Drawing upon the teaching of seven Spiritual Docto... Read more
In Hard Times, Remember Your Blessings
"Transfiguration." What a strange word.
In the life of our Lord, of course, it refers to when He led three apostles up "a high mountain" and proceeded to reveal exactly who and what He was to them. The glory of God shone forth from Him, and He was attended by Moses and Elijah, the Lawgiver and one of the chief Prophets. The Word of God stood in all His glory (see Mt 17:1-13; Lk 9:28-36).
But that day was not really about glory. Rather, it was a preparation for the darkness to come. The same three apostles who were present for the Transfiguration — Simon Peter, James, and John — were present at the Garden of Gethsemane.
Think about that. The Rock upon whom Christ would found His Church; the "brother" of the Lord; and the Beloved Disciple; the three who, perhaps more than any of the other apostles, were close to Jesus, were strengthened by the consolation of seeing His glory manifested at the Transfiguration before witnessing His desolation in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Jesus prepared them for the trial to come. He sent them consolations to sustain them through the darkness to come, as God will always do in the spiritual life (for more on that, see Consoling the Heart of Jesus by Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC).
The spirituality of the apostles is to be the spirituality of us all: Remember, in the midst of darkness, when you saw the Lord in His light! Remember, when doubts assail you, that you have seen wonders! Remember!
Faith is not believing without evidence. Faith is remembering the evidence that you have seen, even when everything seems hopeless at present, even when all that glory and wonder is as a dim shadow compared with the present pain, or sorrow, or trial.
God will not make demands upon us past what we can bear, unless He Himself will give us strength to meet the challenges to come. It is our task to remain with Him always, guided by the sure lights of Scripture and Tradition, handed on to us by the Magisterium, especially when prayer seems dry and all seems lost in confusion. It is our task to discern, guided by a good confessor or spiritual director and the counsel of wise friends, what we are truly being called to carry and when we're trying to pick up crosses God never intended for us to carry.
Sometimes, we are told to lay down a burden, not endure with it one step further. Sometimes, we are told to take up a new cross or to share the burdens of our brethren.
And sometimes, we are called to transfiguration.
As the Church celebrates the feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord on Aug. 6, let us ask Jesus, in His mercy, to send His Holy Spirit to transfigure us from within, burning away our sins and impurities so that His light might shine before the nations.