“No One Lives ‘on Tabor’ While on Earth”
Pope Emeritus Benedict the XVI said – When one has the grace to sense a strong experience of God, it is as though seeing something similar to what the disciples experienced during the Transfiguration: For a moment they experienced ahead of time something that will constitute the happiness of paradise. In general, it is brief experiences that God grants on occasions, especially in anticipation of harsh trials. However, no one lives “on Tabor” while on earth.
Human existence is a journey of faith and, as such, goes forward more in darkness than in full light, with moments of obscurity and even profound darkness. While we are here, our relationship with God develops more with listening than with seeing; and even contemplation takes place, so to speak, with closed eyes, thanks to the interior light lit in us by the word of God.
This is, therefore, the gift and commitment for each one of us in the Lenten season: To listen to Christ, like Mary. To listen to him in the word, preserved in sacred Scripture. To listen to him in the very events of our lives, trying to read in them the messages of providence. To listen to him, finally, in our brothers, especially in the little ones and the poor, for whom Jesus himself asked our concrete love. To listen to Christ and to obey his voice. This is the only way that leads to joy and love. (Vatican City, March 13, 2006 – Zenit)
“We Need to Climb the Mountain, But We Cannot Stay There”
Pope Francis spoke on the importance of listening, of being attuned and attentive to the Word of God; and the movement of ascent and descent that characterizes the Gospel episode (Mt. 17:1-9), in which the Lord takes Peter, James and John to the top of Mt Tabor, reveals Himself in His glorified form, and returns down the mountain with them, with grave warnings to the disciples who accompanied Him not to speak of what they had seen.
“The mountain is the site of the encounter intimate closeness with God – the place of prayer, in which to stand in the presence of the Lord,” said Pope Francis. “We, the disciples of Jesus, are called to be people who listen to His voice and take his words seriously.” He added, “To listen to Jesus, we must follow Him.”
The Holy Father went on: “We need to go to a place of retreat, to climb the mountain and go to a place of silence, to find ourselves and better perceive the voice of the Lord.” We cannot stay there, however. “The encounter with God in prayer again pushes us to ‘come down from the mountain’ and back down into the plain,” he said, “where we meet many brothers and sisters weighed down by fatigue, injustice, and both material and spiritual poverty.”
Pope Francis said that we are called to carry the fruits of the experience we have with God to our troubled brothers and sisters, sharing with them the treasures of grace received. (Vatican City, March 16, 2014 – VIS)