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Listen to Him

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I have been pondering the reading about the Transfiguration of Jesus as told in Matthew 17, in which it states that Jesus’ clothing and appearance changed right before the eyes of Peter, James, and John: “His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.” It is in this very moment that Jesus is confirmed to be the bridging point between Heaven and earth – the confirmation of his own divinity and the fulfillment of Old Testament prophets/scriptures. And, in that very moment, God spoke to the three of them who were gathered with Jesus in a very concise manner. God said: “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

And that was all God said – but such gravitas in those words that were spoken! I am especially drawn to those final three words and how simple a command to give. And, yet, for many it is so very hard to do. Jesus tells us to not harden our hearts against those who are in most need. Yet, our world is torn apart by violence, hatred, and bigotry. Jesus tells us to love one another and to forgive those who have wronged us as we expect them to forgive us when we wrong them. Yet, pride is a potent poison that seeps deep inside of us and ensnares us mightily. Jesus asks us to give up what we have, pick up the cross, and follow him. Yet, we allow ourselves to be dragged and weighed down by material possessions, worries, and uncontrollable forces. As hard as it is, we have the greatest guidance in how to alleviate these issues from our hearts and souls:
Listen. To. Him.
He hears us – especially when we pray.
He sees us – in our moments of elation and in our moments of sorrow.
He loves us – always and forever.

in Truth

Perceiving Truth

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Epiphanies happen when we least expect them. My late mother used to love to read murder mysteries and would often go back through the books she read long after the dramatic conclusion was revealed – which she would usually get correct! She would then explain to the rest of us about how she had missed such obvious clues in the book but would still, usually, get the answer correct regardless. I remember asking her about it – how could she possibly still get it correct even when she would miss the hints, clues, and other pieces of evidence the whole time. She simply stated that it was just something inside of her, her own intuition and ability to perceive the truth. How simple an answer this is, but in reflecting upon it, what great power it carries: to be able to take less than obvious signs in a complex situation and realize the greater truth that would otherwise not be readily explained. I liken this to the situation of the Magi and to those who would hear the early preaching of Christ. To hear the literal words of Christ and, perhaps, not fully comprehend what they are bearing witness to. Continue to seek and know those moments in your life – to encounter Christ in them!

You Can't Quantify Love

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As a young man, I often found myself intrigued by words. In particular, there was one word that stood out to me the most - my name: Francis. I would ask my grandparents why I was given this name and what was significant about it. Frequently, they would respond that I was not old enough to understand the importance of it. As I grew, I would come into an understanding about my namesake: St. Francis of Assisi.

Since learning this, I have often looked to him as someone who truly understood what it means to live poorly. But let me be clear: just because he had a simple life, did not mean he was poor. On the contrary, St. Francis was truly a man who was rich in the love of God - which is something that cannot be quantified.

In our modern day, we often equate success with people who have the best or newest things because we can see what they have and assume they must be living a great life. Yet, society has a habit of scorning those who strive to be pure, dedicated to their faith, and constantly seeking a relationship with God. This is because a relationship with God is not something we can, in fact, quantify. Rather, it is something that we can feel and rely upon even in our most needy of moments.

We must seek God and grow our love and trust in Him. For God is truly all around us, as St. Francis points out in his Canticle of Creation, whether it be in the Sun, the Moon, the Fire, or even in Death. God is always with us. His love knows no bounds, and is not something we can quantify. Be like St. Francis: find God and grow in His life all around you.