Gn. 15:5-12, 17-18; Ps. 27; Phil. 3:17–4:1; Lk. 9:28-36
Abide with Him
We have always read this page of the Gospel as a visible anticipation of the glory of the resurrection. This time, I would like to underscore a particular point that often escapes us, yet it is one of the pillars on which the journey of Lent rests, namely: prayer.
Luke places the transfiguration of Jesus after Peter’s profession of faith and the radical and demanding requirement of discipleship: “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Lk. 9:23). We reach glory after having traveled the same path as Jesus: that of self-donation out of love. This arduous proposal might cause some of us to shrug our shoulders and exclaim: “That’s impossible!”
Jesus takes three of his disciples up the mountain with him to pray, because prayer helps us understand the will of God better, opens our heart to accept it and helps us find meaning for our life and the choices we make.
Prayer transforms and transfigures. It transforms our heart, our way of seeing things, our life. It helps us put God in our every breath, in our every action throughout the day, in the essential words we speak, and in our empty hands, which can then overflow with welcome and hospitality. Prayer transfigures because it makes us like the One who loves us infinitely and, regardless of what we are, places all his trust in us and shows us the beauty of abiding with him.
It is prayer that helps each one of us attain transformation and transfiguration. Prayer is the sweet channel that puts us on God’s wave-length, that enables us to see his light-filled eyes, that reveals to us his very heart and our place in it, safe and protected, like a precious treasure. We come to understand that although we might be stripped of all our possessions and of life itself, nothing can tear us from the heart of God.
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear?
The Lord is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid?
Hear, O Lord, the sound of my call;
have mercy on me and answer me.
“Come,” says my heart, “seek God’s face.”
Your face, O Lord, I seek!
Do not hide your face from me;
do not repel your servant in anger.
You are my help; do not cast me off.
Do not forsake me, God my savior!
I believe I shall enjoy the Lord’s goodness
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord with courage;
be stouthearted and wait for the Lord.