One of the things I love about the story of the Transfiguration is that it is crammed with so much meaning. The fulfillment of the law and the prophets in Jesus Christ; the call to glory for the apostles and subsequently for each of us; the poignant truth that the glory Moses beheld at Sinai and the the glory Elijah knew in the still, small voice they suddenly saw on the mount of Transfiguration.
There was the shekinah–it was hidden in the face of the Man from Galilee. There was the still, small voice of Love. It was hidden in the humble itinerant preacher…born as Man, born of a woman.
All of this, but what hit me at Mass today was the beauty of it all taking place a mountaintop. In every culture and religion the mountains are the dwelling places of the gods. It makes sense that to get as close as we can to heaven we ought to go up where heaven and earth are met.
And when we do get there, we feel cut off from this world. We feel closer to God. We look down on the earth below and begin to see things a little bit more from his perspective. The other thing hammered home to me is that the mountain is also a picture of the spiritual life.
It’s a long, hard climb, this spiritual life. It’s the hardest task anyone can possible set himself or herself–to become a saint. Why is it that when we set out to climb a mountain we prepare for hardship; we train; we get expert advice; we study the trail and we expect difficulties, but when we set out on the spiritual journey we pretend we’re taking a walk in the park?
The spiritual quest is a long, hard and perilous journey, there is danger and sacrifice, but there is also fellowship, the reward of a new perspective, and finally, a glory that is unimaginable in its splendor.