‘Jesus took with Him Peter and James and his brother John
and led them up a high mountain. And He was transfigured before them.’
Dear Family in Christ,
Have you ever noticed that some of the most iconic encounters with God in scripture happen on a mountain? In the Old Testament, Abraham and Isaac climb a mountain to make a sacrifice to God; Moses converses with God and receives the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai; Elijah climbs the same mountain and witnesses the power of God in wind, an earthquake, fire, and ultimately silence. In the New Testament, Jesus uses mountains too: His Sermon on the Mount, the Crucifixion, and the account of His Transfiguration in this Sunday’s Gospel.
So what is it about mountains that makes God use them so powerfully and consistently throughout salvation history? And what does this have to do with our own Lenten journey? Here are 3 characteristics for your reflection.
Mountains are Remote
To climb a mountain, we must first leave the noise, business, and distractions of the city and of everyday life. There is a certain silence and solitude about mountains due to their rugged nature. This affords those who climb them the perfect conditions for encountering God and hearing His voice. During Lent, the Church invites us in a particular way to ‘find our mountain’; to seek solitude and silence, so that we may more easily encounter God and hear His voice. Personally, I love our Adoration Chapel for just this reason. What’s your mountain?
2. Climbing Mountains is Demanding
St. John of the Cross points out that as one ‘ascends the mountain’ of life in Christ, we follow the same path as the Saints who have gone before us. Along the way, we see all the things that they’ve had to leave behind in order to keep climbing. Lent invites us to take stock of what we have, and how we spend our time. What habits, attitudes or possessions is God calling me to set down so that I may more closely follow Him?
3. Mountains Give Us a Unique Perspective
When we climb a mountain and look down upon the city we came from, we can see the ‘big picture’: we can not only see more, but we can also see things in relation to each other. This perspective helps us develop the necessary wisdom needed to discern God’s will in our lives. This Lent, we are invited to consider things from a higher perspective. What do we need to step back from in order to see the whole picture? This could be a difficult relationship, a frantic work/social schedule, or a bad habit we’ve developed.
During this Lenten season, may we respond to Jesus’ invitation to climb the mountain. When we consistently seek time alone with Him, we experience the sweetness of His friendship; when we let go of what weighs us down, we live and move more freely; and when we raise our perspective, we respond to God’s invitation to look at our lives through His eyes.
It’s a tough climb, but the view is always worth it.
God love you,