Image by Lawrence OP via Flickr
Today’s Gospel reading (being the second Sunday of Lent) was the Transfiguration. I have always loved this reading, even before I really had any idea what it meant theologically. Since I was younger I just always loved the mental image of Jesus being transformed in front of the disciples. Jesus becoming as bright as light.
I really loved Fr. Bill’s homily today. He started with a story about Mother Teresa. After her death, her spiritual director came out with a book about her spirituality. Apparently when Mother Teresa was a young nun (in her 40s) she heard the voice of God telling her to go do something “beautiful”. She literally heard the voice of God. She described the feeling as being taken up to heaven for a split second. She heard this 5 times in subsequent days and then she never heard it again. We know now how much Mother Teresa struggled spiritually and how on her deathbed she did not feel the presence of God. For the rest of her life she ached to hear the voice of God again. But while she was experiencing this spiritual angst, she continued to follow God’s voice and do something “beautiful” which was to work with the dying, depressed, decrepit, disgusting, downtrodden.
Fr. Bill likened this to what the disciples saw in the Transfiguration. For a second, Peter, John, and James saw Christ transformed as the King and Son of God that He is. Up until this point they had seen miracles, they believed in Him, but this was proof they could see with their own eyes. They were given a glimpse of heaven. Peter babbled on about three tents because he wanted to stay there in that moment but Jesus said no. They needed to move on to Jerusalem. This was just a glimpse of the glory of Jesus.
Whenever we have these moments where we know we are hearing God’s voice or feel that we are truly in the presence of God our soul is filled with a feeling a wholeness and rest. But as quickly as we feel this, it is gone in the next breath. We can’t remain in that moment. It’s heaven. It’s the gift that we can hope God mercifully gives us at our death. We’re not meant to always feel this but we can be grateful that God chooses to give us these little snippets of Love and we can remember them when we feel that God is absent in our lives or feel that God is not answering our prayers. As Mother Teresa knew, our Christian hope keeps us from true misery. Even is we feel God has abandoned us, we can trust fully and wholly that God is there.