VATICAN CITY – On Sunday Pope Francis said the feast of the Transfiguration is an invitation to put God and others first, adding that the lazy summer months are the perfect time to take a step back and refocus on the essentials.
“The event of the Transfiguration of the Lord offers us a message of hope: It invites us to encounter Jesus, in order to be at the service of our brothers,” the pope said during his Aug. 6 Angelus address.
Looking to pilgrims gathered in a sweltering St. Peter’s Square, he turned to the day’s Gospel passage from St. Matthew, which recounted the event of the Transfiguration and the disciples’ descent down the mountain afterward.
The image of the disciples going down Mount Tabor serves as a reminder of the importance of detaching ourselves from worldly things, and walking toward Christ, he said.
And to do this, he added, involves dedicating ourselves to an “attentive and prayerful listening to Christ,” by looking for “intimate moments of prayer that allow the docile and joyful welcoming of the Word of God.”
Speaking in August, when most Romans are out on vacation, he said summertime is the perfect opportunity to delve into this prayer, and called summer a “providential moment to enhance our commitment to seek and encounter the Lord.”
“In this period, students are free from scholastic duties and many families are taking their vacation; it’s important that in the time of rest and detachment from daily concerns, they can re-energize the forces of body and spirit, deepening their spiritual path.”
Returning to the image of the Transfiguration, Pope Francis noted that the disciples went back down the mountain with “eyes and hearts transfigured by their encounter with the Lord.”
This is also a path that we can take, he said, adding that the “ever more vivid” rediscovery of Jesus is not an end in itself, but rather something that leads us to go down the mountain ourselves, “recharged by the strength of the Divine Spirit.”
With this renewed strength, we’ll be able to take “new steps of authentic conversion” and to “constantly bear witness to charity, as a law of daily life.”
By allowing ourselves to be transformed by the presence of Christ and his word, we will become concrete signs of love for our brothers and sisters, Pope Francis said, especially those who suffer due to loneliness, abandonment, illness, injustice and violence.
He closed his address by turning to Mary, who is “always ready to welcome and guard in her heart every word of her Divine Son.”
Pope Francis prayed that Mary would help all to enter into harmony with the Word of God, enabling Christ to be “the light and guide” of our entire lives, and entrusted to her all those on vacation during the summer months.
“To her we entrust the vacation of everyone, so that they are serene and profitable,” he said, and offered a special prayer for those who are unable to take vacation due to age, health, work or financial trouble.
He prayed that for these people, summer would “still be a relaxing time, cheered by friends and happy moments,” and led pilgrims in the traditional Marian prayer.