Step #1: Lectio / Read
Click the link below or open your Bible to the passage and read through the reading at least once, paying attention to what is happening in the text.
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Use the following meditation to help you reflect more deeply on the Scripture (you may want to read the passage again).
Peter says something interesting here, doesn’t he? “I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." So does that mean he, James, and John are going to be left out and have to fend for themselves for shelter? Maybe he told James and John, “Don’t worry, we will make the tents big enough that the other guys will feel guilty about us sleeping outside and they will have to let us in.” I don’t know and Peter probably doesn’t either but he finds himself in such a moment of ecstasy that he makes a radical promise to the Lord.
This Gospel is often used at the end of retreats or youth conferences because the experiences that people have in those retreats and conferences are similar to the experience Peter, James, and John had on the mountain. They experienced the power of God. They experienced His love, His glory, His goodness. And then they had to go back to daily living? That is super lame. So Peter tries, in his humanity, to control and hold onto the moment forever- “I will make three tents.” It is the same thing as the well-intended promises that we make at the end of the retreats “I promise to never miss mass again…I promise to hold onto these good feelings forever…I promise to pray every day.” But then the world hits us: our family is still as dysfunctional as it was before, our jobs still require us to work every day, and our school work won’t get done on its own. We find ourselves entering back into former patterns of sin or former ways of thinking and the retreat/conference becomes a distant memory. Soon we listen to the lies and accept the untruth that it was just a weekend hype and not a real experience. BAM.
No. Peter, James, and John wanted to stay up there with Jesus, Moses, and Elijah but the Lord wouldn’t permit them because He had work for them to do. Think about Peter after denying Jesus three times on the night of the Last Supper, what was the Transfiguration to him then? A distant memory. Did it actually happen? YES. Did he believe it at that moment? Maybe or maybe not. But that doesn’t matter, the only thing that matters is what Peter does after he denies Jesus. He repents. He turns back and strengthens his brothers…and then becomes the first pope.
So if you find yourself this summer down from the mountain and away from your faith, if you had a powerful retreat, camp, conference, or some other mountain top experience but have failed to live up to what you resolved, if you find that this summer wasn’t all that you had hoped it would be, do not be discouraged. Turn again to the Lord and know that He waits to give you a new sign of His love. You don’t have to wait for another mountain top experience, you only have to turn your heart back to Him and you will find Him on the mountain or in the valley- because He meets you where you are at. And that is the Truth.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
These questions are to be used to talk to God; have a conversation with the Lord about these questions and what is going on in your heart as you pray today.
Pray about your mountain top experience. What was it like? How did you feel about your relationship with God?
After a mountain top experience what did you do? When you were away from the mountain. how did it impact your relationship with God?
How can you see God's love for you away from the mountain top? How can you keep your relationship with Him strong?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
In this step, you listen. Stop talking, let God speak to your heart. You may repeat one of these short phrases to focus your mind on the Lord.
"I turn to You Lord."
"Help me seek you Lord."
"Stay with me Lord."
Step #5: Actio / Act
In light of today's reading and your time spent in prayer with the Lord, what concrete action or actions will you take to let this encounter with the Lord bear fruit in you today?
Turn to the Lord today and ask Him to give you a sign of His love. At the end of the day, reflect on the ways God has shown His love to you.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Fr. Sean Grismer, priest of the Diocese of Rockford.
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