Thursday, August 6, 2015

Transfiguration and the Grace of New Life

Transfiguration, Russian Icon, 14th century
"On the mountain You were transfigured,
O Christ our God,
and your Disciples saw
as much of your glory
as they could hold,
so that when they should see
You crucified,
they would know
that You suffered willingly,
and would proclaim to the world
that You are truly
the Splendor of the Father"
(Kontakion for the day, Byzantine Liturgy).


A glimpse of glory. The voice of the Father: "This is my Beloved Son." How could Jesus have made Himself more "real" for these men? They saw all the miracles. They spent each day with Him, experiencing His tender gaze, marveling at His beauty.

The man who is God: they were with Him. They saw Him. How could they ever falter in their faith? Why, after everything, did they still give in to fear?

Peter. After everything, after the promise of the Keys, after the calming of the storm, after the light of Mount Tabor, after the ardor of a heart that said in the peak of human sincerity, "I would lay down my life for You," how could he deny Him? Yet Jesus drew Peter's heart back to Himself. "Lord, You know that I love You."

Our life is so fragile and our experience so fragmented that we cannot energize ourselves to persevere in fidelity to the Mystery of God's presence and His love for us, even when He dwells with us and breaks bread with us every day and proves Himself trustworthy again and again and again.

And so He offers us the gift of His Spirit and the strength of His grace, the gift that empowers us to receive and to grow in newness of life in Him. We may fail, we may turn from Him, we may forget Him a thousand times a day, but still His grace and mercy call us continually to conversion and renewal. He gives us the capacity and the energy that we cannot generate from out of our own selves.

When we fall or forget His glory, He empowers us to rise up and remember Him again, turn to Him again, and be surprised by Him again. And if we live in hopeif we adhere to Him, cry out to Him, and beg Him for His mercyHe will sustain us on the way and enable us to walk with Him all the way through the end. All the way through death.

In the whole course of our life, He is prompting us, "Turn to Me, listen to Me, let Me draw you to myself, let Me give you what you need to take each step." Without Him we can do nothing. With Him we will have eternal glory.

And He made us to be with Him, He wants us to be with Him.