Yesterday at Mass we heard the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus. It is a truly wondrous and awe-inspiring event. The disciples saw Jesus in all His divine glory shining brilliantly before their eyes. They saw Him talking with two of the most respected and holiest men, Moses and Elijah. How amazing to be witness to the Lord in such a holy and divine moment!
In the midst of this, Peter wanted to help out. He sees Jesus standing there with Elijah and Moses and offers to make tents for the three. I wonder what motivated Peter to make such an offer? Perhaps he was simply responding to what he saw as a fundamental need in front of him. Or maybe he thought by building tents for them to rest in, Moses and Elijah would stay longer.
Obviously I do not know what Peter was thinking in that moment. But if I try to imagine myself in that position I think I know what my reasoning would be. And I can’t help but wonder if Peter’s was the same…What if he was feeling overwhelmed by the encounter and felt the need to do something?
When I feel myself overwhelmed by a situation, often my first response is, what can i do? In my feeble human attempts to make sense of the things in my life that may fill me with emotions, I feel the need to do something. To make myself useful. Sometimes this urge is good and motivates me to take action where needed. But many times, my desire to act pushes aside the greater need to stop, take in the moment, and listen for God’s voice to be my guide.
As we have been trying to have a family, there have been many when I feel overwhelmed with emotions. When I feel myself getting upset, confused, or discouraged, often my first thought is, “I need to do something.” But the fact is that many times, there is simply nothing I can do.
My frustration at not knowing what to do next only overwhelms me even more. My mind begins to race and I feel as though the only way I can find peace in the situation is to find the next action to take. I fool myself into thinking that if I am not actively doing something, I am only prolonging the situation or even moving backwards.
While Peter was offering his suggestion to make tents for Jesus, Moses and Elijah, a cloud came over them. Suddenly from the cloud came the voice of God, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” Sometimes in the midst of life’s most overwhelming moments, rather than rush into action, we simply need to stop and listen to the voice of God.
I may not be witness to the glory of Our Lord transfigured before my eyes, but I know I am surrounded by His glory. The wonders of His creation, the countless blessings He has bestowed on us, the very gift of Himself on the cross for our sins and the miraculous gift of Himself to us each and every Mass in the Eucharist. Yes the glory of the Lord is not hard to find if I simply take a minute to stop and open my eyes.
The voice of God may not come to me from a cloud in the sky, but I still can hear Him. Just as He told Peter, James, and John on the mountain, I can hear Him telling me that Jesus, who came and died for our sins and rose again to bring us all new life, He truly is the beloved Son of God! And just as the disciples were instructed to listen to Him, I am called to do the same.
What does He tell me? He says not to worry (Mt. 6:34). Do not be afraid! (Mk. 6:50) He tells me to ask God for the things I need and to trust that He will provide (Mt. 7:7-11). He tells me just how much God loves each one of us (Jn. 3:16). He tells me to pray to Him as a Father (Lk. 11:1-4). He tells me that He is always with me (Mt. 28:20).
Knowing all that He has told us and seeing His glory surrounding me, I feel at peace. I do not need to find the solution on my own or rush into action simply for the sake of doing something. I need only to keep focused on Christ, to pray, and to listen to Him as He guides me.