The Bible reading for today - and the accompanying homily from our beloved Fr. Michael - resonated very deeply for me in light of my declaration last weekend about what I was "giving up" for Lent.
Today's gospel reading (Matthew 17:1-9) is about Jesus taking Peter, James and John to the mount with him, allowing them to see his transfiguration into his glory - foretelling his literal appearance after his crucifixion. This part of Christ's 40 days in the wilderness, sharing this with his disciples and hearing God speak, saying "This is my son, in whom I am well pleased" was a major moment of transformation for Jesus. His life's ministry would conclude, at least in the mortal sense, less than 40 days after his transfiguration.
Christ's transformation from divine man to divine intercessor would be complete.
And so as I absorbed the words of God & Christ and as I listened to Padre's homily, allowing the words to soak into my very soul, I realized that what I am trying to accomplish for myself this Lent isn't about fasting in the sense that we normally associate with this season.
It is about a literal transformation of myself from the inside. Begun, in truth, with the online class I have been taking for the past several weeks, my Lenten Journey is about continuing to rid myself of the need to be perfect; to accep the truth that perfectionism is a 20-ton shield that I carry around with me. It is a burden of enormous proportions that has, after over 50 years, started to bend my back to the point of looking at the ground.
I am determined to shed that burden - and the worrying that goes along with it. Each time I find myself worrying about something that is, in truth, beyond my control or set to occur so far in the future that pretty much anything could change the outcome I begin to anticipate today - I stop myself and pray to God, deeply and fervently. For his strength, guidance and mercy. For the courage to give the worry to God - to unburden myself in a way that allows me to just focus on the here-and-now.
Each time I say that prayer, I will now think of the words Christ used on the mount, to reassure his disciples that all was well - "Rise, and do not be afraid."