Saturday, August 5, 2023

The Transfiguration, 2023


The Transfiguration 2023


About 20 years ago I was a brand new high school teacher and, although I knew I wanted to be a priest, and had told everyone, I was doubting.  I remember at one point hitting my bed and saying “Jesus I NEED to know that you are REAL!!!”

And immediately I saw a very similar image to what is described in our Gospel today.  I was standing on the top of a mountain looking at Jesus far off in the distance of that same mountain top talking to two people who I could not see.  Then Jesus came closer to me, and there was a light that came from Jesus and passed right through my heart and I was immediately struck with complete and utter bliss.  After the vision ended, I was walking around my house singing Catholic hymns, and I certainly surprised my family, as that was NOT my normal behavior!

But then that night, as I laid down to sleep, I could feel the super-intense joy start to go.  The effects, though, continued to linger for about a week, and then they were gone.


I spent the next couple of years trying to recreate that spiritual experience, but I encountered St. John of the Cross at St. Meinrad, and he definitely helped me understand why trying to recreate a spiritual “high” (or to seek a spiritual “high” in the first place) can actually be damaging to our spiritual growth.


He said there are a couple of reasons we should not seek out spiritual highs:

“They spend all their time trying to get some feeling and satisfaction rather than humbly praising and reverencing God dwelling within them.  And they go about this in such a way that, if they do not procure any sensible feeling and satisfaction, they think they have accomplished nothing.”

He also says that the Devil can also lead us astray by appearing to provide us with some of the stuff that we THINK constitutes a “spiritual high”.

St. John of the Cross also says “The more importance one gives to these spiritual visions the further one strays from faith…these sensory things are an impediment to the spirit because they detain the soul and prevent the spirit from soaring to the invisible.”


You can see Saint Peter, stammering out of Joy, asks Jesus if he can build three tents…he doesn’t want the experience to end but it does end

Peter does get one thing right in today’s Gospel when he said that it is good that we are here.

This Mass, and every Mass, brings a peace that is DEEPER than pyrotechnics and praise music…

At this Mass, and every Mass, it is good for us to be HERE


  1. Thanks for posting this. I needed to hear this exact message.