Excerpted from a Meditation by Larry Gillick, S.J., Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality
[Readings: Gn 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18; Ps 116:10, 15, 16-19; Rom 8:31b-34; Mk 9:2-10]
The Gospel for the Second Sunday of Lent presents the Transfiguration, or the “the Changing of the Garb.” Peter, James and John go up a hill with Jesus. They have a most intimate encounter with Jesus, God the Beyond, and, of course, themselves.
Jesus dazzles his followers with some state of glorification. Moses, the man of the law, and Elijah, the man of prophesy, are seen conversing with Jesus. Jesus is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets, and the “voice” again ordains him as “my beloved son.” The terrified trio is encouraged also to “listen to him.”
Immediately after this experience, there they are, just the four again and nobody else, no other sounds. They leave with this experience and their questions about what it was all about. They are charged by Jesus not to speak about it until he had risen from the dead. They did not understand this, either, but they kept on walking back down from this hill of intimacy.
Peter, James and John experienced an unusual convention and communion. They are “befuddled-beholders” and they go off into the routine down-the-hill living of their lives.
Their faith seems to be strengthened, but at the same time they experience bewilderment and must ask themselves about the “realness” of what has just happened.
Devotion, prayer, liturgy can be similar calls to simple and honest closeness. Trying to figure out these experiences and explain them cheapens them and flattens them out into a practice rather than a delight. We go toward a time of being met by the Holy, given something of ourselves by the encouragement and comfort of God’s presence and then sent away, but always the little question, “Was that really real? Or was I talking to myself, comforting myself, judging myself?”
Intimacy with God does not lead to comprehending, but to sending, living, transfiguring, changing because we are so loved. I wish to come away from every liturgy or times of personal prayer less able to explain why I live the way I do. I wish to be a befuddlement and, in a sense, be a transfigurational experience, not easily explained away.
Reflection: Am I able to delight in the unexplainable mysteries and experiences of my faith?