by Sister Elise Cholewinski
“Lord, it is good to be here.” Peter uttered these words when he, James and John witnessed Jesus being transfigured before them on top of a mountain. Jesus’ shining appearance gave them a glimpse of the Resurrection. Our Church celebrates this feast, the Transfiguration, in its liturgy this Sunday.
Jesus was transfigured on Mount Tabor, an oval-shaped mountain in northern Galilee, a few miles from Nazareth. Several years ago I had the awesome opportunity to be on Mount Tabor. We ascended the mountain from the very hot Jezreel Valley, and as we stood 2400 feet above the plain, a cool, refreshing breeze flowed over us. Looking at the luxuriant landscape below, I understood exactly why Peter would have said those words. I told myself that I could stay there forever.
At the bottom of one of the slopes of Mount Tabor is the village of Nain. It is a small, quiet town. We were told that it is one of the poorest places in all of Israel. I remember the precious children begging American money from us as we entered the tiny church.
These two places symbolize the pattern of our lives. We have those special times of prayer, when we experience the splendor of Jesus, like when we are on a retreat, and we want to stay in the aura of His Presence. Then we hear the cry of the poor, and our commitment to Christ calls us to come down from our mountaintop experience and get involved doing the works of charity and justice. It’s because we’ve been to the top of the mountain that we have the motivation and the energy to descend to the base of it, bringing within us the Presence that we have beheld.
Love the mountain metaphor! Well done, Sister, thank you for sharing your personal insight.
Sr. Elise, thank you for the beautiful and insightful reflection, as well as the reflection questions following! After getting to know the Jesuits at Gesu here in Milwaukee, I've become acquainted with Ignatius Loyola and his Spiritual Exercises. Ignatius, through his Exercises, does exactly what your reflection questions invite us to do. We must look back through the events of our day and find out where God has been most present to us. Thank you again, Sister!
My Mount Tabor is my hunting land. My Nain is the food pantry I am treasurer for. The land is my personal sanctuary where I find peace, creation and prayer. The food pantry keeps me aware of the seven corporal works of mercy.