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Transfiguration Musings – From the Age of Me to the Age of We

Sister Doreen’s Reflections

SSJD Photo

Transformed by the Transfiguration: we won’t have transfiguration without transformation.

I read in the Newfoundland and Labrador Church Newspaper and Bishop Watton’s message the following after he reflected upon our experiences of the pandemic and how we have all been affected by COVID-19 and the dissipations of the pandemic. He made a comment about how In the midst of all this we need to find Jesus again. We need to find each other. This resonated deeply with me.

Bishop Watton wrote:  “I rediscovered a Rumi Poem that helped me refocus on Easter. The Poet Rumi advises us in the poem The Guest House to welcome each visitor … “even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture. Why on earth would we even try to find a way to do that? Because it is the pathway to new hope, light and life.” Bishop Watton then asks the question “Will I accept the invitation from this pandemic and hear Jesus’ invitation to transformation? Jesus called each of us from the doorway of an open tomb to believe and follow. He is still calling. Will the world hear the message with one heart and move from the Age of Me to the Age of We?”

Years ago, Matthew Fox wrote a book called “Whee! We, wee all the Way Home” that has lingered with me throughout the years as a profound and prophetic message about having to wake up and return to a more compassionate way of life that will “lift us out of the luxury of a privately oriented, dualistic spiritualism” and return us to our sense that we need each other more than we can imagine. He believes that we shall become ecstatic, happy, and full of joy, together or extinct together. Bishop Watton’s question “Will the world hear the message with one heart and move from the Age of Me to the Age of We?” seemed to me to resonate deeply with Matthew Fox and with my own experience, and I believe with those of so many others during these past three years of COVID. We desperately need to find Jesus again. We desperately need to find each other again.

To have transfiguration it will mean transformation. This year reflecting on what the Feast of the Transfiguration means to me, I know that transformation – the hard work of changing and reframing and reforming some of the experiences we have all had during COVID – of taking a firm stand on not allowing fear, worry, scarcity and loneliness, anger, hate and the bullying powers of the world to take an upper hand in my life. The voices of fear and anxiety which we have all listened to over the past three years have left a mark on all of us, most notably anxious minds and an inner disquiet. And into that condition, the Feast of the Transfiguration holds out for each of us a new story, a promise that “this is my Beloved, listen …”, a promise to be with us, that we do not journey alone, that we are being turned from death to life. Indeed, Jesus is calling, will we hear the message, and consciously turn away from the fear and anxiety, let ourselves be transformed by the life, tenacious love and compassion of God?

We are offered on this Feast Day that same promise “You are my beloved … listen to me”. “We are being called to our true home – the joy of living instead of death in all the violent and vicarious ways it raises its head on the television news. It is a call to live We-ly – to think with the we and not the I. To learn the meaning of sharing, of sharing water with a thirsty person and knowing that it is more than water; and the person more than that person; and you are more than you; I more than I. that we are we; and we are God. … that our true home is a WE home!” (Matthew Fox) He goes on to say to recognize the weeness of us all is to recognize our responsibility to pass on the WHEENESS and the WENESS of us all. What more can we ask for, beg for, pray for than to be an instrument of something bigger than we are!

The Feast of the Transfiguration – the call to transformation – going WHEE! We, wee all the way home – where we most desire to be, where we have our hearts set on going, and going together. It was Wordsworth who suggested that “trailing clouds of glory do we come from God who is our home”. Of moving from a world of I to a world of We – of taking pleasure with and in each other, pleasure shared by way of justice and love, by compassion, towards the healing of each other and the world.

I share a Hymn from the Hymn Book “Gather” that we use sometimes here at the Convent – a hymn marked for the Feast of the Transfiguration called “Transform Us”

Transform us as you, transfigured, stood apart on Tabor’s height.
Lead us up our sacred mountains, search us with revealing light.
Lift us from where we have fallen, full of questions, filled with fright.

Transform us as you, transfigured, once spoke with those holy ones.
We, surrounded by the witness of those saints whose work is done,
Live in this world as your Body. Chosen daughters, chosen sons.

Transform us as you, transfigured, would not stay within a shrine.
Keep us from our great temptation – time and truth we quickly bind.
Lead us down those daily pathways where our love is not confined.