(From Conversation with God, Fernandez Carvajal)

Twice during the Liturgical year we remember the Transfiguration in a special way. On the Second Sunday of Lent, to affirm the divinity of Christ before we commemorate his Passion, and today, as we recall the exaltation of Christ in anticipation of his eternal glory. This revelation prefigured the splendour of heaven where we will see God face to face. Through grace, we acquire the seed of eternal life during our present existence and begin to participate to a certain extent in the promise of salvation even now.

Jesus told his disciples of his forthcoming Passion and of the suffering He would undergo at the hands of the Jews and Gentiles. He exhorted them to follow him on the way of the Cross and of sacrifice. He wants to strengthen their faith. St Thomas teaches that for one to advance directly along a particular path, it is important to know the destination beforehand, just as the archer does not accurately launch an arrow without first looking at the target. This is necessary, above all, when the mad is rough and hazardous, and the path laborious. It is fitting therefore, for Christ to reveal to his disciples the splendour of his glory, to become transfigured before them, since in the same glory he would one day transfigure his own.

Our life is a roadway to heaven, but one that passes by way of the cross and through sacrifice. Until our final moments, we shall have to swim against the current. The tendency to make our dedication compatible with an easy and perhaps lukewarm existence, like that of so many whose minds are set exclusively on material well-being, may affect us too. Haven't we frequently felt the temptation to let Christianity be comfortable, devoid of sacrifice, of having it conform to the easy-going and worldly ways of others? But that is not how Our Lord meant it to be. Christian life cannot dispense with the cross since it has no meaning without the hard, pressing weight of duty. If we were to attempt to remove the cross from our lives, we would be creating illusions for ourselves and weakening the Faith, since we would have transformed Sacred Tradition into a soft and complacent style of life. This is not the narrow path the Lord points out.

The disciples were profoundly shaken by the experience of witnessing the Passion. For this reason, the Lord leads three of them, the ones who were to accompany him in his agony in Gethsemane, to the summit of Mount Tabor, so that they can in part contemplate his glory. There He reveals himself in a glimpse, in the sovereign glory he wanted to show these three, reflecting spiritual reality in a way compatible with human nature. Given the limitations of mortal flesh, it is impossible for them to see the ineffable vision of God in all his majesty. That awesome sight is reserved in eternity for the clean of heart, those righteous souls who have merited eternal life. This is the reward which awaits us, if we make an effort to be faithful each day.

The Lord wants to strengthen us with the hope of heaven too, especially if at some point the way becomes taxing, and discouragement causes us to falter. Thinking about the life of heaven will help us be strong and to persevere. May we not fail to keep before our eyes the final destination prepared for us by our Father God. Each day that passes draws us a little closer to it. For a Christian, the passing of time is in no way a tragedy. On the contrary, it shortens the distance we need to travel before our long-awaited and definitive meeting with God.