As I write, we are preparing for the Feast of the Transfiguration.
It’s a beautiful story, one of the “luminous mysteries” of our Lord’s earthly life, and we all know it well.
Jesus climbs the high mountain with three disciples and there they see him transfigured. His face shines like the sun. His clothes turn white as light. God’s voice from heaven commands them, “This is my beloved Son, listen to him.”
In this brief moment, we get to see the end of our path, the “destination” of our Christian journey. Jesus “transfigured” points us to the hope of our resurrection, when he will change our own lowly bodies to be like his glorified body.
But the Transfiguration also gives us a picture of what it means to pray.
It’s interesting that when the transfiguration ends and the bright cloud in the sky moves away, the apostles are left standing there, alone with Jesus. In fact, the Gospel says: “And when they raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone.”
We all want to see Jesus, just as the apostles did on that holy mountain. We all want to gaze on the face of the living God. To speak to him, to ask him questions, to listen for his voice. And we can do that through prayer.
What a privilege we have to be able to pray!
Think about what it means to say that we can speak and listen to God. He is the One who made the universe, the sun and stars, and all the planets.
Prayer means that we can speak to the God of all creation — and know that he is listening. And know that he knows who we are, and where we live, and what we hope for.
So we all need to make prayer the first priority in our lives.
Jesus made time for prayer. Throughout the Gospels, we see him stepping away from the crowds and away from his disciples, to spend time alone with God in prayer. He did this to give us an example.
So we need to make time every day to build our friendship with God. The saints tell us that this relationship only grows in silence, when we can settle our hearts and minds to talk to God and listen to him in the silence of our hearts.
That’s hard for us to do. It takes practice. Our world is busy, noisy, filled with distractions. It’s not easy for any of us to just “be still.” But we can find time, as Jesus did, even just a few minutes at the beginning and end of every day, to be quiet and to be with God.
Prayer does not have to be complicated. We don’t need fancy language or big words. No matter how smart we are, God will not be impressed by our theology! He is looking for our sincerity and our humility, for our simple desire to know his will and to do it.
Jesus taught us to pray as children talking to our father. Prayer simply means talking to our Father and letting him talk to us.
We all need to set aside some quiet moments during the day to focus just on prayer. But we can pray all day long.
We can go through our days with Jesus as our friend, talking to him, telling him what’s on our minds and in our hearts.
When you start a new task, offer it to God. When you finish your work, thank God for his help and his love. Everything we do can begin with prayer and end with prayer.
Tell God your joys and struggles and hopes. Don’t be afraid to talk to him about the things that make you worried or scared. Ask him to help you make decisions and what the right thing to do is. Ask him for the grace to live a good life and to do good for others.
And we can be confident that God is always listening. He hears everything! He wants to be in the center of our lives!
Our relationship of prayer is meant to “transfigure” us. Praying as sons and daughters of God, we grow more and more in the image of Jesus, the Son of God.
When we pray, we hear the voice of God calling us to do great things with our lives. To change this world. To make this world more caring, more compassionate, more peaceful, with more justice.
So this week, let’s try to focus more on our life of prayer. Pray for me, and know that I am praying for you.
And let’s ask our Blessed Mother Mary to pray for us, that we might learn to pray as she did, with our hearts open to know the living God.
Archbishop Gomez’s CPA Award-winning book, “Immigration and the Next America,”is available at the Cathedral Gift Shop (www.olacathedralgifts.com/immigrationandthenextamericarenewingthesoulofournation.aspx). Follow him at www.facebook.com/ArchbishopGomez.