I have always enjoyed Renaissance art, especially the three great masters of the High Renaissance: Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael. This is a nice piece by Raphael depicting the Transfiguration of Christ, which is celebrated today in the Catholic Church on this second sunday of Lent.
The depiction is not completely accurate. For instance, there was not a crowd of people present witnessing this event, nor was Jesus raised off the ground. Rather, depending on the slightly different account of which Gospel you chose to read, he went up to a mountain to pray and there, in the presence of the Peter, James and John, his face became radiant as the sun and his clothes dazzling white. Moses and Elijah appeared and began conversing with him. Then God spoke through the clouds and said, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, listen to Him.”
But Raphael was an artist and is not trying to be scientifically accurate. Rather, he is depicting the spiritual dimensions and meanings of the event more than anything else.
Once again, as I was attending Mass this morning, I was thankful that the Church was there. How much better life is when lead with a certain degree of integrity. After so much promiscuity in my own life, after so much chaos and pain and suffering, after being in so many situations that were ultimately empty and even detrimental to my all around well being, I am happy to have found, once again, the peace and love and joy of Christ. The sexual pleasures I once sought so ardently are nothing, nothing compared to the presence of God in my life. It is truly an amazing thing to experience, as I am sure Peter, James and John were amazed when they saw divinity briefly make itself manifest in a most spectacular and concrete way through the Transfiguration.
“Listen to Him.” I know that when I listen to Him my life is infinitely better.