This past week I had the privilege of facilitating a retreat for our Basilian novices. Charles, David, Patrick, and Sean are about halfway through their novitiate year; God willing, they will be professing vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience in August. I enjoyed spending time with them in a beautiful setting in rural Texas. During our days together we looked at Jesus’ humanity; you’ve probably heard me say more than once that I’m convinced that we need to get to know Jesus as one like us if we are really going to have a relationship with him and follow him—in other words, to be intentional disciples. I don’t think that we can follow and relate to someone who is totally other.
As I ate and prayed and conversed with our novices, getting to know them better, I was struck by the unique gifts that each one of them brings to the novitiate community, and indeed, to the Basilian Fathers. We are blessed to have them in formation. At one point I began thinking of what it would be like if I actually saw each one of them for who they are in God’s eyes: God’s precious child, totally unique and totally loved, a place where God himself is found (that is, a temple of the Holy Spirit).
In this weekend’s Gospel passage Peter, James, and John get to see Jesus for who he really is: the Chosen One, the fulfilment of the Law and the Prophets (symbolized by Moses and Elijah). Peter wanted the scene to last: “If you wish, I will make three dwellings here….” But then God speaks and the vision is gone. They see their friend Jesus alone before them, and go back to their regular lives. I tend to think, though, that they never were able to look at Jesus in quite the same way after that experience. They had seen him for who he really was: God’s beloved Son, the fulfilment of the hopes and dreams of the Jewish people. What would it be like if we could see each other for who we are in God’s eyes? Although Jesus is God’s Son in a unique way, scripture is clear that we, too, are God’s children, each in our own way. We, too, are God’s presence to one another. We, too, each have special and unique gifts to offer the world and the Church.
I invite you to recognize how unique and special you are—and how much Jesus wants to be in a relationship with you. Wouldn’t it be great to let others know of that? Indeed, that is what we are called to do!