“Christ is alive in Christians. Our faith teaches us that man, in the state of grace, is divinized — filled with God. But we have to join him through faith, letting his life show forth in ours to such an extent that each Christian is not simply alter Christus: another Christ, but ipse Christus: Christ himself!” (St. Josemaria Escriva)
I’ve always loved the scripture of the transfiguration and so, too, its Feast day. Some years back, the words ‘listen to Him’ struck me and have always stayed with me. When this happens, when a scripture has its own space in the heart rather than being part of a memory or life experience, then it’s connected to that original purpose God has for us.
We are purposely and wonderfully created (Ps. 139:14). And He enjoys us (GEN 1:31). So much so that He wants to be part of the small stuff of our life. Not to rule like a tyrant but to love like only the Creator can. God wants us to listen to Jesus so that Jesus can transform us into Himself (1Jn 4:12-17). What closer relationship can there be than to be than to be in Him and Him in me?
Like any close relationship, fear must be surrendered. The walk with Christ hones the soul to both speak honestly with Him and to listen openly even when convicted by the Spirit. The purpose and benefit to the daily Examen is this honest conversation with God about when He pulled us in His direction, or when His Holy Spirit nipped our heals trying to prevent us from taking the wrong direction. When we consider risk-bearing choices, we may have God on the mind but that isn’t the same experience as God in our heart directing us. Fr. Marco Rupnik explains a person ‘not open to interior certitude [in making decisions] and therefore does not know the Father, becomes the bait for many temptations.” Some things to ask in the examen: To what depth do I experience the Holy Spirit guiding my will? In what ways were my actions, gestures, emotions, sentiments, particularly my decisions (decisive will) in compliance with the Holy Spirit? It is all part of the healing that sanctifies the soul.
“From the event of the Transfiguration I would like to take two significant elements that can be summed up in two words: ascent and descent. We all need to go apart, to ascend the mountain in a space of silence, to find ourselves and better perceive the voice of the Lord. This we do in prayer. But we cannot stay there! Encounter with God in prayer inspires us anew to “descend the mountain” and return to the plain where we meet many brothers weighed down by fatigue, sickness, injustice, ignorance, poverty both material and spiritual. To these brothers in difficulty, we are called to bear the fruit of that experience with God, by sharing the grace we have received.” (Pope Francis’ 2014 Angelus Message on the Transfiguration)
The best way we can bring others to Jesus is to first know Him deeply ourselves. Our authenticity will touch their hearts, and the Spirit will open their eyes. Just as with Ignatius’ own story, it only takes ‘a little’ to change a life. The outcome of prayer is relationship with God.
“These are the meditations which come upon the Christian to console him, while he is with Christ upon the holy mount. And, when he descends to his daily duties, they are still his inward strength, though he is not allowed to tell the vision to those around him. They make his countenance to shine, make him cheerful, collected, serene, and firm in the midst of all temptation, persecution, or bereavement.” (Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman, Sermon 9)
Pray for our worldwide Church that we all might have respite with Him on Mount Tabor:
O God, you have willed that your Church be the sacrament of salvation for all nations, so that Christ’s saving work may continue to the end of the ages; stir up, we pray, the hearts of your faithful and grant that they may feel a more urgent call to work for the salvation of every creature, so that from all the peoples on earth one family and one people of your own may arise and increase. Amen.
(from the Roman Missal via Apostleship of Prayer)
Image credit: Carl Bloch, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
This post was originally published on The Face of Grace Project and is reprinted here with permission.