Lk 9: 28b-36
Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.
Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” —not knowing what he said.
While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
At the Transfiguration, Peter wants to build tents, perhaps expecting this brilliant moment to last forever, or at least longer. We too, from time to time have “mountaintop experiences” in which we are filled with awe, joy, inspiration, and clarity. It can feel like everything builds up to these moments which will last forever…but much like the Transfiguration, they don’t. Mountaintop moments are important, but so too are more difficult and more mundane moments.
If you find yourself in a mountaintop moment, relish it in gratitude and learn what you can. Make a point to remember it later. Listen to Jesus. If you aren’t on the mountaintop, remember the times you have been. Recall the outlook, gratitude, joy and resolutions you had. Listen to Jesus. Examine your heart and try this out today.
This advice, by the way, is adapted from St. Ignatius’s Rules for the Discernment of Spirits.
Give me news eyes to see you in all things.
Give me new ears to hear your voice, your comfort and commands.
Grant me new wisdom, understanding, and memory to put it all together,
and a heart soft enough to relish it.
—David J. Herr, SJ