Week Two. How are your Lenten penances going? Are you on track or have you faltered a couple of times? Do not give up hope. Dust yourself off. Say a prayer to the Holy Spirit and get back to it.
This Sunday we hear about the Transfiguration. Jesus is transfigured in front of Peter, James, and John. For this special event, Jesus only took His best friends. There, these three saw Jesus transfigured. They saw Him as He really is. They got to see Him as God, as the Second Person of the Trinity.
Why did Jesus and God the Father do this? Well, Jesus was soon to be arrested and crucified. When Jesus is hanging on the Cross, only John and Mary, His mother are at the foot of the Cross. All of the rest of Jesus’ Apostles and disciples abandoned Him. It looked as if their belief in Jesus had been for not. However, in light of the Resurrection, they realized that Jesus had already proven to them that He was indeed God. They did not need to doubt.
We too are called to see in the dazzling white clothes affirmation that Jesus really is God, that He was not just another human person like the rest of us even though that is how He appeared most of the time 2000 years ago.
In 2007, when I got to tour the Holy Land, we stopped at the Church of the Transfiguration. It is. It is high up on a hill. I can’t imagine climbing it on foot. Below are some pictures. You can see that is it quite high up. You can see a long ways.
The church itself is quite beautiful.
As I have mentioned before, they serve really good pasta there.
It’s almost March. It’s hard to believe. The year is going quickly. I hope you are having a blessed Lent. What a great time. There is a lull between winter activities and spring activities. Even so, our lives remain busy. I cannot encourage you enough to take some extra time for prayer during this Lenten season.
I was chatting with a friend on Facebook about the good of doing something for Lent. Now those of you who gave something up for Lent, keep it up. Disciplining ourselves is good, especially for us Americans. We are so used to getting what we want when we want. Just like an athlete it is good to start small and work ourselves up to bigger weights, longer runs, or other such things. In the spiritual life we start small with maybe giving up a snack or giving up certain deserts. This trains our desires to be in submission to our will instead of will being in submission to our desires. Now not all desires are bad. Some are good, but because of the Fall, some of our desires aren’t in our best interest. Eating a whole box of chocolates may be desirable, but it is not good for us. Watching TV all day may be relaxing, but it is probably not good for us. So in giving things up for Lent, we train our wills to become stronger so that we are free to become the best version of ourselves and we become less controlled by our bad desires.
However, my friend from Facebook asked if it was OK to do something in the positive. I said yes. That’s how we grew up. Pope Francis seems to be saying this too. He is arguing not just to give something up, but to do something positive for others. So take some time during Lent to do something special. Maybe help out at a food kitchen. Help out at the Food Shelf in Fulda. Or at Ester’s Kitchen in Marshall. Or sit with someone new at lunch time, maybe someone who doesn’t seem to have a lot of people to talk to.
The end goal is to become less selfish and more focused on others and God. The end goal is to grow in holiness, to prepare ourselves for eternal life in Heaven. To do this, we need to realize our weaknesses. In humility, we then realize how much we need Christ and His forgiveness and mercy that He extends to us from the Cross, from Good Friday.
Please pray for me that this Lenten season is a one of growth in holiness. I will pray the same for you.