As I was praying the Rosary yesterday and reflecting on the mystery of the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-8; Luke 9:28-36), I had a small revelation.
Christians long to see Jesus' divine glory, to know Him as perfect fulfillment, to be taken out of the chaos of this world for a while to stand in the pure light of the Redeemer.
We have those moments, those glimpses of our Lord while seeking him faithfully. They fill us with awe and shore us up in our faith amid numerous struggles.
But the Transfiguration was something that lasted only a short time here on earth. After that awesome event, Christ and his disciples descended the mountain and began walking the dusty roads of earth - of human experience - again.
Where do we find our Lord for most of His public ministry in the Gospels? We find Him with humanity in their joy and suffering. He celebrates a wedding with family and friends (John 2). He shares countless meals with persons of high social status and those deemed merely "sinners"(Mark 7: 36-50). He walks with a terrified father to the bedside of his sick girl (Mark 5:21-24). He feels pity for a poor widow who has lost her only son (Luke 7:11-13). He frees a woman discovered in her sin and publicly shamed (John 8:3-11). He blesses little children and hugs them (Mark 10:13-16). He is there and calms Martha in her stressful work, showing her what is more important (Luke 10:38-42). He asks a woman, ostracized by her community, for a drink at a well in the midday heat (John 4: 4-26) He weeps on the way to a friend's tomb (John 11:33-35).
God made man, He experienced our humanity.
I believe that in between our rare but cherished glimpses of the Transfiguration, Jesus is with us fully on the dusty, often painful road of life, just like that famous poem "Footprints in the Sand". Like the man in the poem - a poem beloved by my Grandmama - we often don't recognize the presence of our traveling companion in the mess and stress of the everyday. But He is there. We shouldn't wait for the Transfiguration to acknowledge Him. Instead, we should reach out our hands confidently to the One who loved us so much that He was willing to experience our humanity all the way through terrible suffering and violent death - to the One Who redeemed it completely after His resurrection when He ascended, fully human and fully divine, to heaven.