6 August – Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord
Today we celebrate the occasion on which Christ revealed Himself in shining splendour to Peter, James, and John. Moses and Elijah were present, and are taken to signify that the Law and the Prophets. They testify to Jesus as the promised Messiah. God the Father also proclaimed him as such, saying, “This is my Beloved Son. Listen to him.” For a moment the veil is drawn aside, and men still on earth are permitted a glimpse of the heavenly reality, the glory of the Eternal Triune God.
As I watched:
Thrones were set in place
and one of great age took his seat.
His robe was white as snow,
the hair of his head as pure as wool.
His throne was a blaze of flames,
its wheels were a burning fire.
A stream of fire poured out,
issuing from his presence.
A thousand thousand waited on him,
ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.
A court was held
and the books were opened.
And I saw, coming on the clouds of heaven,
one like a son of man.
He came to the one of great age
and was led into his presence.
On him was conferred sovereignty,
glory and kingship,
and men of all peoples, nations and languages became his servants.
His sovereignty is an eternal sovereignty
which shall never pass away,
nor will his empire ever be destroyed.
2 Peter 1:16-19
It was not any cleverly invented myths that we were repeating when we brought you the knowledge of the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; we had seen his majesty for ourselves. He was honoured and glorified by God the Father, when the Sublime Glory itself spoke to him and said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour.’ We heard this ourselves, spoken from heaven, when we were with him on the holy mountain.
So we have confirmation of what was said in prophecies; and you will be right to depend on prophecy and take it as a lamp for lighting a way through the dark until the dawn comes and the morning star rises in your minds.
Jesus took with him Peter and John and James and went up the mountain to pray. As he prayed, the aspect of his face was changed and his clothing became brilliant as lightning. Suddenly there were two men there talking to him; they were Moses and Elijah appearing in glory, and they were speaking of his passing which he was to accomplish in Jerusalem. Peter and his companions were heavy with sleep, but they kept awake and saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As these were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, ‘Master, it is wonderful for us to be here; so let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ – He did not know what he was saying. As he spoke, a cloud came and covered them with shadow; and when they went into the cloud the disciples were afraid. And a voice came from the cloud saying, ‘This is my Son, the Chosen One. Listen to him.’ And after the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. The disciples kept silence and, at that time, told no one what they had seen.
…take it as a lamp for lighting a way through the dark until the dawn comes and the morning star rises in your minds.
“It has come to pass/It will come to pass.” These are the words that have continued to uplift my soul in recent weeks, particularly when I am kneeling down at Mass after receiving our Lord in the Eucharist. Sometimes I am filled with such joy, that I am in tears. Sometimes I am filled with sorrow for my weakness of faith, that I am in tears. Sometimes I am overwhelmed with thanksgiving and hushed by gratitude. When no words suffice, I am always in tears.
As I write my reflections these past few days, I am also frantically preparing to relocate to Boston with my fiance, where he will work for a year. How did I get here, I wonder? Sometimes I cannot believe the turns life takes, and the ways God chooses to manifest His plans. But of course, I believe. Yet, I often beseech Jesus, “Lord, help me with my unbelief!” I am very stubborn, but always humbled. This is the extent to which I am so very human.
I see myself in Peter and John in today’s Gospel reading of the Transfiguration account. ‘Master, it is wonderful for us to be here; so let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ How often I find myself clinging (stubbornly) to two moments. The first — the feeling of comfort and closeness the Lord gives when I go to Him in prayer for my needs and heart’s desires. I experience an intimate sense that He hears me, that I am cradled in His palms. The second — the sense of wonder and promise when I intuit His assurance, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jer 29:11). These are the tents that I want to erect. But I do not go further…
Like Peter and John, I build altars to memorialise the feelings of closeness, that I lose the presence of mind to contemplate and deeply ponder on God’s love and, strangely enough, to look forward with trusting hope and fervent faith that whatever I prayed for will come to pass. I remain in my constructed dreams of what I prayed for, and how they would best materialise, that I lose sight of the ‘being-answered-prayer-in-the-making’ events that are taking place right before my very eyes! Which is literally, everyday!
This is what Jean-Pierre de Cassaude SJ called ‘the sacrament of the present moment’ or, ‘abandonment to divine providence.’ The Transfiguration took place on a mountain-top, because mountain-top experiences are, themselves, gifted moments which God uses to impress upon our hearts His promises, love, and peace. But here comes the cloud, which covered the disciples with a shadow, when they foolishly wanted to freeze the moment and memorialise it. It cannot be done. And so, being human, they froze with fear.
The cloud that covers them with a shadow is the very veil which separates even our wildest and best imaginations from God’s Divine Will. His is the divine knowledge, while mine is truly finite. This is what I keep on learning.
I desired to find my soulmate in the Catholic faith. I wished for the chance to live and study overseas in my undergraduate years. I dreamt of one day taking theology classes. There must have been dozens of tiny prayers which I have whispered throughout my life (and have forgotten), and other monumental prayers hanging always on my lips. I knew the Lord heard them all, although it was not always easy to wait. The tears I often weep now are joyful and contrite. They are my humbled acknowledgement that His thoughts are not my thoughts, nor my ways His ways; for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are His ways higher than my ways and His thoughts than my thoughts.
I want to encourage all my friends who are praying and waiting and wondering about your many intentions, to never doubt the Lord’s love and beautiful will for your life. Your dreams have come to pass before/Your dreams will come to pass.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Debbie Loo)
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me. (Suscipe prayer, St. Ignatius of Loyola).
Thanksgiving: Jesus, I trust in You.