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Fr. Ben's Letter - The Transfiguration of the Lord

Wisemen still follow His star.

Many years ago, as part of a process for entering a special and select career opportunity, I had to undergo a series of psychological evaluation tests. I remember the man who was administering the test was a very well-respected Doctor of Psychology and he seemed like a very approachable and genial type of person. At one point he explained that the next test required me to respond true or false to several hundred short questions. “So, for example,” he said, “the first question here is: ‘The most intelligent part of the newspaper is the comic strips.’ And you answer True or False.” Of course, cheekily, I answered “true,” thinking that would be funny. The professor was not pleased and said sternly, “This test is not a joke. Now reply seriously and honestly.” Of course, being who I am, that just made me dig my heel in and I said: “Well, seriously, the comics are the most intelligent part of the paper.” I didn’t really believe that at the time, (considering newspapers today I might think that now) but I wasn’t going to let someone tell me what I wanted to say, or do, or think. No matter how wrong I might be!

Isn’t it funny how today there are so many forms of “help books,” or “self-help” books, or “life coaches,” or “inspirational” books all directed to help us find our way? How many people go to counselling to try to unmuddle their inner journey, or resolve their mental and emotional confusion? At the same time, we have become even more determined to “be ourselves,” “stand out,” be “an individual,” “find our own way.” Look at our teenagers, or high school students, or college students, they are all so determined to be individuals that they all look alike, dress alike, act alike, speak alike, think alike, and want the same things, and while insisting on individuality, self-determination, and freedom, they are determined to force everyone into conformity! On the one hand we want to find our own way and at the same time we want to find gurus to show us the way! We seek guidance, and we shun direction. Teenagers are not alone in this, adults of all generations can be just as dense, or lost, or stupid, when it comes to determining who to listen to, when it comes to finding our way, or following a path.

It is interesting that in today’s Gospel nothing of the conversation between Moses, Elijah, Jesus and God is related except one phrase which is spoken to the apostles. God’s voice is heard to say to the apostles “This is my Son, listen to Him.” It reminds me of the advice given by the Blessed Virgin Mary to the servants at the wedding feast at Cana. After asking Jesus to do something about the fact that the wine for the celebration has run out, she turns to the servants and says to them, referring to Her Son, Jesus, “Do whatever He tells you.” At that point Jesus works a miracle.

I received a Christmas card a few years ago with an image of the Three Kings, or Maji (wisemen) making their way across a desert on camels with only a star to lead them and the caption said: Wisemen still follow His star. There are lots of voices in life pointing the way, but they are not all equal, they are not all smart, and they don’t all point to the best way. Also, sometimes it can be hard to give up our own way, that human stubbornness just won’t let go, and sometimes we would rather actually live with the consequences of being wrong than to admit we were wrong. I know, however, that anyone who listens to God, the Blessed Virgin Mary, or who follows Jesus, will not get lost. Following His star – you can’t go wrong!


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