Lord Jesus Christ,
You see how bent over we are
Under the weight of the world’s habits.
Clear the path within our soul
Lift up our heads to see you
Our hearts to love you
And welcome You.
Our lectionary guide bids us join Jesus as he walks further north into the higher mountain elevations beyond the Sea of Galilee for a time of prayer and retreat. Peter, James and John are also present as Jesus walks a short distance, and then turns to Abba in prayer. We wait.
As sometimes happens when we enter into retreat, we are more tired than we realize. Our tiredness may be due to fatigue, to overwork, or to avoidance of God. The disciples fall asleep. But there can also be times when God desires to reveal something to us, and God’s presence and activity awakens our soul, mind, and body. The disciples are suddenly pulled out of sleep by such a revelation: the dazzling appearance of Jesus, and the presence of Moses and Elijah talking with him about his departure from Jerusalem. Not only are they jerked awake, but feel terrified.
When terror kidnaps us, we react in many different ways. Peter begins talking, making plans for action. Later he admits that he did not know what he was saying. Words can become a wall around us and within us, keeping fear at bay, and preventing persons from coming close. Words can also become a wall between ourselves and God, thus keeping God at a distance.
God responds by surrounding these frightened disciples with a cloud. At first the cloud feels just as fearful, but then comes a voice which moves through their fear and terror into their souls: “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” God brings direction, pointing to Jesus the Beloved Son. And then God gives more direction: “listen to him!”
This cloud experience is an invitation to unlearn what they think they know regarding the Messiah, and to learn who Jesus truly is. This unlearning is a profound act of letting go of our pre-judgments and preconceived ideas. We are led into a place where we do not know; we are invited to learn to be at home in this obscure place.
We need to let go of our prejudgments in order to receive the knowings which God gives us.
Enter into the gospel narrative on the mountain, and be present as God speaks to you in the cloud. Simply be present. Do not try to do or say anything. Be silent, listen. Contemplate what God says, and then be present and quiet. Allow yourself simply to be in God’s presence. If your mind wanders, return to being present by repeating to yourself the words of God to you, “This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to him!” Resist the temptation to makes plans–as Simon Peter tried to do. Simply be present.
Help me to listen
Free me from being blind to who you are
Release me from captivity to the world’s ways
Help me to listen
2/4 Monday: Luke 9:28-36
2/5 Tuesday: Luke 9:37-43
2/6 Wednesday: Psalm 99
2/7 Thursday: Exodus 34:29-35
2/8 Friday: 2 Corinthians 3:12 – 4:2
2/9 Saturday: Luke 9:28-36
2/10 Sunday: Luke 9:37-43