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Year of Faith

A Transfiguring Moment

When Jesus led Peter, James, and John up that high mountain, their lives were anything but normal.  Moses and Elijah appeared and began to speak to Jesus, as he was transfigured before them, his garments a glistening, intense white.  We call this event “the Transfiguration.”  (this weekend’s Gospel)

As we read the text, we should ask ourselves, “Why are we hearing about Moses and Elijah appearing to Jesus in the readings during Lent?”  One important reason is that these men all experienced a forty-day period of preparation.   Moses stayed on the mountain of God for forty days.  Elijah traveled for forty days before he had a vision.  And Jesus spent forty days in the wilderness, praying and fasting, before his public ministry. 

“Forty days” in the Scriptures–and in the life of the Church–traditionally signifies a time of preparation, discipline, devotion, and testing.  God gave the three disciples a sneak peek at the glory of the revelation of Christ that was first witnessed by Moses on the Mount.  They would not immediately understand the purpose of the suffering Christ was about to endure.  But having witnessed that moment of the resurrected glory, they would one day come to understand that God’s redemption would be accomplished, not by a conquering Messiah, but through one who would suffer. 

This Transfiguration anticipates not only Christ’s glorification but our own as well.  Paul said, “It is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”

ACTION STEP      How will you unite yourself this Lent with Christ in the “desert” in a particular area of your life, so that you too can experience the glory of Easter?

Ascension Press   Year of Faith      by Jeff Cavins

Year of Faith-February-An Everlasting Love

This year, February is the month when love is literally at the center of it all.  Of course, here comes Valentine’s Day.  However, this year, Ash Wednesday is February 13, the day before Valentine’s Day.

The core symbol of the celebration of love I am speaking of  is not marked by fancy hearts, clever rhymes, or chocolates but by the sign of the cross, marked in ashes on our foreheads.  The cross is our symbol of the greatest love known.  Jesus Christ reveals God’s love made visible.

During the forty days of Lent, we walk the path of remembering all that love embraces–a way of the cross that reveals the true nature of love, takes on the sin of humanity, overcomes death and teaches us the substance and meaning of hope.

Love is not a passing feeling or a warm fuzzy sentiment expressed in a card.  Love is a response to a deep encounter with God in faith.  God’s love brings us to life and is the source of all love.  Through grace, love draws us outward to others, providing both witness and action.  In his encyclical ” Deus Caritas  Est” (God is Love), Pope Benedict asserts, “Love grows through love.  Love is ‘divine’ because it comes from God and unites us to God; through this unifying process it makes us a ‘we’ which transcends our divisions and makes us one, until in the end God is ‘all in all.'” (Deus Caritas Est, #18)

This month we offer three essential ways to live our faith anew as we walk this path of love.  Three dimensions of love to embrace:  Love Listens, Love Forgives, and Love Reaches Out.

“Love is the light, and in the end, the only light that can always illuminate a world grown dim and give us the courage needed to keep living and working.  Love is possible, and we are able to practice it because we are created in the image of God.”  Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est, #39

As we begin our Lenten journey, may the cross remind us to embrace the depth and breadth of God’s love.

by Sr. Katherine Feely, SND