“Rabbi, said Peter, ‘it is wonderful to be here, let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

Mark 9:5

Friday, 5 March 2021

Mark 9:2-8

In the story of the transfiguration, we see Peter doing what he often does. He misunderstands and puts his foot in it.  Peter experiences consolation as he witnesses Jesus’ transformation and conversation with Elijah and Moses. He mistakenly suggests that they make tents so that they can stay on top of the mountain and continue to live this experience.

But to live on the mountaintop is not an option. Almost immediately after they hear the voice from the cloud, the moment dissipates, and Jesus and the disciples must come down the mountain back into the challenges of their context and ministry.

We also tend to want to cling to certain experiences and ways of doing things. It can be challenging to come back from a significant retreat where we experienced God especially powerfully in prayer or from an unforgettable holiday with family and to engage again with the usual commitments of our work, family or community.

Now perhaps more than ever, as we grapple with the daily challenges of living in a pandemic, it is tough to live in the ordinary. And yet the memory of our “transfiguration” moments can give us courage and a sense of meaning and purpose at a time when our everyday lives don’t seem to make much sense. These special moments of grace – these mountain top experiences- are given to us, often before or after difficult experiences, to encourage and support us just as Jesus and the disciples were given this moment. They are not a permanent way of being but are experiences that give us hope and allow us to continue to work to bring about the values of Jesus in our own families, communities and workplaces.

Let us reflect,

Where are my “ordinary” experiences of living out my call as a beloved daughter or son of God?

What mountaintop experiences sustain me and give me courage and hope?

Dr Annemarie Paulin-Campbell

Dr Annemarie Paulin-Campbell has worked in the area of Ignatian Spirituality for 19 years and heads up the work of the Jesuit Institute School of Spirituality. Her primary focus is the training and supervision of spiritual directors and the giving of retreats. She is also a registered Psychologist and her PhD focused on the interface between Christian Spirituality and Psychology. Annemarie is an editorial advisor to “The Way” journal of Spirituality and has authored a number of articles relating to the training of Spiritual Directors in an African context. She has contributed to several books, most recently co-authoring a book of Lenten Reflections: “Long Journey to the Resurrection”. She has contributed to international conferences and consultations in Spirituality in the United Kingdom; the United States; Rome; Spain, Ethiopia, Kenya and Zimbabwe.

a.paulin-campbell@jesuitinstitute.org.za @annemariepc_c
See more from Annemarie Paulin-Campbell
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