Every summer, my family would drive to Tennessee for family vacation. We’d wake up early to hike, spend the afternoons lounging on the porch with gorgeous mountain views, we’d explore the local town, visit Dollywood, and play boardgames late into the night. They were the very best days of summer, and at the end of each trip, my sister and I would beg our parents to let us stay longer. Mom and Dad always assured us to not worry, telling us we’d come back.
We loved those weeks in the mountains. They were exactly what we needed: time to bond, a chance to see the country, time to laugh and talk and take a break from televisions and computer screens and the responsibilities of the every day. Vacation was a totally different pace from the every day back home, a concentrated snapshot of what we wanted our “normal days” to actually look like. It was the ideal: time together, with nothing else to distract us.
Peter, James, and John head to the top of a mountain to spend time together with Jesus. There, on that mountaintop, Jesus transfigures before them, His divinity on full display, the glory and goodness of God visible and present.
This is Jesus, fully God and fully man. Nothing is hidden. Nothing is held back. Jesus is transfigured, and they are witnesses of it.
Naturally, they don’t want to leave. Who would? They’ve heard the voice of God. They’ve seen Jesus’ power. They’ve become “fully awake.” They want to stay. It is a good place to be.
But they can’t stay there. Not yet.
That mountaintop is the foretaste of what’s to come in Heaven where we are witnesses to God’s glory, forever. But there’s still work to be done, down the mountain, to get ready for that Heaven for which we so desperately long.
The mountaintop, very real and beautiful and necessary, is the place we are renewed and refreshed so we can better live in the every day, down the mountain. We’re brought to the mountaintop and shown His glory precisely so that we can come back down and share it with everyone else.
This masterpiece of the Transfiguration was the artist's final work.
Katie Prejean McGrady is an international Catholic speaker and author of three books with Ave Maria Press. After working as a theology teacher and parish youth minister for six years, Katie now travels full time across the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., speaking about faith, culture, family, evangelization, discipleship, and the best way to order a flat white (extra shot, medium temp). She and her husband Tommy have a podcast (The Electric Waffle), a dog (Barney), and a 1 year old (Rose) and live in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Find out more about her here.