On their way to Caesarea Philippi, Jesus began to teach his disciples about his approaching Passion, Death, and Resurrection. He also taught them about self-denial and carrying the cross for those who wished to follow Him. Six days later, on Mount Tabor, Peter, James, and John literally gazed at one of the most beautiful sights ever seen by the human eye: the dazzling splendor of the glory of God flowing as a brilliant, powerful light from the real presence of Jesus!*
In the beauty of the Transfiguration there is a link between the suffering Christ at Calvary and the Glorious Christ at the Resurrection. If I am being honest, I couldn’t see beauty in the Crucified Christ; however, when I read in the Gospels that Peter didn’t get it either and that he was lost at the sight of the Transfiguration, I didn’t feel so badly. This mountaintop experience prepared the Apostles for the terrifying yet glorious day of the Victory of Jesus over sin and death on the Cross. Like the Apostles, we all need glimpses of light and beauty to face life’s difficulties with trust in Jesus.
I’m sure that beauty captivates us all. Who has not been seized by the gentle power of a sunrise or sunset? Or by the majestic view of high mountains touching the serenity of a blue sky? Or by the splendor of art, poetry, or melodious songs? I do have and continue to be deeply touched by these encounters. Yet, all of them only point dimly to the Creator of all.
Even so, there is another kind of beauty which is only perceived by the heart. Only with the heart will we see glory and beauty in the pure, sacrificial love of Jesus on the Cross. Only with the heart will we grasp the power and beauty of humility and self‑giving love shining tenderly in the Eucharist. This beauty leaves a deep yearning for full vision, but that ultimate, transcendent Beauty is beyond our own power to possess. We must seek it in humility, obedience, and total surrender, denying ourselves and taking up our cross. Then, united with Jesus, we will give greater glory to God!
I find in the Transfiguration a reminiscence of that dazzling light that flows beautifully, yet unseen, from the Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus nourishes us in the Eucharist to strengthen us in our sufferings, in the sacrifice of self-denial, and moreover, in the terrifying experience of pure light enlightening the darkness of our souls. Unseen by the naked eye, experiences of divine light and beauty affect us profoundly. It is in these sparks of light that we begin to be truly changed, truly healed.
Experiences of light have transformed many. Paul was converted by a blinding light on his way to Damascus. Blessed Alberione received light coming from the Eucharist while experiencing the words: “Do not be afraid, I am with you….” If we allow the light of the Eucharist to dispel our deepest fears, then we can truly live in continual conversion, in daily “transfiguration,” until Christ in all his glory is formed in us.
Let us ask Jesus to give us His radiant, transfiguring light, as it was beautifully given to our beloved Christina, so that we, like her, may see the good in our crosses and glorify God through them. Little Christina believed that her cancer was a “good” cancer, because many were drawing closer to Jesus because of it. She knew that her suffering had meaning and that the radiant glory of Jesus at the Transfiguration would be beautifully revealed in her at the resurrection. Yes, God will transform her and our lowly bodies to become like the glorified body of Jesus… a sublime mystery!
Through Jesus’ wounds we are healed. May we kneel in adoration before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and allow the transfiguring light of His Presence to heal us. Then we’ll be able to see in our own wounds what Christina saw in her cancer. May we all, one glorious day in the Communion of Saints, be transfigured and totally lost in love, so that we may gaze with joy and awe at the dazzling Beauty of God’s Glory!
All of us, gazing with unveiled faces on the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
* The Transfiguration is the fourth Luminous Mystery of the Rosary. It would be good to recite the Luminous Mysteries today and meditate on the fourth Mystery a little longer than usual.
Sister Marta was born and raised in Managua, Nicaragua. Early in life she experienced an earthquake which claimed thousands of lives and destroyed her hometown. Later, political unrest, Communism, and persecution, especially of young people, caused her to migrate alone to the USA where she met new challenges. After a family tragedy and deeply affected by these adversities, Sister Marta began an inner search for answers to the mystery of life, suffering, truth, and the deepest yearnings of the human heart. She found the answer in Christ. By Divine Providence she met (and joined) the Secular Franciscans in Fresno, California, in 1994, and later, the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master where she discovered, with joy, an undeserved call to the consecrated life. Although a late vocation, she was admitted to the Congregation in 2000. Today, Sister Marta serves the Lord and His Church through her ministry at the Archdiocese of Boston.