Reflection on the Transfiguration

Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen. (Luke 9:28-36 NRSV).

All of us could use a good transfiguration moment these days. The continuing sickness and death by COVID-19 is suffocating in so many ways. We hear of the rising number of new cases. Day after day we read about people who have died from the coronavirus. Will it never end?

The celebration of the Transfiguration of Christ is so very timely. Jesus took with Him Peter, James and John, and all of us up the mountain as we read and hear the Gospel account. When the voice from Heaven says “This is my Son, my Beloved, listen to Him,” Jesus is proclaimed by the agape (love) of God as also the eros (love) of God. The vertical and the horizontal love of God is one with us in Jesus the Christ. The Cross on which Jesus died, is the symbol of the vertical and horizontal love of God, with Jesus’ arms forever outstretched. Is it any wonder why Peter said, “It is good to be here” ?

I am doing a personal at home retreat for a few days. During this retreat, I am reclaiming and renewing my Benedictine identity and spirituality. I am reading through the book entitled Benedict’s Way: An Ancient Monk’s Insights for a Balanced Life by Lonni Collins Pratt and the Late Fr. Daniel Homan, OSB. Yesterday I read something that spoke to me so clearly of what we are living through.

No matter what kind of ruins you stand in, keep moving, keep doing what you do, keep showing up every day. Haul yourself before God. (p.34).

We are all living through a time with what seems like endless ruins. The debris from how our lives used to be are everywhere. No one is untouched. It is in the middle of the ruins that Jesus takes us up the mountain, where God shows us God’s love and power that brings life out of death. All God asks of us is to haul ourselves before God and to listen to Jesus.

As contemplatives, prayer is our pathway to our relationship with God. Contemplative prayer is a way of life, through which what is mundane and normal becomes a way to grow closer to God and one another. Contemplative prayer is being in the presence of God and desiring nothing more than God. The Transfiguration is a contemplative mystery. When life is a mess, as it is for many of us, Jesus takes us into the wondrous mystical relationship with God by His single devoted love of God for all of us. Jesus, will take us into that relationship if we will just listen to Him.

“Let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ, and may he bring us all together to everlasting life.” (RB 1980: The Rule of St. Benedict in English, p.95).

Are you hauling yourself before God during these difficult times?

Amen.

Peace be with all who enter here.

Brother Anselm Philip King-Lowe, OSB

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Reflection on the Path of Life

“You will show me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy, and in your right hand are pleasures for evermore.” (Psalm 16:11, The Book of Common Prayer, p.600).

Traveling along on a path can bring a mixture of emotions. It is great to get away from the stress of life to walk on a new path. Yet, even a familiar path can cause some anxiety. What will we discover on the path? Will we be lifted up, or brought down by fear because of something unexpected?

The path of life that God puts before us every day is full of things we can predict. When we become too wrapped up in what is predictable, we can become too self absorbed. The unexpected and unusual will show up. It will meet us in our “cell.” It will teach us what God’s true joys and pleasures are. God finds so much joy and pleasure in us, because of God’s extravagant love. To find God’s joys and pleasures, we must let go, and allow God to show us what path we need to be on.

The contemplative is always searching for union with God in the many experiences of life. Contemplative prayer asks us to be open to what God’s paths are to learn about where God is leading us. The contemplative is looking for ways to turn ourselves over to what disturbs our comfort zones, to be reformed and reshaped to find God’s pleasures and joys that are beyond time and temporary things.

“In God’s goodness, we are already counted as God’s own…” (The Rule of Benedict : a Spirituality for the 21st Century, by Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB, p.5).

God wants the show you the path of life. Get ready to learn God’s fullness of joy and pleasures.

Amen.

Peace be with all who enter here.

Brother Anselm Philip King-Lowe, OSB

If you or someone you know could benefit from my ministry of Spiritual and Grief Companionship, visit my website.

If you feel led to buy me some coffee to help support this ministry, please scroll down to the bottom of the right sidebar and click on the Benedictine Coffee Mug. Thank you so very much.

Reflection on Way, Truth and Life

a-long-path

Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  (John 14:5-6 NRSV).

There is a spiritual danger to read these words of Jesus and presume we know exactly what Jesus is saying about Himself.  I would suggest that Jesus is talking about what He is going to do when He ascends into Heaven and later sends the Holy Spirit.  The mood of the party is about to change as to what is going to happen, and what it will mean.  It will through us into confusion.  Things as we have known them will not be the same.  What we  do next is not so much about the Who or the ending.  It is about what we do with the here and now so that we may go from here to where Jesus wants to lead us.  Previous plans will become obsolete.  What should have been, no longer applies.  What we wanted will no longer matter.

Thomas asked Jesus “How can we know the way?”  A man is finally stopping to ask for directions.  lol.   Jesus tells Thomas that He is the way, the truth and the life.   We need to be very careful about assuming that because Jesus said that He is these things, means we have the answer.  Jesus’ way, truth and life are mysterious at best.  We can presume to know that Jesus is talking about Himself, and all we have to do is follow Him from an ideology.  If we stop at what we know and understand, we will cut ourselves off from the continuing work of the Holy Spirit in our lives and relationships.

What we need to bring to our time of contemplative prayer, is that God, the Holy Spirit is calling us to turn ourselves over to the way of Jesus, so that we may know the eternal truth of God in our hearts, and search for the life that God wants us to find.  God guides us into that way, truth and life in Jesus in the here and now, to guide us onward to a renewed relationship with our true-sense of self.   A self that is not caught up in labels, positions, what we own, or have, or do.  It is our true selves, our essence in which all we know is that we are God’s beloved, and with us, God is well-pleased.

“Do not be daunted immediately by fear and run away from the road that leads to salvation.  It is bound to be narrow at the outset,  But as we progress in this way of life and in faith, we shall run on the path of God’s commandments, our hearts overflowing with the inexpressible delight of love.”  (RB: 1980: The Rule of Saint Benedict in Latin and English.  The Prologue, p.165).

When you read that Jesus is the way, truth and life, what does that mean for you?

Amen.

Brother Anselm Philip King-Lowe, OSB

See: http://www.cos-osb.org

 

Reflection on The Path of Life

Pathways

You will show me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy, and in your right hand are pleasures for evermore. (Psalm 16:11 The Book of Common Prayer, p.600).

All the news, politics and information are going wild these days.  It seems to suck all of the oxygen out of our lives.  It is easy to become confused, frustrated and depressed.

Among our many problems is that we can give ourselves over to a type of spiritual sleep walking without thinking about it.  We pray.  We read the Scriptures.  We attend Mass and read holy books.  We experience these things, because we are taken off of the path that leads to life, fullness of joy and pleasures from God’s goodness.

These words for Psalm 16:11 tell us to let go and let God by faith and trust to point us to God’s path of life.  A life that is full of God’s joy as God shares with us God’s pleasures.  We are invited into the experience of contemplative prayer with the opportunity to center ourselves on what is really important.  It is not our labels, political positions or confusion that shows us where to go or what to do.  It is God’s unconditional love that invites us to journey with the Risen Christ as He reveals the holiness of God in our broken and wounded world.  As we follow the path of life that God shows us, we experience the joys of God as God’s pleasures are shared with and by all of us who are God’s children.

May we take some time to spend in silence and solitude with God, so that we may once again be redirected to the way God wishes for us to go.

Amen.

Br. Anselm Philip King-Lowe, n/OSB