A Moment of Revelation
Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord

Antonio P. Pueyo
Reproduced with Permission

In many people’s lives there come privileged moments of intellectual and intuitive clarity. It is a moment when one grasps a truth, or a principle as very real and undeniable. There are many words we use to refer to this experience. Some call it peak experience, or enlightenment, or “satori”. It can come at any moment, although more often one has to prepare the grounds for such an experience. It may come at a time when one is praying, or is holding a newborn baby, or just sitting and looking at the beauty of nature, or at a moment of crisis when one is at the crossroad of decision-making.

Action starter: Recall your peak moments. Were there times you felt very close to God?

These peak moments reveal to us the certainty of some truths such as God is real, life has direction and purpose, suffering has a meaning, I am loved and forgiven, each person is a gift, everything is connected. Even the “Our Father” can become an experience of enlightenment when we realize the full meaning of the word “Father”. At such times all one can do is accept the gift of the moment.

The apostles Peter, James, and John experienced such moment of revelation on the mountain of transfiguration. They were transported to new heights of awareness. For a brief moment they saw the Lord Jesus in His divine splendor (Mk 9:2-10). They heard the voice that said, “This is my beloved Son.” Such was the impact of the event on Peter that many years later as he recalled that instant he wrote, “We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. (2 Peter 16).” It was an undeniable experience, “We ourselves heard this voice come down from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain. (v.18).”

It was a passing moment. They had to come down from the mountain. From the glory of the transfiguration, the Lord had to face the humiliation of the cross. Peter, James and John also each in his own way went through the passion. Peter wavered and denied Jesus. John stayed faithful up to the foot of the cross. There would follow times of failure and times of triumph but always to remain in their memories was the experience of the transfiguration.

No doubt, this experience would provide them with strength in the trials ahead. In their difficult missionary journeys and during periods of persecution, the memory of the transfiguration and other memories of Jesus would become their source of support.

Beautiful memories are our source of strength. Peak moments and times of clarity are the backdrop against which we compare low moments and times of confusion. When a mother argues and fights with her teen-aged daughter, it would be good to recall the times she was a baby, a toddler, and a lovely pre-teens girl. When a father brings his drug-crazed son to a rehabilitation center, memories of him as a loving and healthy boy could strengthen his resolve. A priest or a religious in the midst of a vocation crisis may find comfort and courage by going back to memories of his initial calling and initial attraction to the religious life. It would be well for a politician, a policeman, or a teacher who has reached a low point in his life and has become caught up in a system of corruption to go back to memories of his youthful idealism when all he wanted to do was to serve.

This was the importance of the transfiguration in the life of the three apostles. It was an inspiring memory. The good news is that we too can have our moments on the mountain. The Lord Jesus can reveal Himself and His will for us in a unique and clear manner. It is a gift given to those who persevere in prayer and who take the time to allow God to reveal Himself. Although the experience of closeness to God is a gift, we too have to prepare ourselves for it. We have to find a place (not necessarily a mountain). We have to spend time to quiet ourselves. In fact, our own homes, in the early hours of the morning or late at night may provide the time and place.

We will experience the Lord in a new way, sometimes intensely, at other times gently. When it happens it is a memory that will always stay with us.