We are reminded today of our purpose. On this day in the life of the Church, we recall the journey up the mountain when Jesus transfigured himself before Peter, James, and John, when he showed them his glory. Don’t we all have moments like that? When we least expect it, God manifests himself to us in such a way that we truly believe. We stand in awe and repeat Peter’s words: “Lord, it is well that we are here.” In these moments, we are lifted up on high. We could contemplate the Contemplation of Contemplations forever. And then in a moment, the thundering voice of God rumbles its last and suddenly we no longer see the glory of God, just the simple Faith. Peter, James, and John didn’t get to remain in God’s Glory that time. They had to go back. They had to suffer. Even Christ wasn’t able to revel in that glory too long. In fact, in the next moments after he returned to his unglorified state, he spoke of his coming suffering.
I search, too often, for these highs, for these moments of intense glorification. And when they come I desire for, and expect them to stay. But we all come down from these highs. A conference. A mission trip. A visit to a monastery. A sunset walk on the beach. Prayer on a secret rock in La Jolla that sits out in the middle of the sea. A moment on top of a pine forested mountain. A panoramic view of the Medora Badlands. A fruitful hour of Eucharistic Adoration. The reception of Jesus Christ in Holy Communion. We’ve all experienced them.
But we must remember that while we must keep our eyes focused on the hope of eternal salvation, that often requires us to forsake any glorification we might have on earth. It requires us to bear a cross. That is our task here. We are now brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ. In a mysterious way, we are co-mediators of the new covenant. We suffer with Jesus for the sake of souls. We must come down off of our mountains and humble ourselves in the valleys, the valleys of death and darkness. We must be willing, as Christ was, to come down and lose our lives. If we cling to our lives we will surely lose them. Glorification can only come once we have cast ourselves down in utter humiliation.
Let’s continue to cast ourselves down. To confess our sins, to be at the service of others rather than have others be at our service. Let us become the scapegoats of this world so that at the Resurrection, which the end of this Holy season commemorates, we will enter into the Father’s glory, worthy of his praise.
Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. And every one who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.