For Gregory of Nyssa, the cloud into which God calls Moses on Mount Sinai symbolises the unknown and unknowable place in which we meet God:
‘Leaving behind everything that is observed, not only what sense comprehends but also what the intelligence thinks it sees, Moses keeps on penetrating deeper until by the intelligence’s yearning for understanding he gains access to the invisible and incomprehensible, and there he sees God.’
In today’s Gospel, (Luke 24: 13-33) the women tell the apostles about the empty tomb and the angels they encountered there, but the men dismiss their testimony. Peter goes and checks the tomb for himself, but what he finds still does not persuade him of the women’s veracity.
The disciples set off for Emmaus. As they walk, Jesus joins them. When they fail to recognise him, he chides them for their folly. ‘Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.’ Still they do not recognise him. It is only he when breaks bread with them that they finally see. As soon as they do so he vanishes from their sight.
Gregory’s description of the ascent continues,
‘This is the true knowledge of what is sought; this is the seeing that consists in not seeing, because that which is sought transcends all knowledge, being separated on all sides by incomprehensibility as by a kind of darkness.’