This feast is, once again, a timely juxtaposition with my mundane little life. And, for full disclosure, some of this post is from a few years ago….because we are undergoing our own transfiguration here in the Coffeehouse and it’s a little bit slamming hectic around here…not to mention, you read my last post on dropping my son off at the Novitiate…I’m still a little gobsmacked over it all. Anyhow……I love how living the liturgical year through the Church brings me these connections and reminders of what’s real and important…and helps me see beyond my own little self absorbed tinny walls, even if only for a millisecond or two. It’s cool. It’s almost like it’s planned to do that or something, I don’t know…
This feast is the story from the gospel (Luke 9:28-36) that we meditate upon in the fourth mystery of the luminous rosary. Its when Jesus and his apostles, Peter, James, and John go up onto Mount Tabor with Christ. Then Christ appeared to them, not only as the man they knew but in all the blinding splendor of His Divine Nature, and what’s more, with Elijah and Moses beside Him. Peter, one of my fav’s, was so excited that he burst out and said, “Lord it is good to be here! Let’s put up a tent!” (well, that’s my paraphrase, anyhow). He was so thrilled that he just wanted to stay there, it was that cool! (He reminds me of my sweet Jon here, ok often, but that is just what my son would say and do.)
Well, I just really love the visuals and imagery of this story. But I also love the whole concept of transfiguration. Even as I cringe at change in general, I beg to be transfigured myself as I need it so. And this passage promises that, for each one of us. Now, the caveat is that it promises it through the cross. It was just following this event that Christ went to His Passion, the Cross. He went to suffer. But the transfiguration was a promise to his disciples, his most beloved, that the suffering would not be the end. That there was more and it was Glorious, breathtaking. It was also a promise to us and a path: that our suffering is not for naught, that it too transforms us.
I know, I’ve written this before. I think about this a lot. Maybe because it’s hard to wrap my puny brain and sensibilities around the whole concept. And now, especially, it’s been a struggle, because this past summer I’ve been soaking in it with even more intensity than before. Hard to imagine, but true, and I suspect will be this year ahead. I know my son Chris will be. And you know, suffering, um, hurts. But even so, even in the weary of it, the core of me believes it does change you. It transforms you. And you come out on the other side different. Better, stronger. No, not faster, this is not a Six Million Dollar Man cheapie tv show….. but more. Transfigured. More the You that you were made to be. Whatever that is. But MORE. And that, to me, is glorious, and hopefully, for me personally, shinier (as I am nothing but smudgy of late).
I like Raphael’s drawing, below. One, because I love drawings, but also because I love how this study is about the apostles. The actual imagery of the transfiguration of Christ is of course impossible to really know or guess; it is beyond our ken. But the apostles, this story is very much about them, and us, as well. And the wonder and the stunning awe that they must have felt, the joy, the fear, the gasp…..well, I keep finding my mind turning to that. So, today on this feast of the Transfiguration, I will try hard to remember and trust that even we regular Joes (And, erk, Janes) can be transfigured too. The promise is for us as well. In fact, I am beginning to realize it is much, much, more than a mere promise…it’s happening even now, we only have to have our hearts turned in to see it. And for that, on this feast day….I will meditate on that in gratitude and wonder.