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Real presence

by davesandel on December 15th, 2012

Real presence

Saturday, December 15, 2012, 2012

Second Week of Advent

Matthew 17:9-12

As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus charged Peter, James and John: “Do not speak of this vision to anyone until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”  

These men with human eyes had just seen Moses and Elijah, and seen Jesus transfigured into pure spirit for a moment, and they were dazed.  Perhaps they had been on Mt. Carmel, where Elijah called on God to burn up the false gods and prophets of Baal.  They asked Jesus about Elijah’s predicted return as a precursor of the messiah, and Jesus said, “Elijah has already come.”

At an October conference titled “Back to the Future,” we heard Carla Mae Streeter speak of the Transfiguration: “Look at me! says Jesus.  This is your future, not the death in front of your eyes everywhere else you look.”  Our future too is to live forever, to be made pure by the fire of God.

Yesterday Roman Catholics commemorated the life and death of John of the Cross, a 16th century Carmelite monk.  Imprisoned and beaten for nine months by fellow monks, John of the Cross wrote in his cell of God’s love, God’s fire, and our purification.  His poetry and prose have never been out of print.  He likens God to a fire in which we, as pieces of wood in the fire, are burned to the point where we become part of the fire.  We are completely transfigured.

This “union” with God is the purpose of our life.  Rejection of false self and reclamation of true self is accomplished through great suffering … and great love.  As we watch the life of Jesus, he shows us how to live in both.  He invites us into transfiguration.

Lord, thank you for this way to experience my pain. Open up my eyes at all times to the mystery of your presence.  Your healing might flow smoothly into the world, but for me it comes in a rush, as I suddenly and often without warning open myself to you.  How that happens, I don’t usually know.  But that it happens is more real to me than the words on this page, than my fingers on the keyboard, than my eyes watching the screen.

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