Arthur Ashe, the legendary Afro-American Wimbledon player was dying of cancer. He received letters from his fans, worldwide, one of which read:
“Why did God select you for such a dreadful disease?”
Ashe replied, “The world over, 5 crore children start playing tennis, 500 000 learn the game, 50 000 turn professional; 5000 come to the circuit, 500 reach Grand Slams, 50 reach Wimbledon, 4 to the semifinals, 2 to the finals. When I won the Wimbledon crown, I never asked God, “Why me?” Today, in pain, I shouldn’t be asking God, “Why me?”
Wimbledon crown, cancer cross. That’s Christianity! That is why Jesus reminds his three apostles about his death and Resurrection immediately after his glorious transfiguration.
Children shall feel something of what is serious and solemn.
In his autobiography, Out of My Life and Thought Albert Schweitzer said that one of the main things his parents did for him as a child was to take him to worship services, even though he was too young to understand much of what was going on.
He claimed it is not important that children understand everything. What is important is “that they shall feel something of what is serious and solemn….”
Can you see Peter, James, and John as they contemplated what it meant to be in the presence not only of Jesus but also Elijah and Moses, and then on top of all that, to hear the Voice of God as well?
No wonder they were silent! Here was dust encountering Divinity, the temporal in the presence of the eternal, the imperfect face to face with Holiness itself. How we need such experiences today! Such experiences demand silence. In that silence, however, there is power.
Fr. Joseph Dovari