The summer after my junior year of high school, I attended the New York State Summer School of the Arts (NYSSSA) in Saratoga Springs, where I studied classical ballet with professionals from the New York City Ballet. Despite the privilege and excitement of the experience, that summer I suffered from intense depression and feelings of isolation, the same sorts of feelings many people have experienced over the past couple years. One night, I called my mother in tears. After speaking to me for some time, she suggested I get out my Bible, pick a passage, and pray through it. I hung up the phone and opened my Bible to the scene from this weekend’s Gospel reading. In this passage, Jesus brings his close friends Peter, John and James up a mountain where, having knelt to pray, He is transfigured in all His glory before them. Then from the cloud comes a voice that says, “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.” I can

still recall how deeply, on that dark summer night, these words from the Father struck me. Like never

before, I was moved to ponder the necessity to listen with attention to Jesus and His teachings and to

believe He was trustworthy. Jesus, sent by the Father, is my pathway to eternal life and as St. Paul expresses, my true “citizenship is in heaven.”

This Lent we might take some time to ponder these questions: Do I desire to hear the voice of my Father

in prayer? Do I believe in Jesus Christ as the pathway to eternal life? Do I listen to the Son of God and attend to His teachings? Do I trust Him completely? Such questions are best pondered in prayer where we seek to bring our whole hearts to God, even our questions and doubts. In the Old Testament reading this weekend Abraham asks God concerning his inheritance, “O Lord God … how am I to know that I shall possess it?” Still, despite his question, Abraham remained faithful even when “the sun had set and it was dark.” And, despite the darkness God makes a covenant with His servant.

In Psalm 27, the psalmist boldly and faithfully proclaims: The Lord is my light and my salvation. By

praying these words, as we will in the response at Mass this weekend, we have the opportunity to place

our confidence in the One who will “bring all things into submission to Himself.” This Lent, may we recommit to being true friends and followers of Jesus Christ and, as St. Paul exhorts us, “stand firm in the Lord.”

Kateri Lickona is Program Coordinator in the diocesan Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry.

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