Monday, October 15, 2007

4th Luminous Mystery: The Transfiguration (Peter)

To be honest, I felt a bit stupid. I was curled up on the ground in terror and yet, when Jesus spoke and I looked up, he was the only person there, apart from James and John, of course, and they were making fools of themselves just as I was. Jesus must have thought we were real idiots up there on the mountain, surrounded by nothing much other than mountain, and yet quaking in fear.

Of course, things were a bit different only a few minutes ago. I really do not know what to say or how to describe what happened. You will probably think that I am just rambling on and that I must have actually fallen asleep and begun to dream, but I promise you that I was awake. I kept pinching myself to make sure that I was not sleeping, I promise you. In any case, James and John were every bit as stupefied as I was.

You see, the four of us had strolled up Tabor, chatting amongst ourselves and enjoying the mildness of the afternoon. We knew that Jesus wanted some peace and quiet for prayer, so after we had eaten, we quite happily relaxed on the warm slopes. We soon began to doze, but something made us sit up suddenly. I am unsure whether there was a sound because I can remember nothing.

All I know for certain is that when we sat up, Jesus was still there, but he was talking to two other men. I have no idea how I knew that the two newcomers were none other than Moses and Elijah. Their clothes were similar to those that we are wearing, but there was something about them that was different. They did not glow: that would be an exaggeration, but there was a glow about them. It was not light and yet it was light. How can I explain that? I have never seen anything like it and do not have the words to express what I saw with my own two eyes.

Then I looked at Jesus and truly did not believe my eyes. He was the same as always, but his robe was whiter than anything I could possible imagine. They were beyond white, if there is such a thing. They shone with a brilliance beyond the powers of any earthly bleacher to produce. Yet the brilliance did not dazzle. It was so strange.

Jesus himself also glowed, but beyond that which I could see in Moses and Elijah. The best way I can describe it is to say that if you think for a moment of someone who is extremely happy, then that person is radiant. Well, that is the sort of inner light that Jesus contained within himself…a happiness that was deeper and so far beyond anything on earth that it was truly ‘other-worldly’. He had become truly radiant, whilst remaining himself.

Moses and Elijah were speaking to Jesus, but not as superiors to an inferior, not even as equals. These two great men addressed Jesus as though they were infinitely subordinate to him…to Jesus, who travels in my boat, helps me to pull in the nets, shares my bread and fish, and sleeps on the ground along with the rest of us. Jesus is just ordinary, is he not? Why should Moses and Elijah speak to him with such deference?

But is Jesus ‘ordinary’? He does ‘ordinary’ things for sure, but he heals people, gives comfort to those who are distressed in any way, knows what is deepest in a person’s heart and is generous beyond anything I have ever seen or experienced. Yes, he is extraordinary, but not in a way that diminishes anybody. He treats others with such reverence and care.

I looked up and saw ‘only’ Jesus. He was as I have always known him. He had not changed, but I had. Perhaps four of us were transfigured on the mountain: Jesus let us see his reality. For James, John and me, it was a decisive moment. We could never again be the same. From now on we will continue to deepen our friendship with this carpenter from Nazareth, but our questions will be on a totally different level. He is growing greater whilst we are growing smaller!

God bless,
Sr. Janet