Sunday, March 12, 2017

Transfigure Us, O God

One of my Lenten practices has been to read a chapter of Joan Chittister's, In Search of Belief every morning. In each chapter of the book she writes about a phrase of the Creed, breaking down the prayer. This morning I read, "He Was Conceived by the Holy Spirit."

Here is the quote that received a few underlines:

"The Spirit opened Jesus to a world beyond his own."

I thought about the implications of this, which brought a line of poetry to mind, as well as a few verses from Scripture. First, the poetry:

"The world is charged with the grandeur of God."

Gerard Manley Hopkins reminds us that sacred presence immerses this world, and we know this is true because Jesus, the Christ, came to share his humanity, as well as his divinity with us. It was the Holy Spirit that allowed Jesus to do this, to enter into the world. So, I also thought of the oft-heard Philippians 2:5-11:

"Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God."

We certainly aren't going to be able to move beyond ourselves and stop grasping our old, tired ways without some grace much greater than ourselves beckoning us forward. We certainly aren't going to be open to the Spirit at work in us without listening to grandeur of God all around us. This all fits quite nicely with today's Gospel. We must be transfigured if we are going to allow the Spirit to get to work in our lives.

Last night we heard a lovely reflection on the Transfiguration during our Lenten vigil. We were reminded that we must be transfigured in order to bring about the reign of God. Interspersed with the reflection was a beautiful music meditation.


Break us away from ourselves, God. Break us open to Your world, filled with Your Spirit.

Let us walk in the holy presence.