August 6, 2009
Transfiguration of the Lord
Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up a mountain to pray. While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem. Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep, but becoming fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As they were about to part from him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is good that we are here; let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." But he did not know what he was saying. While he was still speaking, a cloud came and cast a shadow over them, and they became frightened when they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, "This is my chosen Son; listen to him." After the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. They fell silent and did not at that time tell anyone what they had seen.
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in your wondrous shining glory, although this is hidden from my eyes. I hope in the peace and everlasting joy of the world to come, for this world is a valley of tears. I love you, even though I am not always able to discern the love in your intentions when you permit me to suffer. You are my God and my all.
Petition: Lord, detach my heart from the world, and allow me to live for love of you.
1. The Great Exodus
Jesus was conversing with Moses and Elijah about his exodus: the liberation of mankind from the slavery to sin. He was not speaking about the miracles he would perform, the comforts or beauty of this world, or the ambitions he might hold. He was not concerned with the opportunities he might have to use his talents, to achieve great things, to win esteem from others, to make a name for himself, or to rest and relax. Jesus was not speaking about any of these things. His only desire was his exodus – his suffering and death and departure from this world to glorify his Father, fulfilling his will by saving mankind.
2. The Promised Land
Our hearts can love and be attached to many things: ambitions, desires, hopes, esteem, comfort, getting things done, using our talents, self-fulfillment. Our Lord chose to subordinate all these possibilities to the love of his Father. This is what it means to follow Christ and be “detached” from the world: to be ready to give up any of these goods for love of Christ, should he require us to do so. We must be so in love with Christ that we esteem him more than all of these other loves. This is the true Promised Land and true liberation from the slavery of egoism. The fruits of dying to self in this way are joy, peace, love and eternal life.
3. Rising from a Seed
“Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat” (John 12:24). All of our loves have to be purified, dying like seeds in the ground, because all of our loves have a strong elements of self-centeredness embedded in them. It is this self-centeredness that must be uprooted and die. If we analyze what we love we will see that this is true. A wife who loves her husband may experience a self-centered aspect of her love that causes her to seek to control him. A father who loves his son might punish him out of his anger instead of for the son’s greater good. The self-centered element of our love impoverishes and tarnishes it, causing us, in reality, to love much less than we are capable of loving.
Conversation with Christ: Lord, free my heart from every selfish aspect of my love. Help me make that generous step of “dying to self” in this way. Help me to understand that this will always lead to true freedom and joy in my heart and to a greater capacity of true self-giving.
Resolution: I will make a generous decision to overcome some area of selfishness in a relationship today.
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