“Are You Listening?”, by Lisa Valentino, Fiat Ventures


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Second Sunday of Lent

One of the yearly traditions in my family is taking the first week of August and heading to New Hampshire with the families of my brother and sister to hike in the White Mountains, specifically the Presidential range. Over the years we have hiked Madison, Lafayette, Monroe and even Washington.

Each mountain and each hike are different, and all require perseverance to reach the summit. There are challenges on each trail and difficulties that arise no matter how easy a trail we choose to hike. Often on these hikes I have had a sense of wanting to turn around and go back down, because it was too tough and too trying and I felt as if I could not continue and would never reach the summit. Sometimes it was other people I was hiking with who wanted to give up. Hot days, heavy packs, tough terrain and perhaps not even being in the best of shape all add to this desire of throwing in the towel and believing that it’s too hard and too challenging.

What I remember most though, is that feeling of reaching the summit and being on top of that mountain, all the struggles and issues and challenges I faced as I was climbing, fade away quickly. Why? Because the reward, is the summit. It’s at the summit, the peak, that you realize why you continued and accepted all those struggles and challenges. There is something about being at the top and I am not just talking about the incredible views. Standing on the summit of any mountain makes you stop and think about the magnificence of our world and the great beauty we are surrounded by. I often found myself literally having to catch my breath. It is always worth the journey.

Reading the Gospel today, I can’t help but wonder if the disciples in some way felt like I did so often on those mountains. They are being led up a high mountain with the Lord. I am sure they were curious as to why Jesus was making them hike this mountain. Perhaps they were tired, I am sure they were challenged physically and yes maybe even wanted to turn around and go back down. But that doesn’t happen, Jesus leads them to the top, the summit, and what happens? He is transformed, (the Transfiguration) Moses and Elijah appear to them, and they are in awe.

That hike up the mountain is like our everyday life so often. We’re tired, we are struggling with the challenges of school, family, friends. We’re so busy and our lives our so filled with noise. Perhaps we have had tremendous loss and are trying to recover. Often, we just have difficulty moving forward and persevering. Maybe we are even questioning God and asking why it must be this hard.

And then, we have this summit or mountain top moment, where we catch a glimpse of what is waiting for us. Jesus reminds us through the Transfiguration that our crosses in life are nothing compared to the glory that awaits us! The Lord encourages us and invites us to persevere on this journey.

Jesus tells us “Do not be afraid.” He then proceeds to show us that He has so much more planned for us than we could ever imagine. How do we reach this mountain top moment? By doing as the Father tells us;  A voice from the clouds comes and says; “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased, listen to Him.” Are we listening to Jesus? Are you, listening to Jesus?

This Lent is the perfect time to get some alone time with the Lord. Go on a hike, take a walk, get to Mass more often, read the Bible, get to confession, spend some time in prayer and listen to Jesus. At the end of these 40 days you too can reach the summit and have a glimpse of Gods great glory and all that waits for us.

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