Natalie Christiansen ’23

As a Colorado native, my parents raised me with a great appreciation for the beauty of God’s creation. As I grew older, I began to pursue this passion by taking on challenging hikes. Some of my favorite hiking experiences have been climbing Colorado’s Fourteeners, which are mountains that are over fourteen thousand feet in elevation.

The last quarter mile of these hikes are the hardest part because of the lack of oxygen at such high elevation. The hopes that you are almost there are constantly dashed by false summits along the way, but the view from the summit makes all the hard work worthwhile. You can see for miles because you are higher than anything else around you. These moments always bring me clarity, peace, and a realization of my profound smallness in the world.

While studying abroad in Galway, Ireland, I learned that ancient Celts believed there are “thin places” where Heaven and Earth seem especially close. From what they described, I think the summit of Fourteeners are some of the thinnest places I have ever been.

I believe Peter, John, and James had a similar experience. During the Transfiguration, the summit of the mountain was certainly a “thin place” where Heaven met Earth and they heard the voice of God the Father. This is one of those moments in the gospels where the apostles are strikingly reminded that they are in the presence of the Son of God.

It is important for us all to seek out “thin places” where we can better listen to the voice of God in our own lives and recognize the immense gift of the life and death of Jesus. Whether that place be the top of a mountain, meeting our Lord in the Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, or even in a vulnerable conversation with a friend, being intentional about finding our “thin place” can help us grow in our relationship with God.