Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Grief and Glory
As I write this message, the entire globe focuses attention on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russian military force's violence upon Ukrainians reaches us via television and social media. But, as with Ukrainians, it is with many other people in other climes that we don’t get to see on TV and social media. Griefs and sorrows attend to a great swath of humanity as we speak. Equally, on personal or individual levels, we know of sorrows and griefs consequent upon our experiences of suffering and pain. Jesus’ disciples also had this notion of suffering. Before the account in Lk 9:28-38, Jesus had instructed his disciples about the need to carry their crosses daily and follow him. Before explaining the cost of discipleship to them, Jesus revealed in verse 22 of Lk 9 that “The Son of Man must suffer many things, be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” The prognosis of sufferings, sorrows, and grief must have drained the hope and confidence of his followers.
The manifestation of his glory to his closest disciples, Peter, John, and James, on the Mount of Transfiguration is not only a fulfillment of the Law and the prophets; it was also meant to boost the faith and hope of his followers whenever they experience misery in life. The manifestation of God’s presence on the mountain is designed to strengthen Jesus himself when he faces his agony from Gethsemane to Golgotha. It is also to boost the hope and faith of his followers when they experience suffering and tragedy in the course of living their faith in God. As St. Leo the Great wrote, “The principal aim of the Transfiguration was to banish from the disciples’ souls the scandal of the Cross.” Jesus provides a source of consolation for them amid their sorrows due to the cross they will be called to carry.
In whatever condition of suffering, no matter the woes and griefs that we may experience in life, we are reminded of the great manifestation of Jesus’ glory. When we remain with him, and in his presence like Peter, John, and James, Jesus will console us and strengthen our faith. Staying in His presence is what we should aim to do more during this Lent- find and dwell long in the consoling and strengthening presence of Jesus. Praying to him, especially in His Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament, is a unique way of beholding his divine glory on the Mount of Transfiguration. In His heavenly glory, we retrieve his grace to live through whatever grief we may experience in life due to the suffering and tragedy that is our human lot.
Will you spend quality time with Jesus and experience His glory in Eucharistic Adoration? When we come before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, we are on a kind of mountain of Transfiguration where like Peter, we say to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here….” Come to Jesus; it is good to be in his presence. Come to adore his glory in the Holy Eucharist. Let him restore your hope and faith amid miseries that may be turning your lives upside down. In the glory of his presence in the Eucharist, we draw hope and faith to see us through the sorrows and sadness life throws at us. Jesus’ love and life outlast any sadness and grief. Come walk with him during his passion as we pray the Stations of the Cross on Fridays in Lent at 7 pm. I invite you to come to stay with Jesus.
Fr. Bernard, O.P.