Every year on the Second Sunday of Lent we hear about the glorious transfiguration of Jesus on a mountain. It is filled with light, with images and voices that tie all of life together—law and prophets—and expectations for wholeness and glory. Every year I have the same reflection. Why do I not have such clear visions to spur faith? My faith is always an unfinished work, never easy or sure. I envy people who seem to have so little struggle or such certainty about all things holy.
Today, I noticed that this reassuring vision was sandwiched between the announcement of the passion and the return to the valley where the mundane responsibilities of life went on. This is more like what I experience—daily routines with little time to ascend to the tops of mountains and get a broad view of the landscape of my life. In Mark’s and Matthew’s accounts, Peter has difficulty with the prospect of the passion and tries to deny that it can happen. I do that too. Even when the weather prediction includes the possibility of bad driving conditions, my first thought is, “Maybe they are wrong.” My intuitive response to suffering is “It’s not going to happen.” So, like Peter, any moment of certainty would lead me to say, “Let’s build some tents and stay here.”
Isn’t it ironic? The life of clarity that I so long for could lead me to deny the life to which I am called—a life of believing and acting within the very mundane and sometimes tedious tasks involved in announcing salvation. The air on mountain tops is thin so the journey back down is a healthy choice. It is in the day-to-day events that faith is both displayed and supported. For me, and probably for most of us, the only visions we will have are ones that we recognize not in blinding light, but in little glimpses of God’s love mediated through our companions.
So my reflection on the readings leads me to two resolutions. First, this week I want to consider my life from a mountain where I can see the path that has brought me to this day. I take this view not in order to question my past decisions, but to affirm that all that has gone before has brought me to this moment which is good. A wise retreat director once said, “God ain’t so dumb that God loves you where you ain’t. If you are at the train station it is guaranteed that God is not waiting at the airport, but is there where you are.” So I want to get with the program and live where I am, aware that the glory of God is there, not in a bright light somewhere else.
Second, I want to consider that it not so much that I am denied visions of glory but that perhaps I have closed my eyes. I want to take a close look at the everyday revelations of glory that I usually let slip by unnoticed—the interest of one or the other students in the content of class, the laughter of a fellow faculty member coming from the end of the hall, the green traffic lights on the way to work, the pictures of people’s children on Facebook, the taste of a savory meal, the sunset, and, yes, the challenging events that call me to put my faith in God who is present with strength and invitation.
Will you join me in praising God who has brought you to where you are and is loving you right here and now?
Can you spend time this week, opening your eyes to the graces and the light of the moment?
By Sister Fidelis Tracy, CDP
Sr. Fidelis Tracy is a Sister of Divine Providence and Professor of Theology at Thomas More University. She likes comic strips in the newspaper because they speak more truth than the other parts. She enjoys reading, counted cross stitch, and music. Someday she will be published in a scholarly journal. She is one sassy sister!