6 August, Saturday — The mountaintop experience

Aug 6 – Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord

Today we celebrate the occasion on which Christ revealed Himself in shining splendour to Peter, James, and John. Moses and Elijah were present, and are taken to signify the Law and the Prophets. They testify to Jesus as the promised Messiah. God the Father also proclaimed him as such, saying, “This is my Beloved Son. Listen to him.” For a moment, the veil is drawn aside, and men still on earth are permitted a glimpse of the heavenly reality, the glory of the Eternal Triune God.


Dan 7:9-10,13-14
Lk 9:28-36

…went up the mountain to pray.

How do we visualise the mountains? Is it a desolate place? Or is it green with trees, or brown and dry with boulders and rocks? Living in Singapore, we can only imagine what a mountain really looks like, especially when our only point of reference is Bukit Timah Hill at 165m above sea level, our highest point. It is no mountain by any sense of the word.

I guess the important thing is not to try to visualise the mountain, but to understand what the mountain stands for. In the scriptures, when the prophets and Jesus went up the mountain, it was to meet God, receive His mission and be granted the strength to do His will.

Moses went up to Mt Sinai and received the Law, Elijah encountered the Lord in a soft breeze, and Jesus went to Mt Tabor before heading to Jerusalem for the ultimate sacrifice. All of them spent time praying before going forward to do God’s will.

What is prayer? According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

“Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God.” CCC 2559

For me, it is also the time where we spend time being in the presence of our God. To build a relationship with Him and to also be assured of His mercy and graces. It is when we get to spend time with Him, something that I always aspire to do but fail miserably. I know that all we have to do is to set aside time for this, let Him lead and just stop my incessant chatter. To let Him speak in the soft, clear voice that consoles, reassures and directs us in our journey of being a disciple.

Truth be told, it is so much easier said than done. I sometimes sit there in the silence and one or these things may happen — I can doze off, start to think about the tasks I need to do, or what to eat. Very often, I find prayer time to be dry and just going through the motions. But there have also been times where I feel and hear Him, these are the times that I have no expectations and just be in the moment with Him. Funny how when we want something so badly, that you only get it when you let go. Perhaps this is a lesson for me to not try to be in control of everything and accept that Our loving Father loves us and wants us to have the best things. Let go and let God; I often tell friends, but find it so difficult when applying to myself.

At this juncture in my life, I find myself again at a crossroads and the time again to seriously to let go and let God. For He knows what I can do and will lead me to it. The question is – am I open to His prompting and courageous enough to take the next step with my hand in His?

At my last silent retreat, the Spiritual Director advised me to not limit myself to just praying when in a seated position as I had mentioned that I often dozed off in said postures. He suggested praying while taking a walk or even while on my regular runs. I have tried this and found that it was sometimes in my runs where I have felt Him speaking to me and guiding me in my next course of action. In fact, I did just that while taking part in a virtual race and found the entire prayer experience to be so powerful. It was indeed empowering to be able to thank God for the gifts that we have received, to pray for my friends and family and also just be able to spend the time with him without the distractions. 

In a couple of weeks, I will have the opportunity to be in the Alps for a trail race. Amidst the grandeur and beauty of the mountains, I do hope and pray that I will have the blessings to meet God, and to journey with Him. Trusting in Him and loving Him always. And I know that I will be praying while on my race, thanking Him for the gift of health and for the gift of spending time with Him on the mountain.

“A desire to pray is planted deep within us. It just means the desire to speak to God and to listen to him. Keep in mind that prayer is not designed to change God’s mind or to tell God something he doesn’t know.” – Bishop Robert Barron. 

(Today’s OXYGEN by Calvin Wee)

Prayer: Good and gracious Lord, grant us the grace and the strength to constantly come to you in prayer. And that our prayer time be a time of reflection, reconciliation and a time just to rest in You. Amen

Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord Jesus, for showing us how and when to pray. To go to our secret place and to also bring to our heavenly Father all our worries, fears and anxieties. Let us always remain in your love so that we may be one with you, our heavenly Father. Amen.


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