Beloved: We did not follow cleverly devised myths
when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord
but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty…
You will do well to be attentive to it, as to a lamp shining
in a dark place,
until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
2 Pt 1:16-19)
Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother, John,
and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them;
his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as
And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, "Lord, it is good that we
If you wish, I will make three tents, one for you, one for
Moses, and one for Elijah."
(from Mt 17:1-9)
Peter, James, and John witness the Transfiguration. Peter,
overwhelmed, blurts out the first thing that comes to mind: “Ok,
this is cool. Let’s just stay here and set up camp. Let’s extend
this experience as long as we can.” He is cut off by the voice of
God, and of course, rendered silent by its majesty. Then it is all
over and they head back down the mountain to face “the real world”
Most of us have had experiences, spiritual or otherwise, that made
it difficult to come back to earth and face day-to-day life. An
inspiring retreat or wonderful vacation; even a long anticipated
event. We can find ourselves let down or depressed after such
experiences if we are not able to “transfigure” ourselves from the
inside out and find God in all things— the joyful and the profound,
AND the sorrowful and the mundane.
It takes willingness to live fully all aspects of our lives. It’s a
life-long journey of awareness and faith—a journey that begins now.
“Whatever our initial vision of spiritual life,
to be authentic, it must be
fulfilled here and now, in the place where we live.”
If I am
waiting to hear God’s voice for myself, thundering through a cloud,
to tell me what I am supposed to do, I will likely be wasting my
life. It is the gift of faith—that lamp shining in a dark place—that
allows me to benefit from the experiences of my ancestors in faith,
confident that their words are not some “cleverly devised myths”
(aka, “fake news”). And God’s words to Peter, James, and John are
very clear: “Listen. Pay attention. Ponder my Son’s words and
deeds. Learn at a deep, soul-level what it means for you to be a
true son or daughter of mine. Listen to him.”
time this week reading passages in the gospels that highlight Jesus’
words. Pick one or two passages that move you (or make you
uncomfortable or frustrated). Imagine Jesus sitting with you and
speaking the words directly to you. What questions do you have for
him? Stay with it until “day dawns and the morning star rises in
"Why do you treat your servant so badly?" Moses asked the LORD.
"Why are you so displeased with me
that you burden me with all this people?" (Nm 11:4b-15)
between Moses and God is one of my favorites. Moses has been
protective of the people for so long, but finally, he’s reached his
limit. “God, what did I EVER do to you that you would stick me with
such a whiney, uncooperative group?” Perhaps we’ve heard people say,
or have said ourselves, “What did I do to deserve such a fate,” as
if our actions determine God’s “treatment” of us. Perhaps God was
waiting for Moses to come to him and admit “I can’t do this on my
own.” If you’re having a hard time coping these days, take a cue
from Moses. Turn to God and say, “I need help.” But remember, Moses
willingly gives up some of his power so that others can help him.
Don’t ignore God’s help given from the hands and hearts of others.
Peter said, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the
water." Jesus said, "Come."(Mt 14:22-36)
been following Jesus for ten chapters now (per Matthew’s Gospel) and
has witnessed healings, profound teachings, great crowds being fed.
It’s exhilarating, and while there have been a few disconcerting
things, life with Jesus has been exciting to say the least. But now
Peter is tested, and he so wants to have faith. Jesus calls him
again to come to him on the stormy sea. We may find ourselves there
too. We’ve been following Jesus faithfully, energized by what we
have seen and heard. But then, a storm arises in our life. Jesus
calls to us to have faith, to allow him to carry us through. Like
Peter, we may falter and we may fail. Be assured: Jesus is always
there for us. But be tenacious like Peter, willing to try over and
over and over again.
Our fathers considered not your wonders; soon they forgot his works;
they waited not for his counsel.
We humans are
an impatient lot! It is amazing how quickly we forget, how quickly
we ask, “What are you going to do for me today?” I can find
myself in the middle of something difficult, asking God to hurry up
and deal with the situation (to my liking, of course); or I pray for
God’s counsel, expecting an immediate and crystal clear answer.
That’s why the nightly examen prayer is so important. Look back on
your day and give thanks for the graces you’ve receive--don’t forget
the ones you tend to take for granted--and the lessons you learned
from the things that challenged you. Each day, consider and be
grateful for God’s wonders and works.
“Each must do as determined, without sadness or compulsion, for
God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor 9:6-10)
This is one
you just can’t fake (as if you could fake anything with God!) You
are either giving out of the goodness of your heart, with compassion
and mercy, or you are not--you are giving because you are supposed
to or you think it’s your ticket to eternity. Giving from the heart
will always bring joy and happiness. You can’t help but be a
cheerful giver if your generosity is borne of love. And no, this
doesn’t apply only to money or gifts—your time and talent are is
often the greatest gifts you can give-- and no, we don’t have to
give to every cause out there. Identify a few causes or charities
that speak to your heart. Focus in on what you can do to bring joy
to others. It is the best way to truly bring joy to ourselves.
“Did anything so great ever happen before? Was it ever heard of? Did
a people ever hear the voice of God? Did any god venture to take a
nation for himself by signs and wonders, by war, with his strong
so great ever happen before? Did a people ever hear the gentle,
loving voice of God calling them by name? Did a people ever see the
face of God in an ordinary man? Did any god venture to take on human
form and claim all the nations of the world for peace, by signs and
wonders, by humility, service, compassion, and love? Did any god
die, unwilling to return evil for evil, to show us how to live?”
“You shall love the LORD, your God, with all your heart and soul and
strength. Take to heart these words …Bind them at your wrist and let
them be as a pendant on your forehead.
How do you
remind yourself to love God with all your heart? I imagine there
are people who’ve taken Moses literally and have these words
tattooed on their wrists! For me, I need more interactive ways—a
conscious commitment each morning while I am brushing my teeth to
love others; an quiet alarm on my phone at 2 pm to do a mini-examen
of my day thus far. Consider what kind of reminder will work for you
and give it a try!