A Vincentian View: The Transfiguration – Listen

by | Feb 28, 2024 | Formation, Reflections

For the last years, I do not think that I have meditated on any theme more often that listening.  Most recently, the line that ends the story of the Transfiguration has attracted me.  The final affirmation in the event moves the recognition of who Jesus is to another level.  It is not just seeing him more properly in so many ways.  It is not just reading the Scriptures with an awareness of how they teach us about Jesus.  The call is to a deeper and more intimate relationship.

The Father himself tells us that he loves Jesus—“My beloved Son.”  

And that we need to be attentive:  “Listen to him”

This is the key.  When we really listen to another person, we hear not simply the story but the emphases and the impact and the backstory.  We know not only what a person thinks but also how he/she thinks it and the feelings involved.  A good listener draws forth communication.  That gift continues to be true.  I ask myself: “Am I a good listener?”  When I say “Yes,” I need to ask myself what evidence that I have of that, other than my pride.  What do I do with my newly acquired knowledge?  How do I demonstrate its presence?  What evidence do I offer of that truth in allowing Jesus to be transfigured for me?

One must pay a price to be a good listener.  It engages us with other people’s pain and suffering.  It should cause us to “speak.” It may summon us to respond in a way that is inconvenient or demanding on our time or resources.  We can feel the burden attached to bringing ourselves to bear on a substantive issue and the response that it engenders.

We might ask how we listen to the news.  How difficult it could be to allow ourselves to be fully engaged!  Sometimes we must stop our ears and harden our hearts so as not to be overwhelmed.  Some stories will make us angry; others will discourage us; some will move us to cry with the hurt of another; some will raise our indignation at the way some people are treated.  Occasionally, good news will lift us up.  If we listen, we can be driven through a gamut of emotions.  We can find ourselves encouraged to step back, and evaluate what we have heard, and ask what difference can it make in our lives and in those whom we love.

The story of the transfiguration summons us to learn from the experience of the disciples.  We, too, receive the opportunity and encouragement to have a deeper vision into the person and mission of Jesus.  With him, we leave the mountaintop experience to enter into the charges and openings of each day. The challenge rests in our willingness to learn from what we have seen and heard, and to allow those blessings to direct our hands and feet.

Each of us begins with the question (which is a kind of examination of conscience):  Am I listening to whom Jesus is and to what he has to say?  It requires a dynamic commitment.  We need to allow him to be transfigured for each of us so that we can love and serve with greater understanding and devotion.