What the Transfiguration Says About Prayer

Russian-inspired icon of the Transfiguration (artist unknown)

Russian-inspired icon of the Transfiguration (artist unknown)

While reflecting on today’s Mass readings, a day we celebrate the Transfiguration, I am moved by words written by the Holy Father.

“The Transfiguration is a prayer event; it displays visibly what happens when Jesus talks with his Father: the profound interpenetration of his being with God, which then becomes pure light. In his oneness with the Father, Jesus is himself “light from light.” The reality that he is in the deepest core of his being, which Peter tried to express in his confession—that reality becomes perceptible to the senses at this moment: Jesus being in the light of God, his own being-light as Son.”

From Jesus of Nazareth by Pope Benedict XVI.

What an inspiration and challenge for Lent, a time when many of us are trying to improve our prayer lives. We pray more often, more deeply, more earnestly, more from our hearts. Perhaps, we spend more time doing so in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, just “wasting time” with Jesus like we might with a best friend, perhaps our spouse. We open our hearts and share our deepest selves for no purpose other than our longing for communion in each other’s presence. However, sometimes we may not feel His presence and begin to wonder why we should bother, if this relationship that sometimes seems rather one-way is even real. In his reflection on the Transfiguration, the Holy Father assures us it is, that prayer is indeed real communication with a real person in a real relationship. In continuing to persevere in prayer, our relationship with the One who should be our Best Friend will continue to grow in strength and deepen in intimacy. Like a best friend who is there for us in our hour of need, we will find that the time we “wasted” with Jesus was hardly wasted at all.

Jesus, I long for you, as a parched land longs for rain. Help me to till the soil of my heart by persevering in prayer, so the graces you pour out on me may bear fruit. Give me the patience, strength, and endurance to never tire of wasting time with you, my Best Friend. Amen.

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