Day 6 - Rise, and do not be afraid.

Day 6 - Rise, and do not be afraid.

August 6! The feast of the transfiguration.

I wonder what it was like for the disciples to be on the mountain top with Jesus and to see him transformed before their eyes?

In the chaplain world, we often hear people talk about a “good death” verses a death where someone struggles. I have been with people at the end of life and there is a very clear difference in the dying process when someone has made peace with death. In a way, they are transfigured in that they have an almost transparency that happens and it is kind of beyond the capacity of words to describe. Magical doesn’t seem quite right and neither does amazing, but it is very “other worldly”; there is a transfiguration.

The disciples were very afraid after hearing the voice of God announce, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” But it is Jesus’ response that comforts me today. He said, “Rise, and do not be afraid.”

I recently read a book by Sr. Nancy Kehoe called, “Wrestling with Our Inner Angels: Faith, Mental Illness and the Journey to Wholeness.” It is a wonderful book about her journey as a Harvard trained Ph.D. psychologist working with mentally ill people, focusing on spiritual care. She has a quote by Thomas Szasz, a Hungarian psychiatrist that I like. He writes, “If you talk to God, you are praying. If God talks to you, you have schizophrenia.” Sr. Kehoe’s patients do not feel they can share their spiritual experiences within the psychiatric model because they will be discounted; after all, they are “crazy.”

On my own spiritual journey, it has taken me years to make peace with the ways I hear the voice of God and if you have read some of my earlier blog posts, you know it has been very difficult to share my experiences without fear of embarrassment, shame and ridicule. After the disciples heard the voice of God, Jesus told them to tell no-one until he had been raised from the dead. I wonder if this, in part, was to protect the disciples from the inevitable ridicule of others?

Our current psychology model leaves very little room for spiritual experiences and hearing the voice of God. One question for all of us to ponder is, “Do we believe God communicates ‘with voices’ in our world today?”

My reflection today will be on this question: How do I hear the voice of God in my life today and am I willing to share what I hear? I believe God does still speak but it is much more difficult for me to, “Rise, and do not be afraid.”

May we find the grace and courage to listen for the voice of God in our life today and “Rise, and do not be afraid.” May be this experience will leave us transfigured?

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def. Bliss: -noun Supreme Happiness, Utter Joy/Contentment; the Joy of Paradise!