Thursday, March 16, 2006

Listen to him

In the fourth luminous mystery, the transfiguration, we receive yet another reminder to listen to Jesus. It already happened at the baptism of Our Lord and again at the wedding of Cana. Are the Sacred Scriptures reminding us so we won't forget or is there something special about this one.

Certainly, this event is both more private (only two of the disciplies witness this on the mountaintop) and more spectacular than the others - Moses (the law-giver) and Elijah (the greatest of prophets) make cameo appearances as an opening act to the voice from heaven. The last book of the Old Testament (Malachi) predicts the return of Moses and Elijah - and here they are.

What role does this relatively private, mystical, spectacular experience have in the life of the disciple? Perhaps to provide additional public evidence of Jesus' authority? Certainly the testimony of Moses and Elijah strengthens the notion that Jesus has come to fulfill the Law and the Prophets. But why so few witnesses and almost no observable effects which persist after the miracle. There were already plenty of other public miracles with many more witnesses. In addition, Jesus explicitly instructs the two disciples not to speak of this event to further the public ministry.

Perhaps there is no other point to this intimate gathering than to establish intimacy with his friends. While many of us may not have such spectacular appearances, we can all have intimacy with the Lord by spending time alone with him. When we spend time with Our Lord, let us remember that self-improvement, increased understanding of the faith and other lofty goals do not bring value and purpose to our times with the Lord. Our times with the Lord are already valuable in of themselves for he desires our presence just as our souls long for his.

Certainly our Lord does transform and enlighten us during our times with him but let us remember that we do not spend time with Our Lord in order to be transformed and enlightened. Instead, let us remember that Our Lord transforms and enlightens us so we can better appreciate and embrace our times of intimacy with him.

Whatever our method of prayer and intimacy with the Lord, be it private or public, mystical or mundane, contemplation, meditation, reading, or speaking in the tongues of men or angels - let us consider the essential characteristic of the very best prayer: "wasting time with the Lord, the beloved". For this is how we act with those we love, we waste time with them.

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