To be, to see and to listen

In this famous Gospel passage, Jesus teaches us to be, to see and to listen.

First, Jesus grabs Peter, James and John and takes them with Him on a journey up a high mountain for some time away from their everyday affairs. Jesus invites us to do the same this Lent. Are you willing to leave behind your everyday routine and overwhelming concerns and spend some additional time in prayer with Jesus this Lent?

I think that it is really important that we grasp the significance of Jesus' strong desire to be with us … to comfort, strengthen, forgive and heal us. It really helps to have special moments with Our Lord where we get away from our normal routine and spend extra quiet time in His presence. This Lent, consider a weekend retreat or a day or even an afternoon apart from home, school and work. We have numerous, inspiring places to visit in our area, such as the San Damiano Spiritual Life Center near Winchester; the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington; the Franciscan Monastery, also in Washington; or the newly renovated chapel at Marymount University in Arlington.

My experience has been that when we carve out time from our normal schedule and give it to the Lord, He is quick to bless us with surprising and much-needed graces.

Second, while with Jesus up on the mountain of the Transfiguration, Peter, James and John see His glory. What an amazing gift to these three future leaders of the church. Down the road they would need to look back on this event and be strengthened by the memory of this gift from Jesus.

If we do not take time to be with Jesus, He can't reveal His glory. Jesus set aside for a brief moment the humanity that cloaked His divinity and allowed the trio to see His glorious divinity. They glimpsed in a brief instant the fullness of His being. They were given a special grace to gaze upon the very face of the Son of the living God which radiated with a brightness that was hard to describe.

Jesus' gift of faith, made possible by the grace of the Holy Spirit, enables us to see new marvels, grasp new realities, and enjoy new insights. Pray this Lent for the gift of deep faith in Jesus.

Third, a cloud comes along, casts a shadow over them and from the cloud comes a voice, "This is my chosen Son; listen to Him." Too often, most of our prayer involves us doing a great deal of talking. Even if it is adoring, repenting, thanking or interceding for others, we are the ones doing all of the speaking. We need to learn to listen to Jesus.

Jesus greatly desires to speak to us. He desires to comfort, challenge, encourage and call us to bear witness to Him in the world. He wants to form our hearts and minds with the truth and beauty of the Gospel. We need to learn to slow down, be in His presence and really listen to Him. We need to learn the art of praying with the sacred Scriptures.

The sacred Scriptures are indeed God's word, living and true. They have been given for our nourishment. They have the power to pierce our stubbornness and pride with God's gentle but firm truth. The Scriptures reveal God's merciful love that gives brand new life to His hurting children. The word of God extends a call to a way of existing that is full of meaning, sets us free and leads to abundance of life.

Through the Scriptures, and the Gospels in particular, God the Father says to us, "This is my chosen Son; listen to Him."

Jesus has extended a personal invitation to you this Lent: Come be with Me; see My face; listen to Me.

Fr. Peterson is assistant chaplain at Marymount University in Arlington and director of the Youth Apostles Institute in McLean.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016