My watch reads 6:10 am. I finish getting ready, grab my tennis shoes and rosary, and head downstairs and out the back door. It’s a gorgeous spring morning. (finally!) The sun is up but not yet over the tops of the trees, and the air is just cool enough to make my cheeks and nose tingle. I slip on my tennis shoes and, kissing my rosary, briskly walk toward the back field of Mater Ecclesiae College.
“The first luminous mystery is the Baptism in the Jordan. Our Father…” At first it’s pretty chilly, but as I walk my body stops shivering. The sun continues to rise slowly towards the tops of the trees.
“The fourth luminous mystery, the Transfiguration…” Suddenly, the sun finally breaks the treetops. Warm, golden sunlight floods the field and everything in sight. In a matter of seconds, the world comes alive: the mist disappears, and the trees turn from grey to less grey, then to pale emerald, then to a vibrant array of shades of green, as if each tree was showing off its new spring robe. A thousand birds burst into song at once.
My senses are overwhelmed and I have to stop walking and just BE, basking in the magnificent beauty of God’s creation. After what seems like an eternity I look down at my watch; it’s 6:25. I finish my rosary and head inside to change my shoes and get to the chapel in time for our 1 hour daily morning meditation, all the while thanking God for his “good morning gift” to his daughter. In the silence I whisper, “I love you too daddy!”
I’ve always found the Transfiguration a difficult mystery to meditate on. I mean, it’s kind of hard to pray about how to imitate Christ being transformed in glory before the apostles. Actually, it’s impossible. He’s God. We’re not (in case you forgot). So how then can we live the mystery of the Transfiguration in our own lives? We let Christ transfigure and transform our hearts into his image.
Go back to the example I gave at the beginning about praying the rosary outside. I went outside and started walking while it was still cold and fairly dark out. It wasn’t until almost the end of my prayer time that the sun finally came up. It’s the same in our hearts: God usually doesn’t transform, heal, or strengthen our hearts overnight or on demand in the very moment we ask. Yet at the same time, we can’t do the job ourselves. So in both cases, there remains a time of waiting.
After we ask Christ for a grace, a virtue, a special petition, healing in body or soul, He gives us a moment, or a couple moments, or sometimes even a couple years. And what we’re not supposed to do is sit back, think the job is a done deal, and go out and lounge on the lawn chair. Nope. Instead, Christ gives us this time so that we can show him and prove to him that we really, truly, sincerely want this transformation of the heart.
Over the last few months I’ve been asking Christ to help me get to know him better in the Eucharist, especially since we have a half hour of adoration every day and I was finding myself getting quite antsy. That was in February. If I had prayed for that grace and then promptly decided I would sleep through my adoration turn the next day, then how the heck was Christ supposed to give me that grace?!? So instead, I kept going every day, still making an effort to pray, still consistently being distracted, and still checking my watch every 5 minutes. But I didn’t give up.
It wasn’t until a week or so ago (at this time it was May) that I realized that I had gone through a half hour of adoration without checking my watch once. And not only that, but when the next person came to replace me I felt as if I’d only been there 5 minutes! But it took 4 months of effort.
So when we ask God to transform our hearts, we’re probably not going to get a lightning bolt like St. Paul or a transfiguration like Christ. We’ll most likely have to wait. But that is our golden opportunity to work and pray and serve and increase our faith and trust. While we’re actively waiting, Christ silently transforms our hearts and lives. And when he’s finished, all the waiting and the cold and the dark will be totally worth the incredible sunrise that follows.