We humans are created to happiness. Regardless of one’s values it is happiness that we are striving for. The Catechism teaches us that we are created for happiness in God.
The scene of the Transfiguration is the revelation of this joy of being with God. It was a very intense, literally mystical, experience for the three disciples. Their joy was attached to the revelation of the coming suffering of their Master. Yet, this same intense delight, spread evenly, is waiting for us in our Christian life. We are simply made for being with our Saviour both in joy and suffering. This closeness, this friendship and partnership, should give us delight.
If this daily joy is not present, it signals a work to be done from our part. We must fill up (remove) this distance (Radio 4 interview with teenagers who abandoned their faith. The sadness of the soul is real.). The Orthodox Christian mystics teach that Jesus was always transfigured, revealing his Beauty. People just could not perceive it, for their senses were not ‘lifted up’ to sense this vision.
God always desires us to respond to his presence and experience the joy over life with Him. As Saint Francis de Sales puts it, God never ceases ‘inspiring us’. It is up to us if we follow this inspiration. Listening to these daily inspirations is the very ground of our daily joy. (The story of birdie who went up to the top of the trees that has parents might find him.)
Let us think about it and let us be inspired by Jesus’ Transfiguration. For the Christian community it is crucial to have this daily joy and delight in our God. This experience of delight is vital for us as a community, too. Why? For this is the very witness through which others got inspired to know Christ. Only when this joy is seen want people become Christians.
But what happens if this daily joy does not come? If our faith is not passionate enough ‒ to be perceived as something which is different, like Jesus’ Transfiguration? For the life of Christians is like the extension of Jesus’ Transfiguration on Mount Tabor. Particularly at crucial moments for someone, it must become visible.
Our first reading, Abraham’s call, provides us with the missing key. ‘The Lord said to Abraham, “Leave your country, your family and your father’s house, for the land I will show you.”’ Let it be our concern what does this journey into God’s joy look like in our own life! Lent actually poses this as a commandment: let this journey of our soul be the most important concern! What do we have to leave behind? What journey(s) we must make in order to experience daily the joy of being Christians?
‘…I will show you’ that land, says the Lord. We need to be exposed to the beauty of the abode where God dwells with us. It is God’s showing us his things. Perhaps we should accept his ‘showing us around’, which means that we need to spend a special time with God. A special time of prayer and quiet thanksgiving. A time when our heart beats together with God’s heart. When our eyes see together with God’s eyes. This is an importance of quiet time and quiet prayer with God. If this meeting is not present, how and when and where could our Transfiguration take place? How could passion for God emerge in us? How our transformation into an inspiring community would emerge?
This specific time, Abraham teaches us, must take place in God’s language, in his fashion. It is not our ‘style’ and option but is to be according to God’s taste. For an unknown reason, God prefers the prayers of his Church, the Morning Prayers, the Evening Prayers, particularly the liturgy of the Eucharist. God can be present everywhere, in all of our actions, but he wants us to meet him and spend time with him, in his own language, in his own fashion, in his House. Still the centre of his self-revelation remains our Churches and Chapels, our prayers in it.
Lent invites us to try to make this extra mile, in the specific language God wants to speak among us.
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..