Transfiguration and Religious Life
Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord
“Those who allow themselves to be seized by this love cannot help but abandon everything to follow Him.”
Saint John Paul II’s words have been a personal inspiration to me all throughout my religious life. My copy of Vita Consecrata has been read and re-read numerous times. It is there that he sets the Transfiguration as an icon of consecrated life. And what a beautiful icon it is!
When Jesus took Peter, James, and John up on Mount Tabor and allowed them to see His divine glory it was to prepare them for the scandal of the Cross that they would encounter when they came down the mountain. And He prepares me in much the same way. If I want to be able to remain faithful to Him as I serve Him in the disguise of the poor and those in need, I must first encounter Him in the intimacy of prayer, in the warmth of community life, in the reassuring light of scripture, and above all in the strength of the Sacraments, principally the Holy Eucharist.
How pointless it would be for me to try to psyche myself up for a full day of service to the Church! It would be failure from the start. Rather, I must allow the radiance of Christ to “seize” me, to overtake me, to so impress glory upon me that my heart cries out with Peter, “Lord, it is good that we are here!” There is no other way that I would be prepared to encounter His bruised and tear-stained face hidden in those I serve. There is no other source of courage that would sustain me when I must shoulder the Cross with my Savior, no other safe haven when at the end of the day consumatum est, it is finished, and I may rest with my Sweet Jesus. And there is no other rising Sun whose rays could bid me rise again. This is my life, and what a radiant life it is!
“Transfiguration and Religious Life” was previously published by the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles. Used with permission.
Art: The Transfiguration, Andrey Ivanovich Ivanov, 1807, PD-US author’s term of life plus 70 years or less, Wikimedia Commons.