“This is my beloved Son of whom I am well pleased.
Listen to him.”
From Sunday’s Gospel from Matthew 17:1-9
Many years ago when the prayer called “Footsteps in the Sand” was created, it resonated in the hearts of many people. I think we all know the outline of it: one walks along the beach and sees a set of footprints accompanying them, symbolic of the presence of God. At life’s lowest moments, the footsteps vanish, giving the impression that God was no longer journeying with the lost soul. Instead, God reveals in the prayer: “During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.” I think this prayer touches us so deeply because we all acknowledge our need for God to carry us through the most difficult times of our lives.
The Transfiguration is the opposite of a trying time – it is a glorious manifestation that God the Father supports the work and presence of his beloved Son and a glimpse of the divinity of Christ. Peter and James and John are so overcome that they want to build booths so that Moses and Elijah can remain with them, but, alas, their visitation is fleeting. The Transfiguration was the Father’s gift to the Son to fortify his relationship with him so that Jesus would know that whatever future trials and sufferings he would encounter would not be faced alone. In his road to Calvary and at the moment of his crucifixion, the Father’s footsteps were not present, because God indeed was carrying him.
We too have had moments of illumination when we feel a special presence of God while in prayer, or upon receiving the Eucharist, or even through God speaking through another person to us. We treasure these moments of grace and know that their memory will help us get through the more difficult and challenging times of our lives, always counting on God’s presence and help.