Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross in Green Bay, WI
Reflection for Feb. 25, 2024

Reflection for Feb. 25, 2024

Divine transformations

Abraham's test and Jesus' Transfiguration illuminate God's Covenant

by Sister Sally Ann Brickner

This Sunday’s Sacred Scripture readings relate two mysterious events. From the book of Genesis, we hear about Abraham’s faith being put to the test through the ultimate sacrifice of his only and most loved son, Isaac, on Mount Moriah. The Lord’s messenger intervenes and tells Abraham not to harm his son. From the Gospel of Mark, we hear about Jesus’ climb up Mount Tabor with his chosen three disciples and, while wrapped in prayer, being transfigured before them. The disciples hear a voice from the cloud proclaim, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him!”

God made a covenant with Abraham, promising that he would be blessed because of his obedience.  God spoke to Peter, James and John reassuring words that Jesus whom they followed was God’s own beloved Son whose voice they should heed. In each instance, faith was rewarded and strengthened.

During our Lenten journey we follow Jesus more closely through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Through these sacred actions may our faith be strengthened as God renews and transforms us:

  • Alone and silent before God, the Light within our souls grows brighter.
  • Emptying ourselves of earthly pursuits, God’s Spirit fills our being.
  • Sharing our time, talent and treasure, Jesus nourishes us with His own Body and Blood.

Each day may we allow the Refiner’s Fire to work within and among us that God may be glorified!

1 Comment

02/23/2024 1:27 pm

The "Refiner's Fire" is a very powerful image to pray with on this Feast of Transfiguration. Thank you, Sally, for calling it to our attention.

About 15 years ago I attended a 3-day retreat at Monte Alverno, which was still operating at that time. The retreat was called, "Awakening the Dreamer; Changing the Dream."

The title of the retreat was meant to depict that we, in the Western Culture, in order to experience a more authentic conversion to the vision Jesus gave his life for, must come to see 'life' through the lives, experiences, sufferings, and struggles of those in other parts of the world.

After all, Jesus' vision and message was for "all the world," not merely for we, in the U.S., or for we of European descent. So it follows, that if we really want to understand and put into practice Jesus' words -- as he meant them -- and Jesus' vision of "fullness of life for all," most especially for those who have lacked opportunities and resources for "fullness of life," or who have been discriminated against or pushed aside, exploited, or de-humanized -- the need of our times is to understand, connect with, and respond in human compassion and human solidarity to the sufferings caused by systemic inequities and 'status quo' injustices.

It was at this retreat that I really, for the first time, started to understand and "see" what it means to fashion systems, institutions, communities, societies, governments that function and operate with the "end" vision in mind -- systems and institutions, communities and societies, governments that work for everyone.

Among the goals of "Awakening the Dreamer; Changing the Dream" is to create a world that actually does work for everyone, with sustainability for "seven or more generations yet to come."

The long-term vision of Jesus' vision is inherent in "Awakening the Dreamer; Changing the Dream."

This "eye-opening, heart-opening" retreat experience was the start of allowing The Refiner to work his refining skills in me, through the power of Holy Spirit.

Thank you, Sally, for the memory -- and the powerful and enLIGHTening image. :)

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