Friday, March 14, 2014

THE SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT: THE TRANSFIGURATION


17th c. ICON, BUCHAREST

MATTHEW 17: 1-9

Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother,
and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them;
his face shone like the sun
and his clothes became white as light.
And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them,
conversing with him.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
“Lord, it is good that we are here.
If you wish, I will make three tents here,
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, behold,
a bright cloud cast a shadow over them,
then from the cloud came a voice that said,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased;
listen to him.”
When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate
and were very much afraid.
But Jesus came and touched them, saying,
“Rise, and do not be afraid.”
And when the disciples raised their eyes,
they saw no one else but Jesus alone.

As they were coming down from the mountain,
Jesus charged them,
“Do not tell the vision to anyone
until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

*****

My friend Maria, sober two years now, tells the following story. At the depth of her drinking, her two kids were taken away from her. The family is now re-united.

I HAD A BABY WHO DIED at birth in 1994. We named her Elly. My husband at the time was an incredibly spiritual person. He was like the Pied Piper. Very kind and giving. When the baby died, he wanted to name her Eleemosynary [meaning charitable; same root word as eleison]. Elly, Moss, in airy ways. He wrote a song about how she took us down so we could go forward. Elly was like an act of charity. In ways she saved the two of us. She saved us from each other and took us away from each other, which was probably going to happen away.

My husband had had a horribly alcoholic, workaholic dad. So he wouldn’t drink. And in those days, I wouldn’t drink either. I got remarried in 2001. Ben was born 2003. Clare was born 2004. I started drinking, badly, when Clare was born. My husband pretty much abandoned us after Clare was born. That's not exactly why I drank, though that didn't help.

I lost contact with God but never with Elly. She comes to me in profound ways every year on her birthday.

It was 2007. My husband was in China with his sick mother. I agreed to go there to visit, end of August. I was drinking heavily; I was in bad shape. I was incredibly depressed. Ben and Clare were with me, a 12-hour flight. On the plane I was thinking, Even though I’ve been abandoned, I'm going to China for the sake of his mother, our family, our kids. Clare was asleep on my lap; she was 2. Suddenly she woke up. and said, "Mom, I saw my sister." I'd never told my kids about Elly. I'm thinking, Well okay, little children like to imagine they have an even littler sister. So I asked, "Are you talking about a baby sister?"

"No, a big sister," Clare said. "She had white hair and blue eyes and she was wearing a long beautiful white dress and she was in a garden full of flowers and trees. She took my hand. I asked her, 'Can I come play with you?' And the girl said, 'Yes—just not now.' Then she let go of my hand and turned to go and behind her was a man. And he was clean, he was so so clean!

I felt like I was crystallized. I felt electrified. I almost wanted her to get off my lap, I felt so charged over.

"Mom," Clare kept asking. "How did the man get so clean?"

3 comments:

  1. I wish I was more techno-competent and could paste the picture, but as I'm not, try googling 'Raphael sketches transfiguration'. You'll find his depiction of two apostles, one old and one young, looking at the transfigured Christ. It puts what Clare conveys into an image. I think you'd like to have seen it.

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  2. Beautiful story. I have five little ones in heaven. We always said we'll have to have a large van in heaven because there will be eleven of us. Peace and Good.

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  3. Thanks, people, glad you liked the Transfiguration story. Elizabeth, checked out the Raphael drawing--lovely!

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