Heaven. This act, of lifting His eyes, reveals one unique aspect of the presence of the Father. It reveals that the Father is transcendent. “Transcendent” means that the Father is above all and beyond all. The world cannot contain Him. So, in speaking to the Father, Jesus begins with this gesture by which He acknowledges the transcendence of the Father.
But we must also note the imminence of the Father’s relationship with Jesus. By “imminence” we mean that the Father and Jesus are united as one. Their relationship is one that is profoundly personal in nature.
Though these two words, “imminence” and “transcendence,” may not be a part of our daily vocabulary, the concepts are worth understanding and reflecting upon. We should strive to be very familiar with their meanings and, more specifically, with the way that our relationship with the Holy Trinity shares in both.
Jesus’ prayer to the Father was that we who come to believe will share in the unity of the Father and the Son. We will share in God’s life and love. For us, this means we start by seeing the transcendence of God. We also lift our eyes to Heaven and strive to see the splendor, glory, greatness, power, and majesty of God. He is above all and beyond all.
As we accomplish this prayerful gaze to the Heavens, we must also strive to see this glorious and transcendent God descend into our souls, communicating to us, loving us, and establishing a deeply personal relationship with us. It’s amazing how these two aspects of God’s life go together so well even though, at first, they can appear to be complete opposites. They are not opposed but, rather, are wedded together and have the effect of drawing us into an intimate relationship with the Creator and sustainer of all things.
Reflect, today, upon the glorious and all-powerful God of the Universe descending into the secret depths of your soul. Acknowledge His presence, adore Him as He lives within you, speak to Him and love Him.
Lord, help me to always lift my eyes to Heaven in prayer. May I constantly turn to You and Your Father. In that prayerful gaze, may I also discover You alive in my soul where You are adored and loved. Jesus, I trust in You.