A Vincentian View of the Transfiguration
In his bi-weekly reflection for famvin, Fr. Pat Griffin invites us to reflect on how the story of the transfiguration summons us to learn from the experience of the disciples. We, too, receive the opportunity and encouragement to have a deeper vision into the person and mission of Jesus.
One of the beautiful stained glass windows in the St. Thomas More Church on the campus of St. John’s University depicts the story of the Transfiguration. Most mornings, I sit opposite this scene and sometimes it captures my thinking. That becomes especially true when the readings direct my attention to this event.
I have reflected that one of the truths of this Gospel story is not simply that Jesus has been changed before the eyes of his disciples, but that a change takes place in the disciples themselves. They come to a deeper recognition of who Jesus truly is. Their ordinary way of seeing him receives an upgrade. They are gifted with a deeper insight into his connection to their Scripture as he converses with Moses and Elijah. The voice from heaven calls them to pay more attention to what he says to them. One could hope that these experiences would influence the manner in which the disciples will now relate to Jesus. That remains to be seen. The disciples want to lay hold to this moment by settling down on the mountain and remaining within this wondrous experience. However, that does not express the will of Jesus. He did not come to dwell on the mountain but in the streets and homes of his people. He desires to call his brothers and sisters to a change of life and a deeper confidence in their God. The disciples must follow him as he descends from the mountain.
I hear the story of the transfiguration as an invitation to look at my life and my work differently. Recognizing the way in which Jesus becomes present in the people and the tasks of my world offers a daily challenge. What I come to discover and resolve in my meditation and my prayer needs to find concrete expression in the manner that I start the day outside the chapel. Vincent encouraged his followers to learn from their daily prayer and to make resolutions for the way in which they would live the day. I understand the importance of that call.
The story of the transfiguration summons us to learn from the experience of the disciples. We, too, receive the opportunity and encouragement to have a deeper vision into the person and mission of Jesus. With him, we leave the mountaintop experience to enter into the charges and openings of each day. The challenge rests in our willingness to learn from what we have seen and heard, and to allow those blessings to direct our hands and feet.