Transfigured in His Light
As I was running up the driveway of the Motherhouse (a half mile up a hilly and windy road – perhaps, worth another meditation), I couldn’t help, but think of Peter, James and John making the trek up the mountain with Jesus before He was transfigured. While I was rather certain that I wouldn’t behold the glory of God the same way the apostles did on Mt. Tabor, I nonetheless remembered my goal – the top of the hill!
The journey of Lent begins with our eyes fixed on a goal – Jesus. Heaven.
On the first Sunday of Lent, we recall Jesus going into the desert to pray and fast. It is the place of solitude where we are invited to enter into this sacred season. In last Sunday’s Gospel, we heard how Jesus took the apostles up the mountain to pray – away from the distractions of their everyday lives, so that in the profound silence He could reveal Himself to them – to strengthen them in hope and courage, to prepare them for what is to come.
As the spirit urges us to follow Jesus more deeply and be immersed in an interior silence with Him, we may recognize a longing to be transformed and conformed to Him. In this season of deeper conversion we give things up because we desire a change in ourselves.
In the prayers during Mass, we hear supplications for a healing remedy, or to be cleansed from misdeeds, faults, to be renewed and strengthened by bodily observances and penances. It is precisely so we may be drawn into Him and let His words penetrate the depths of our spirit.
However, along with the desire for transformation, we recognize the journey toward a freedom – to live and love and be who we are called to be – can be arduous. As we ask for the Light to illumine our hearts and minds, we may begin to find places there that are dark. We may begin to recognize our weaknesses and disordered attachments.
What are the raging beasts that lurk in the garden of our hearts? In our own personal desert? Where are the areas of my heart that are not surrendered or not reconciled with the Lord? What are my dark tendencies, disordered passions and attachments? Where are the areas of unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment? What keeps me from the Lord? Where do I find myself taking back after I’ve made an offering?
Lent gives us an opportunity to face these places in our hearts, but never alone or with a spirit of discouragement – rather with the hope and confidence that He desires to purify and transfigure these places.
As we begin to surrender these areas with confidence, we grow closer to the Heart of Jesus. “To pray means to be spiritually immersed in God, in an attitude of humble cohesion to his will. The interior light that transfigures the human person comes from this trusting abandonment to God,” said St. John Paul II in an address in 2004.
Jesus gives His apostles a glimpse of His glory, so that they will face any adversity with a spirit of courage. He desires to do the same for us.
May we forge onward this Lent with great hope and trust that in God’s grace, He will transform all the areas of our hearts and reveal to us the deepest and truest desires that rest in the core of our being – this is where our Lenten journey finds its fulfillment.