What do you think your response would be if Christ appeared to you in all His glory? Well, here is Peter’s immediately after seeing Christ appear in dazzling white and having a conversation with Moses and Elijah: “Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, ‘Rabbi, it is good that we are here!’”
(Fr. Gee is parochial vicar at Our Lady of Angels Parish, Woodbridge, Virginia. This article courtesy of the Arlington Catholic Herald.)
Some might say this is a rather bland reaction to the event, others might claim it to be jocund or skeptical or intentionally understated and still others might think a splendid comment, simple and honest. I say it is the latter.
Imagine the different reactions people might have had: “Oh %!@#, let's get out of here!” or “What the heck is going on?” or “I can't believe it!” But Peter does not overreact, he does not whimper and cower, he does not flee, he does not panic. He instead quietly rejoices. He knows in whose presence he is standing. Where else on earth would he rather be than standing on the top of that mountain with the Lord? Who else would he have rather been with other than the glorified Lord? It is good that they are there, for there is no place better to be.
Being in the presence of Christ — and knowing it — is without equal. We rarely, if ever, have a sensory experience like that experienced by Peter, James and John, but that does not reduce to meaninglessness the fact that we can and do stand in His presence. In fact, Christ did say to Thomas after the Resurrection, “You became a believer because you saw me. Blest are they who have not seen and have believed.” The same holds true for being in the presence of God — it is simply good to be there, whether He appears in visually magnificent splendor or not. It certainly beats sitting in front of the television eating bonbons and watching reruns and soap operas.
Christ led the Apostles up the mountain, away from the world, so that He could focus their attention on the Trinity in the Transfiguration. He calls us as well to a place apart so that we might spend time with them. We like to call it Adoration — time in a chapel or church in front of Him. Time spent alone with God and no one else. Time reserved and dedicated to being in His presence — it is good to be there. I have never met anyone in my life who claimed time spent in prayerful silence in front of the Blessed Sacrament was wasteful or harmful. And how could it be?
Christ was preparing the Apostles for the great events of His suffering, death and resurrection. They needed the time with Him so that they could cope with the stress and anxiety of the Paschal Mystery. We too need that time. Time to reflect on the upcoming events of Lent and Easter. Time to relieve the absurd anxieties of life that have the potential to consume us. You see, this is what time in the presence of God assures — that the only thing that will consume us is God.