Monday, August 06, 2007

Get There Through the Cross

Today's Transfiguration Feast gospel reading (Luke 9:28-36) recounts an experience from the inner circle of the apostles, Peter, James and John. These three went up on a mountain to pray with Jesus, according to Luke, and there they saw Christ transfigured, his divine glory revealed. The gospel author says that Christ appeared surrounded by light and talking with the Old Testament saints Moses and Elijah.

How do we achieve this glory? We get there through suffering, by uniting ourselves with our Lord in the glory which is the Cross. The Gospel story itself provides a clue that this is so. This is what Jesus is discussing with Moses and Eljah during the vision, his Exodus, which he was to accomplish in Jerusalem. On the tip of our Lord's tongue, witnessed by both the Law and the Prophets, are his intention to enter the Will of His Father, even though it lead to his death.

Likewise, we are called to journey toward the Cross. Benedict XVI tackled this difficult subject during an Angelus Lenten Meditation in March:

"At the Transfiguration, the Pope recalled, “Jesus listens to the Law and the Prophets who speak to Him of his death and resurrection.” In response to that discussion, the Pope continued, “Christ enters more deeply into this mission, adhering with all of Himself to the will of the Father; and He shows us that true prayer consists in uniting our will to the will of God.”

Jesus recognizes that “in order to reach glory He will have to pass through the Cross,” the Pope said. The Lord recognized that reality and accepted it. So too for Christ’s followers, "prayer does not mean evading reality and the responsibilities reality brings; rather it means a complete assumption of those responsibilities, trusting in the faithful and infinite love of the Lord.”

In Christ, prayer is always effective, Pope Benedict continued. He noted that in the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ asked the Father to save Him from death.” That prayer was answered, the Pontiff reminded his listeners. “The proof of this is the Resurrection.”

Union with Jesus in prayer is essential for all Christians, the Pope concluded “Only those who pray-- in other words those who entrust themselves to God with filial love-- can enter into eternal life, which is God Himself."

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