Monday, August 6th, is the Feast of Jesus’ Transfiguration which we meditate on in the Fourth Luminous Mystery of the Rosary. One question I’ve always had about the Transfiguration is why Jesus felt it was necessary. After all, He had traveled throughout the region preaching God’s Word and healing people. The apostles, for the most part, already believed He was the Messiah. Why this extra revelation? And what meaning does it have for the Catholic faithful today?
The Transfiguration was necessary, in part, because Jesus’ ministry had become routine to the apostles. I bet they must have lost some of their sense of wonder and awe while ministering with Jesus. They traveled from village to village listening to Jesus tell the same (or similar) parables, heal the sick, and occasionally admonish them for not understanding Him. While Jesus’ miracles probably amazed them initially, they probably lost some of the awe over time.
Wait, what? How could being witness to Jesus’ miracles lose their awe? Well, let’s look at how many of us treat the amazing miracle of Mass. How often do you fall into the Go to Mass, receive communion, repeat cycle? At Mass, we are in the presence of Jesus, the same Jesus the apostles served with, and yet we’re probably already thinking about what donut we’ll get afterward or how we’ll spend the rest of the day. The miracle that occurs during the consecration comes and goes for us without much thought similar to maybe how the apostles started seeing Jesus’ healings.
And it’s not just Mass either. Even if you have a more regular prayer life, it can also descend into a routine and lose its awe. While I try to pray the Rosary every day, I admit that some days are better than others. I can often pray an entire decade of the Rosary only to realize that I didn’t even consciously know what mystery I was praying. I’m having a conversation with God and I’m thinking more about what I’ll have for dinner!
When Peter, James, and John witnessed the Transfiguration, it must have been a real wakeup call for them. Maybe it snapped them out of any complacency they were feeling about their calling. It took a great event to give them a needed kick and boost of energy
We don’t have Jesus physically transfiguring before us today. Most of us will never have a direct apparition of Jesus, Mary, or the saints telling us what to do. So how do we re-energize our spiritual zeal? First, we need to admit when the miraculous blessings of our faith have become routine and resolve to re-ignite our passion. Taking a cue from the Transfiguration, maybe we have to do something out of the ordinary. Some ideas include:
- Going to Mass on a weekday
- Attending Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
- Receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation
- Joining a parish prayer group or organization
- Finding new prayers to say
- Reading a book or article either on a saint or written by a saint
It would be nice if Jesus personally invited us to something as wonderful as the Transfiguration. And in a way, He does through prayer. He offers Himself to us all the time but we have to be listening to Him in the silence of prayer and meditation (ehem… the Rosary!). When we do listen, amazing things can happen whether it be a physical miracle or just a renewed zeal for living our faith.