Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Transfiguration, one of the new Mysteries of Light of the Rosary. For a long time I didn’t understand the significance of the Transfiguration and couldn’t understand why it came at the beginning of Lent. But over time, I have come to a deeper awareness of the significance of this event in our Salvation history.
Jesus took Peter, James and John up Mount Tabor and while in prayer the absolute radiance of His Divinity broke through the confines of His human nature and he became transfigured in the presence of His Heavenly Father. He began to converse with Moses and Elijah – the two most prominent representatives of the Old Testament – of the Law and the Prophets. This dazzling glimpse of divine glory was enough to send the apostles into a rapture, and Peter wanted to prolong the experience by erecting three tents for Jesus, Moses and Elijah.
For me the most compelling aspect of the Transfiguration is the voice of the Father which comes through the cloud overshadowing Jesus: “This is my Son, my beloved, with whom I am well-pleased.” Can we doubt that Jesus is the Son of God when we hear it directly from the Father?! And then God proclaims to the Apostles and to us: “Listen to Him.” We are called to listen to Jesus – always!
It is not always easy to listen to Jesus. For example, when he calls us to forgive, to pick up our cross and follow in His footsteps, to love our enemies. But most of the time His words are wonderful: “I have come that you might have life, and have it in abundance;” or “even the hairs of your head are counted;’ or “Do not be afraid; have faith in God and faith in me.” Pope John Paul II says that “The Church does not cease to listen to His words. She re-reads them continually. With the greatest devotion she reconstructs every detail of His life.”
This Lent let us go with Jesus up the mountain to pray with Him. Let us allow His Divinity to break through for us, and through His grace let us see Him as the God who loves us and who wants us to be with him, in glory, throughout all eternity.
Father Peter John Cameron, writing in the Magnificat Rosary Companion says: “As we peer into the glory that pours from every pore of the transfigured Christ, we cast off all our selfishness, anger, and lust and take on the luster of the Son of God. For as we stare, transfixed by resplendence, Christ Jesus gazes back at us. The Lord’s luminous look of love takes hold of our hearts, emboldening us to renounce our crust-like life in favor of a transparent one identical to his. This is what it means to be the light of the world – a luminary!