Being a disciple of Christ is hard work. To stand up for what is right when it is more popular to do what you know is wrong is tough. To preach the gospel through our words and actions despite how we might be feeling that particular day is not easy! To love our neighbors, including our enemies, is a difficult concept to comprehend let alone live out in our daily lives. And to remain filled with the joy, hope, peace, and love of Jesus Christ, even when things around us seem to be too much to handle, well that can seem impossible.
And in truth, it very well might be impossible if we had to do it alone. But the wondrous truth is that we are not alone. We never have to face these tough times of discipleship on our own. Even at times when we might not feel God’s presence, even during times when we may have strayed or turned away from the faith, God is still there. Sometimes the things going on in our own lives or the things we see on the evening news discourage us and make us feel as though all is lost. But God is still there. Remembering this even during the times we do not “feel” His presence can be a struggle. So how do we do it?
This Sunday in Mass we will hear Luke’s gospel account of the Transfiguration of Jesus. Peter, James, and John go up on the mountain with Jesus to pray. They are overcome with sleep and awake to see Jesus transfigured before them. Jesus is standing there, dazzling white in all His glory with Moses and Elijah at His side as they discuss the events to come. A cloud from heaven comes upon them and the voice of God says, “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.”
Some time ago, our wonderful parish priest gave a homily on this very gospel story that has stuck with me. He spoke of how the memory of this glorious experience remained with them and served to bring them hope in the tough times to come. They had many trials yet to face, but the moment of glory that they had witnessed would provide them with strength to carry on. It would serve as a reminder for them of the truly awesome glory of our God that surpasses any difficulties we face here on earth.
In our own lives, we have moments where we glimpse the glory of God. They may be large or small, but they are there. Maybe it is a particularly breathtaking sunrise over the ocean that, each time you think of it or see a photo, you are reminded of the glory of the Lord. Maybe it is your wedding day that you can look back on and see how clearly God’s glory was shown as you said your vows. It could be a moment during mass when you were overcome with emotion or a silent moment alone in adoration where you felt His presence in an undeniable way.
These moments of glory stick with us and remind us that yes, God is there! When things seem impossibly difficult in our own lives and when the world around us seems hopelessly lost, God has given us moments of His glory to look back upon and remember that the same God who created the sunrise, who brought you to your spouse, who is there in the Blessed Sacrament…He is here with you right now. Even as you are reading this, He is there.
No matter how bleak or dark things may appear, find the glory of God around you. Before becoming overwhelmed with stress, worry, fear, sadness, strive to remember a moment in your life when God’s glory shone through. And don’t stop there, but seek to find His glory displayed all around us each day. Collect these moments of glory and keep them safe in your heart. Use them to fill you with renewed strength to preach His gospel, to share His love, to stand up for what is right, to love those around you, and to remain filled with joy, hope, peace, and love in Christ no matter what happens.
We may not see the Lord transfigured here present be fore us like Peter, James, and John did. But we can certainly see moments of His glory all around us.