Jesus’ Transfiguration was all about sustainability for the Apostles. He knew that they were going to witness some horrific things in Jerusalem shortly. So, He showed them in a very dramatic way a vision of His glory; a vision of hope. After the Resurrection and Pentecost, when they understood, they could hope that they would one day enjoy the glory of the full Beatific Vision once they had walked their own Via Dolorosa.
The Transfiguration neatly bridges the Old Covenant and the New: God’s love and justice to His love and mercy. Along with Elijah and Moses, the “cloud of glory,” the Holy Spirit, which guided the Israelites in the desert, appears to the three apostles. Jesus’ appearance shines bright and God the Father proclaims His Son to them. Then, He says something else. He says, “Listen to Him.”
I have read that Peter, James, and John glimpsed Jesus’ soul on Mt. Thabor. They were given a small insight, as it were, into the Beatific vision. They had been shaken by the announcement of His passion, so Jesus permitted some rays from His blessed soul to shine forth for a few minutes. Jesus was allowing them to see the close connection between His suffering and death and His glory. Our Divine Master was teaching them and us that it is impossible to reach the glory of the Transfiguration without passing through the suffering. “Listen to Him.”
Look around you. We are surrounded by sin and death: millions of pre-born humans murdered; the homosexual lifestyle promoted and celebrated; Christians persecuted and martyred; wars waged on many continents. Destruction is everywhere; sin abounds everywhere. And, sin disfigures the soul.
Grace, however, transfigures the soul. One lesson of the Transfiguration is that what has been disfigured by sin cannot regain its supernatural beauty (grace) except by purifying suffering. Then, and only then, can we live the promise of Romans 8:18. “For I reckon that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come, that shall be revealed in us.”
On Thabor, after God the Father speaks, the vision disappears. The apostles see no one but Jesus. They come down the mountain with no one but Jesus. This is another lesson of the Transfiguration. God consoles us and gives us hope, yes; however, we must always see Him alone; Jesus alone. He must suffice for us. We must “Listen to Him.”
The time has come for us to repeat, “Jesus alone!” and to come down from Thabor with Him to follow Him, even to Calvary; especially to Calvary. He is our All. He alone suffices.
The colloquy from the Divine Intimacy for the second Sunday of Lent ends with this prayer that I share with you now as we continue our Lenten journey. “The light and glory of Thabor encourage me. Thank you, O Lord, for having allowed me, if only for a few moments, to contemplate Your splendor and to enjoy Your Divine Consolation. Fortified and encouraged by this, I come down from this mountain to follow You, You alone to Calvary.”
I will listen to You. You are enough!