Iconographers, before they begin an Icon, spend time in prayer and fasting. Writing an Icon is not about art, but is an experience of prayer. They must consider the mystery that they are to write, and reflect carefully upon the signs and symbols that are part of that image. Like the viewer of the icon, the writer also must be able to step into the the image. It is truly a spiritual journey that changes one as they follow the strict parameters of the nature of the icon.
For the apostles the Transfiguration is a turning point whereas they have a glimpse into the larger meaning of the Kingdom of God. Jesus is not simply a real nice guy who does amazing act to bring healing and peace to people. Jesus is the Son of God who comes into our life to bring us salvation and peace. While the apostles probably did not share this information with the other guys who were waiting at the foot of the mountain, they must have reflected on the image of Jesus the Christ in his glory, from time to time.
It is an image that we are challenged to maintain as well. Not just during the season of Lent, but throughout the year. I think about the martyrs, missionaries, parents who struggle to hold a family together, religious who tale a stand for justice and for peace, and realize that it has to be such an image that gives them the courage and strength to be faithful. If we did not understand the true identity of Jesus, and the implications of the cross and resurrection, most of us would have run away a long time ago.
Our RCIA catechumens and candidates are making a major changes in their lives as they become Catholic. This spring and summer we will have several couples who will begin life in the sacrament of marriage. We have parishioners who visit the hospitals and nursing homes as a ministry. These folks have some sort of vision or image (hopefully) of the glory and the holiness of God. An image that will allow them to be bold in their decision and faithful to the Christian way of life.
Stand in front of our Transfiguration window today. Notice how it lifts you up. You automatically lean up, almost as if to stand before Jesus. This feast is a preview that we are to be lifted up to Christ through his passion, death, and resurrection.