The Living Rite column explores what you will see, hear, taste, touch or smell while at church this weekend.
We all have had these “aha” moments in our lives when suddenly, things seem more clear. There is a transformation from a previous thinking or a life-changing experience. The Gospel today was one of those moments when Peter, James and his brother, John, travelled to that high mountain and experienced the Transfiguration of Christ. They saw, more clearly, that their belief in Jesus as the Messiah was well-placed, and they became even stronger disciples because of it.
Can you think of a time when that happened to you? I had such an experience when our little daughter was dying from brain cancer many years ago. We had to make the decision whether to prolong her life with more chemical treatments or come to grips with the fact that there really was no more the doctors could do for her.
I went to bed that evening with heavy shoulders and a broken heart. However, what surprised me was that, when I awoke the next day, I felt light as air. It was as if the angels were carrying me to that next dimension where I could understand, and more importantly, accept the situation and know it was in God’s hands. I cannot explain in words how that felt. My daughter was dying and I was giddy with faith that she was soon to experience what we all pray for: everlasting life in heaven. I would not have to worry anymore. I truly felt the Divine Presence and I have ever since.
Transformation comes in many ways and in many circumstances, not just with end-of-life issues. Look around your church this weekend. Do you know of anyone who is going through a tough deal in life? Is there something you can do to alleviate the burdens they may be dealing with?
Maybe your personal burden is heavy. When was the last time you went to confession? Unloading all the guilt or trepidation about where your life is headed on earth can be very uplifting. That, too, is transformative.
Do you have talents or ideas that would be beneficial for the life of your parish? Volunteering to help with anything from church cleaning, to committee work, to assisting the needy can all be experiences that will change your life forever.
What also surprises me is, even though I may have heard a particular Scripture passage at Mass many times, it suddenly hits me that I have never understood it until now. Has that ever happened to you? That, too, is a “transfiguration.”
So the next time you come to worship, take stock of your surroundings, engage with people around you and then truly listen to the Scriptures and homily. Let it become a transformative experience, one that truly makes you change direction.
Wettstein is a volunteer choir director and former director of music and liturgy at Good Shepherd Parish, Chilton.