As the Family Goes

JP II Quote

"As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live." John Paul II

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Good That We Should Be Here

In Dark Night of the Soul, St. John of the Cross speaks about how the soul can become so burdened with meditation that it allows itself to be distracted from God.  It spends so much time and effort in constructing a particular image in its mind that it misses the Lord truly present in its midst.  Nowhere has this proven more true for me than during the rosary, and particularly the luminous mysteries.

I recall when John Paul II announced them so many years ago, but have never found them as easy to enter into as the other three groups of mysteries, likely only because I had become so much more familiar with those ones.  To compensate, I always tried my best to imagine them in my mind as I prayed.  Following the lead of St. John of the Cross, I found myself praying these mysteries a few weeks ago. Rather than fall into old patterns of distractedness, I concentrated simply on the words I was praying, and the present moment I was in.  And then it seemed these mysteries were opened up to me.  During the decade for the Wedding at Cana, I found myself struck with what a small miracle this was, and how seemingly unimportant (is it really that big a deal if we run out of wine at a wedding?)  And yet, the Lord loves us so much that He meets us in our desires, no matter how small.  I related very much, because it was how I felt about finding I had everything I needed to make a prayer space in my bedroom.  It was not profound or earth-shattering, and yet for me it was an example of the Lord meeting me where I was, and providing for the simplest desires of my heart. I realized throughout the rest of that rosary that the Luminous Mysteries are for us - they are the small, simple ways the Lord reaches into our everyday lives to speak to us, to fullfill our smallest desires and communicate His will to us.

The Gospel reading this week is the Transfiguration, which to be honest has always been the hardest one for me to identify with.  And yet this year, I am finding such richness in it.  The first line, Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves, demonstrates the need for alone time with God, and the lengths He will go to get us there.  God communicates always, but most powerfully when we give Him this alone time.  I have been rather lazy lately about my prayer times, and find in this reading the great conviction that I need to get back to it again, that the Lord calls each of us alone to go up the mountain with Him.

The Gospel continues,

And he was transfigured before them;
his face shone like the sun
and his clothes became white as light.
And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them,
conversing with him.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
“Lord, it is good that we are here.

This again, rings so true to me.  When we do commit ourselves to taking time with the Lord, we almost always understand that it is good for us.  Even someone who has gotten away from regular prayer (like me) finds goodness in the mere mention of these words.  Alone time with the Lord is something good, that is worth striving for.

While he was still speaking, behold,
a bright cloud cast a shadow over them,
then from the cloud came a voice that said,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased;
listen to him.”
When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate
and were very much afraid.

Sometimes, the voice of God brings fear even when we know the way is right.  Sometimes God asks of us something that is so big, so grand, so awe-inducing that we respond with fear.  We bow in fear, and take some time to process what this means, and just where the Lord is leading us. When Jesus is revealed to us in a powerful way, it is awesome - but it can also be fearful.

But Jesus came and touched them, saying,
“Rise, and do not be afraid.”
And when the disciples raised their eyes,
they saw no one else but Jesus alone.

Of course we can't interpret God's plan on our own. It takes the gentle touch of the Lord - that gentle touch that is only found there, in solitude.  Away from the busyness of our lives and alone with God.  For as many times as we need, as often as is necessary.  When we fix our eyes on Jesus, nothing else matters.  And only there do we find the courage to continue walking the path He has laid before us.  Sometimes we see the grandness of our call, but other times we don't.  But always Jesus is with us.  Our peace for the journey comes not from the realization of what lays still before us, but from the sure confidence that Jesus is with us in this moment.

The Gospel concludes,

As they were coming down from the mountain,
Jesus charged them,
“Do not tell the vision to anyone
until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

The Lord speaks to our hearts, in a very personal and profound way.  That can be terrifying.  But Jesus calls us to the same obedience as He did the apostles.  This miracle that happened so long ago continues to happen every day to each of us.  God beckons us to a place of solitude, to discern His will for us.  Sometimes, many times, we find that He is asking something great of us - great excitment, great joy, great sacrifice, great hardship.  We don't always know the full effects of what that might be, but we can always walk confident that Jesus is by our sides, carrying us through the journey.

May the grace of the Transfigured Lord illuminate our lifes, as we place our trust in You alone.

1 comment :

  1. I agree with you when you say: "The Lord speaks to our hearts, in a very personal and profound way. That can be terrifying." It's so easy to ask for help, but can be scary when you get an answer. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.