Consider these examples: you start learning a language, and you can say “that is delicious” but you can’t say all that you experience as you eat the wonderful food because you don’t have the words; you have a life changing experience, but it isn’t until you hear a song that you hear words to express what you felt then; someone tells you something wise, but it is only sometime later when something happens to you that you think — “Oh, that’s what they meant!”
On this second week of Lent we have the Transfiguration story. Jesus appears to Peter, James and John in dazzling white robes. A voice proclaims, This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased, hear him. Something is happening to Jesus, but focus on the something that is happening to the disciples. It is a profound something, and now more than 50 years later the Gospel writer Matthew is finally able to say clearly what it was: they were experiencing of Jesus as the LORD, the “more than” of their beloved, familiar Jewish Rabbi, Jesus of Nazareth. Many people saw Jesus’ signs and heard his words but did not become believers. Experiencing the LORD, especially after the resurrection, became the basis for belief in the early Christian community and motivated it to search for the words it needed. The point? Our experience of the LORD is also the ground of our own faith. It is vital for a lifelong faith to stay in touch always with that experience. All the words in our very wordy Catholicism can’t give us faith unless we ourselves experience the LORD.
– Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia