Once upon a time, Sal lives a good and long life. As it draws to a close he gathers his family around him. All of a sudden he asks to see his optometrist. “Optometrist?” they ask. “Why in the world do you want to see your optometrist?” “Please, just get him for me.” So they call for Dr. Kaplan, who, on seeing Sal about to depart this life, asks, “Sal, it pains me to see you like this. What can I possibly do for you?” Sal opens his eyes slightly and says, “Doc, before I go, there’s one thing I have to know. Which one was clearer – A or B?”
In the words of scripture scholar, Fr. Donald Senior, “Having a vision that guides our life is important.”
The prophet Daniel enters into visions granted him by God. He sees the Ancient One on a throne. And as the visions continue he sees one like a Son of man receive the kingdom from the Ancient One. We know this vision to be about the Lord Jesus Christ.
The apostle Peter speaks about his vision on Mt. Tabor. God the Father identifies Jesus as his Son and instructs the apostles to listen to the message of the Gospel. We know this vision to be a foreshadowing of the great event to come after the cross on Mt. Calvary.
Having a vision to guide our life is important.
But watch out for the shadows. Notice on Mt. Tabor in the Transfiguration Gospel that a bright cloud casts a shadow over Peter, James and John. Even though God speaks to them, to listen to his Son, they fall prostrate on the ground in fear. They are on the way to Jerusalem and God seeks to strengthen their faith with a vision. Often though we read that the apostles’ reactions to many things with Jesus are fear, wonder, amazement and competition. Not many times do we read that the apostles react in faith. This is why it is difficult to have a vision in life.
My vision of life must always be seen through the lenses of the Christian faith. Yet, I will admit in the last thirteen months with tragedies in the Franks Family, I wonder about God’s silence. I ask the Lord about the purpose of prayer and intercession. And, yes, I say “What if…? What if…?” Reflecting on that event on Mt. Tabor, I realize now that these questions are things I ask in the shadow. There is a vision taking place in the midst of our pain: my three brothers and I call each other every day and when it is time to make decisions, we make those decisions together. In the words of St. Peter, “You will do well to be attentive to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place…”
So, my brothers and sisters, “…it is good for us to be here.” Until our time of metamorphosis, we continue to celebrate the Eucharist and transform the world with a vision that is centered on Christ.
Thank you, Dad, for bringing us closer together.
The Rev. Fr. Dr. T. Becket A. Franks, O.S.B.
In Loving Memory of Albin F. Franks
August 21, 1931 – July 26, 2017
Requiescat in Pace