October 16, 2019

Coming Down From the Mountain

Abram put his faith in the Lord, who credited it to him as an act of righteousness. (Genesis 15:6)

That verse from Genesis has profound implications. Abram’s life was a testament to the absolute faith and trust that he had in Almighty God. Abram trusted God, without hesitation, to lead him and his family to a strange new land. He trusted God to fulfill His promise of making his descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky. And Scripture says that God credited Abram’s faith as an act of righteousness.

Webster’s dictionary defines righteousness as Acting in accord with Divine or moral law, free from guilt or sin. All that Abram did was to believe God and trust in what God had said. And for the sake of Abram’s faith, Abram was seen as righteous before God.

Bear in mind that faith is a powerful word. Faith, along with repentance and salvation, is a dominant theme in the Sacred Scriptures. The word faith appears 250 times in our New American translation of the Bible.

Faith demands absolute trust and confidence in what is hoped for, and in what is yet unseen. If Abram were to wait for the total fulfillment of God’s promise with just a hint of suspense or apprehension, that would not be faith. That would be doubt. If Abram were to reserve judgment and hold off on putting his total trust in God till after he saw some proof of God’s promised performance, that would not be faith. That would be sight. Remember, Faith is confident assurance concerning what we hope for, and conviction about things we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)

Each and every one of us needs to take this lesson of faith very seriously. For we have all had experiences in life that tend to rock our private little worlds and upset the tranquility of our lives. For example, the pain and grief we feel at the loss of a loved one can be devastating. But remember, God has a plan for each of our lives. Regardless of what happens in life, we must remember that we are all God’s children, and our Heavenly Father has plans for each and every one of us that is far greater than anything we can possibly imagine.

We must take seriously the only commandment that Jesus gave us, and that is to Love one another as I have loved you. (John 15:12) Love for one another must be the guiding force in our lives. We must not allow the circumstances of life to destroy our faith and trust in our Heavenly Father. Rather, we must trust in His plan for our lives, and trust in His plan for the lives of our loved ones.

The Gospel of Luke (9:28-36) speaks of the transformation of Jesus, but Matthew and Mark’s Gospels also contain almost identical accounts of this transformation experience. The transfiguration is an event in which Jesus’ true identity was revealed.

Imagine putting yourself in that situation. Imagine being on that mountain top with Jesus and seeing Him reveal His true identity to you personally, watching Him being transformed before your very eyes, revealing to you personally who He really is and who He was really meant to be. Now imagine that He allows you to do the same, allowing you to be transformed, revealing who you really are and who you were meant to be. How does that thought make you feel? Fearful? Inadequate?

In A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles, author Marianne Williamson (Ch.7, Sec.3, pp. 190) notes:

Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us. It is in everyone. And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

That is a powerful statement. Transfiguration happens when some inner quality or hidden potential of a person comes to light. And when that person allows that true potential to come to light, they are transformed.

When Jesus walked up that mountain, He was man. Flesh and blood! But on that mountain top He was transformed, permitting those with Him to see and experience His real inner quality.

If you were likewise to be transformed before His eyes, what would He see? Think about that question in light of that above quote.

In that verse from the Book of Genesis, Abram was put through a test of faith, and he was transformed from being a mere shepherd, to becoming the father of a great nation. In the Gospel of Luke (9:28-36), Jesus was transformed from being a mere itinerant preacher to being the Son of God and Savior of the world.

In light of this, our readings offer us an opportunity to also accept this test of faith and become transformed into the person we were meant to be.

It is not sufficient for us to just experience the glory of God on the mountain top. We must come down from the mountain and continue our journey of faith and accept our destiny.

Jesus will help us with this transformation. He will help us to realize that we were born into this world to manifest the love and glory of God that abides within.

We must embrace the message of the transfiguration. We must look deep within our soul, our inner self, and recognize and embrace the person we are meant to be.

That’s what Lent is all about. Permitting ourselves to be transformed into the person we were truly meant to be. Then, just like Abram, and along with Jesus, we can truly reveal the love and glory of God to the world around us.

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Written by
Deacon Donald Cox

REVEREND MR. DONALD COX is a permanent deacon of the Archdiocese of Detroit. On June 9, 1979, Deacon Don was ordained to the diaconate by His Eminence John Cardinal Dearden, an important American Father of the Second Vatican Council. He is currently assigned to St. Cornelius parish in Dryden, Michigan. Married and the father of three children and grandfather to four children, Deacon Don was born and raised in Detroit, and educated at St. Brigid Elementary School, Mackenzie High School, and Lawrence Technological University. His theological training was taken at Detroit's Sacred Heart Major Seminary.

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Written by Deacon Donald Cox
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