I’m sure most of us have heard our parents say this; that nothing good in life comes without hard work and sacrifice; and many of us [most definitely myself] have also come to learn that this is true. I didn’t always believe it, and I spent a fairly significant part of my life trying to find the easy way to things or to get all the good stuff without having to make sacrifices or preparing myself to suffer for it at all.
Our vocation is one of the greatest things any one of us can come to discover in life, so this too requires us to sacrifice and to face whatever challenges are presented to us. It’s most important that we remember that; this is what a mature faith is all about and it’s only with a mature faith that we are able to go about discovering our vocation, whatever it may be.
Today, we encounter three Apostles on the top of the mountain with Jesus and they are given a foretaste of heaven; they are afforded an opportunity to witness first hand the radiant joy of the Resurrection, and they are amazed. So amazed that they want to remain in this glorious moment “we’ll prepare three dwellings; one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah”. St. Peter even acknowledges, “it’s good to be here”. Who among us wouldn’t want to be there for that moment, and even more than many joyous moments; wouldn’t we simply want to remain there, caught up in glory?
But the important point to today’s account comes at the end of the passage; as they descend the mountain – Jesus speaks of His suffering and death and Resurrection again. Hard times are to come. How this must have “killed the mood”. This is important to the Christian life, though. We must face our challenges and hardships head-on. We cannot live only for “mountaintop experiences”.
I was baptized and received into the Church at 32, and my vocation calling began a week before that when my pastor spoke to me about becoming a priest. I learned very soon after becoming Catholic and taking this serious that I could not begin formation until I was at least 3 years a Catholic – my faith: new, strong, committed – needed to go through tests & trials, challenges. I needed to come down off the mountain and live my faith. And I did go through many challenges, perhaps more than others; my mother was diagnosed with cancer, she died, I was challenged with caring for my grandparents, my life was thrown into chaos. But my faith carried me, I was challenged greatly in my faith and my vocation, but I drew closer to the Lord and after that three years I was ready.
These may not be your circumstances, but your vocation will be challenged too. We must remember no one (not even Jesus) was given the glory without the uncomfortable challenges & sacrifices first. That even our Lord accepted His Cross is a sign that we who will be asked much less, accept ours. May God bless you.