Second Sunday of Lent
Do we actually believe that God is supremely and sovereignly free? That Jesus Christ is Lord, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, such that there is nothing that stands outside of God’s lordship, for even the evil spirits that reject God must obey him (Cf. Mark 1:27, Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed)? If we grant that God has this freedom, then we can also come to a realization that God is free to manifest himself whenever and however God wishes. God expresses this freedom in Triune fashion, as we see in the Transfiguration gospel for today. The three persons of the Trinity reveal God not as one person masquerading under three appearances, but as three persons in the genuine interchange of a true relationship. When we pray with this scripture, do we notice what the Son reveals? What the Father reveals? What the Spirit reveals?  Jesus invites Peter, James, and John to pray with him on a mountain, and this is intentional. Why might Jesus have chosen them and not invite the rest of the twelve or the seventy-two or the women or the crowds? If this is the glory that Jesus lives through his whole eternal existence, what does that mean for us in the moments when we do not perceive his glory? And why does the Father speak when he speaks and say what he says? Since God can reveal himself however he wants, the manner in which he chooses to reveal himself is itself a meaningful revelation of God. When we pray with the Gospels, we should constantly implore the Holy Spirit help us to understand what God is saying through what might otherwise seem to be the most casual or haphazard of circumstances. One should not focus on these minutiae in such a way that one loses sight of Jesus, for the details are only made intelligible in relationship to Jesus, through the light that the Holy Spirit provides to the one who loves the God of Jesus Christ. The more we love, the more even little things become meaningful in love.
Ignatius of Loyola observes that “scripture supposes that we have understandIng, as is written ‘are you also without understanding?’” (SpEx 299, quoting Mt 15:16). Ignatius presumes that, after prayerfully spending time with the Lord as he reveals himself in the Gospels, one will acquire a certain “intelligence” (understanding) regarding what God wants to reveal of himself through those scriptures. Such “intelligence” comes only by God’s grace and the love that it offers, and it comes to those who pay attention not only to the big picture, but also to the little things. Ignatius liked say “sapienti pauca,” Latin shorthand for, “to the wise, just a hint (a little bit) suffices.” We get our expression “a word to the wise is enough” from the same Latin dictum.  If we are to become truly wise, then we must learn to cherish every word that the Word gives us. Then, God can form us into children after his own heart, such that he can communicate much to us by means of the smallest things. Sapienti pauca.
February 21st, 2016