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A reflection for the first Sunday of Lent, courtesy of Catholic Health Association of the United States.
“From the shining cloud the Father's voice is heard: This is my beloved Son, hear him.”
How many times have we, upon witnessing a colleague’s or friend’s response to a situation, thought quietly to ourselves of the myriad ways we would have responded differently, or played out what we would do in his or her place?
The story of the Transfiguration of Jesus is so remarkable. It invites us to consider what we would do if we were Peter, James and John. Pulled away from the crowd to pray with Jesus on their mountaintop, when suddenly he appears clothed in “dazzling white,” conversing with Moses and the prophet Elijah, what would you do? Then, when a shadow is cast, and a cloud envelopes them and the voice of God calls Jesus beloved and commands that they listen to Jesus, in their place, what would you do?
Perhaps we would have departed immediately to spread the Good News. Or like the disciples, would we fall silent, be afraid and not tell anyone what we had seen? It is tempting to believe that we would have responded differently. However, like them, we, too, might have needed some time to consider what we had been told. While we don’t often find ourselves enveloped in a cloud, hearing the direct words of God, God does continue to speak, telling us to listen to Jesus.
Our interactions with friends, family, colleagues and the natural world are all offering us glimpses of God’s grace. Indeed, any of these can be experiences of God communicating with us. Are we using that grace, that communication of God, to discern how God’s life might be known through us? Are we making ourselves vulnerable, stepping out of our comfort zones and into the light? Or is it safer, easier to close ourselves off and remain in the silence of darkness? We know that the disciples do eventually come down from the mountain. And so we should ask how, in our own lives, have we been called down from the mountain to serve as conduits of God’s grace.
More specifically, in our health care setting, are there ways in which we might better accompany patients as they, too, seek to step out of the darkness into the light? We know that our ministry is about caring for the whole person, if we aren’t careful, however, patients can seem instead, like mere groupings of symptoms to be treated. Do patients seeking help feel as though they can bring their whole selves to the care process? Or are there facets of themselves that remain hidden? Do we make assumptions about individuals seeking care based on how they look or sound, or based solely on the symptoms they present?
The Lenten season calls us to share our vulnerability and darkness with one another such that we all might step out of our comfort zones and into the light. Whether we need time to consider or are ready to respond, whether we are seeking care or offering it, the voice of God calls each of us to bear witness to the beloved Son and to hear him.
How is God speaking to you in your daily life?
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