Monday, March 13, 2006

The Pope On the Transfiguration

This is the Pope's address from the midday Angelus on March 12.

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

Yesterday morning the week of spiritual exercises ended, which were preached here, in the Apostolic Palace, by the retired patriarch of Venice, Cardinal Marco Cé. They were days dedicated entirely to listening to the Lord, who always speaks to us, but who expects more attention from us, especially in the Lenten season.

Today's Gospel passage also reminds us of this, when proposing the account of the transfiguration of Christ on Mount Tabor. Astonished in the presence of the transfigured Lord, who was speaking with Moses and Elias, Peter, James and John were suddenly enveloped in a cloud from which a voice arose that proclaimed: "This is my beloved Son, listen to him" (Mark 9:7).

When one has the grace to sense a strong experience of God, it is as though seeing something similar to what the disciples experienced during the Transfiguration: For a moment they experienced ahead of time something that will constitute the happiness of paradise. In general, it is brief experiences that God grants on occasions, especially in anticipation of harsh trials. However, no one lives "on Tabor" while on earth.

Human existence is a journey of faith and, as such, goes forward more in darkness than in full light, with moments of obscurity and even profound darkness. While we are here, our relationship with God develops more with listening than with seeing; and even contemplation takes place, so to speak, with closed eyes, thanks to the interior light lit in us by the word of God.

The Virgin Mary herself, notwithstanding the fact that she was the human creature closest to God, walked day after day as though on a pilgrimage of faith (cf. "Lumen Gentium," 58), keeping and meditating constantly in her heart the word that God addressed to her, whether through the sacred Scriptures or through events of the life of her son, in which she recognized and accepted the Lord's mysterious voice.

This is, therefore, the gift and commitment for each one of us in the Lenten Season: To listen to Christ, like Mary. To listen to him in the word, preserved in sacred Scripture. To listen to him in the very events of our lives, trying to read in them the messages of providence. To listen to him, finally, in our brothers, especially in the little ones and the poor, for whom Jesus himself asked our concrete love. To listen to Christ and to obey his voice. This is the only way that leads to joy and love.

I thought this was nice and to the point. I bolded my favorite parts. God sustains us with hope in darkness. It is a message for lent, as we move toward the Cross and Resurrection. But it is also a message for every day.

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