Being Transfigured by Grace and Love
Each week during Lent you are invited to join one of the Brothers as they reflect on God’s word in Scripture. For the Second Sunday of Lent, Br Justin Golding breaks open the Gospel of the Transfiguration, in light of his own changing life experience.
“Lord, it is wonderful for us to be here” (Matthew 17.4)
(Second Sunday of Lent)
Religious life is a funny buisness. You never quite know what’s going to be thrown at you next! For the past five years, I have lived in Lismore and worked at Trinity Catholic College in Religious Education and Faith Formation. As the 2013 year began, I had a feeling that my time there was up. My observation of other’s experiences told me that after five years in one place, the chance of a ‘shift’ was highly likely. And sure enough, that was the case for me. Whilst I was settled and very happy in Lismore, the time felt right to move on. Before any discussions of where I may move took place, I guess I had some pre-conceived ideas. Essentially, I thought that I’d end up in another Marist school within Australia working in Faith Formation. This time, however, that was not the case!
This year I find myself in Manziana, a small town about an hour north of Rome in Italy, living with twenty Brothers from seventeen different countries - Nigeria, Fiji, Spain, Mexico, India, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Zimbabwe, Chad, Solomon Islands, Madagascar, Korea, Liberia, Ivory Coast and Australia. The Institute has called us together to be trained to be ‘Brother Formators for a New World.’ Essentially what this means is that in the future, we may be called upon to be the ‘trainers’ of the next generation of young men who feel called to be Marist Brothers. Quite a contrast to Faith Formation in Australia!
In accepting the offer to join this program for 2014, I was a little anxious and scared. What was I really saying yes to? What could this mean for the future? I’m not a formator, I’m a teacher! I feel comfortable in school! Whilst the prospect of a year in Italy was enticing, change and the unknown are always unsettling. Thankfully, since arriving, we have been given the space to reflect on some of these questions. In doing so, I can’t help but feel that this is all part of God’s plan for my life.
In the Gospel today, Jesus leads three of his closest companions up the mountain and they witness his transfiguration - a moment of profound grace and revelation. They are struck with awe at what they experience. Quite naturally, Peter attempts to cling to the experience by wanting to pitch his tent! We know though, that we can’t stay on the mountaintop forever. We must descend and bring our experience to others.
This year God has given me a great gift - a chance to live with a group of younger Brothers and dream of our future together; the chance to participate in the international mission of our Marist Institute; to form new relationships that cross cultures; to take more time for prayer and reflection that will deepen my relationship with Jesus; to embrace an unknown future with hope. I feel like I’m on top of the mountain and have pitched my tent for a while. However, this experience is not just for me. What impact will this year have on my life and the mission of the Institute? Will my Brothers find me transfigured when I return home to Australia? Time will tell…
This Lent, let us journey with Jesus up the mountain, find him in the experiences of our lives and be transfigured by his grace and his love so that, like Peter we can say, Lord, it is wonderful for us to be here!
Thought: How will I be transfigured by the experience of my Lenten journey?
Prayer: Loving Father, Jesus my brother and Holy Spirit. In this season of Lent, lead me deep into your love, amaze me with your grace, and increase my desire to love and serve you.
Brother Justin Golding, FMS completed five years at Trinity Catholic College as the Youth Ministry & Liturgy Coordinator at the end of 2013. He is currently participating in the Institute run Brother Formators for a New World course at Manziana, Italy. He is a keen tennis player who also enjoys the outdoors.