Longing for Christ’s Radiant Glory

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I was reading an article on Lent. What is its purpose? Simply stated: To grow closer to God. Most of us begin the
season, the author said with good intentions. We are going to pray more, give up more, contribute more—and then we find excuses! Boy, oh boy! That’s me! I was hooked. I read on.

To summarize the author’s ideas on “giving up”: We give up all this “stuff” be it food, drink, computer time, favorite TV, whatever. “I look at this as a negative,” he said. Then he went on: “If not eating chocolate brings you closer to Jesus, trod on. But if it just fills your mind with thoughts of chocolate, what’s the point?”

Now I, personally, do feel that some self denial during Lent or at any time can strengthen us against sin. I am convinced that saying “No” to chocolate, or any other earthly desire can make us stronger in saying “No” when temptation comes around. So let’s say that self denial can build “spiritual character” and that is a positive! Giving up certain things like TV and computer time can give us more time to spend in prayer or maybe in some positive family time. God would undoubtedly prefer some loving family time to hours spent surfing the net, or absorbing all the juicy gossip on Facebook. And of course, “giving up” can also result in the positive of donating the money we save to someone who really needs it. (Rice Bowl, anyone?)

Then, there is the positive act of spending more time in prayer. I hope that whatever we have decided to do for Lent results in that to some degree. After all, it is through prayer that we get to know Jesus better and that is what Lent is really all about. We could also take on a volunteer spot to help someone else out. I have a friend who each year, husband and kids in tow, spent Friday evening serving at her parish’s weekly Lenten Fish Fry and trust me, while such an activity can be fun, it is also a sacrifice after spending 8 hours running around the ER!

So what does all of this have to do with today’s Gospel reading: The Transfiguration of Our Lord. Jesus took His most trusted apostles away from it all, to a high mountain. God the Father again reaffirmed that “This is my Beloved Son”. Christ was shown in all His Glory! When we think of doing things for Lent–whatever it may be to bring us closer to Jesus, it is never easy if we truly give it our all. We all know that life itself isn’t easy. There are trials, and illness and suffering and lots and lots of sin. It is so easy to get discouraged! This is why the Church, every year on the 2nd Sunday of Lent, gives us the Transfiguration to encourage us. Jesus knew how distraught the disciples would be over the crucifixion. What an ignominious death for their Leader! And what would they do without Him? So as encouragement for them (and for us), He showed them His radiant Glory and we know too, that someday we shall see that radiant Glory if we just live in faith and hope and love.

Linda Caminiti