The Transfiguration: God’s Invitation to Being Your Whole LGBTQ Self

Today’s reflection is by Bondings 2.0 contributor Grace Doerfler, whose bio is available here.

Today’s liturgical readings for the Second Sunday of Lent can be found here.

In today’s Gospel telling of the Transfiguration, Jesus reveals his full self to his disciples, a sort of divine coming-out in which the disciples see a new dimension of Jesus’ beauty and glory.

For Peter, John, and James, maybe it had been a day like any other—until they awoke and saw Jesus transfigured, his divinity made suddenly and stunningly visible to them. What must it have been like for them to feel God’s self-revelation so dramatically and so close to them?

I often think of how privileged these disciples must have felt to witness Jesus’ glory, to see so vividly the reality of God dwelling with us. In that moment when Jesus shared his full self with his disciples, he chose to trust Peter, John, and James. These disciples may have been unique in witnessing this particular vision of Jesus’ holiness, but, lucky for us, Jesus’ self-disclosure didn’t end there. While the Transfiguration was a singular moment, the pattern of God revealing Godself to us echoes through our lives, even in the most mundane moments of our daily lives.

But for many LGBTQ people, it can be difficult to believe that God is just as present to us as God is to straight and cisgender people. The church has often put up barriers to our relationships with God, rather than helping us to encounter the Divine. We don’t trust that God wants to be part of our lives as we are—including our queerness, not in spite of it.

Jesus’ openness to sharing his full self with his disciples models the vulnerability that God invites us to have in our own relationships with God. The Transfiguration invites us to trust that we are safe to share our whole selves with God, and indeed, that when we allow our identities to inform our lives of faith, doing so can draw us into a closer relationship with God.

How are our lives as LGBTQ Catholics transfigured when we look at them through the lens of God’s loving presence? 

Instead of seeing being LGBTQ solely as a barrier to being Catholic or a barrier to our relationships with God, we can see our queer identities instead as gifts to the church and gifts to our own lives of faith.

Perhaps we are called to extend God’s compassion by accompanying a friend who is coming out. Perhaps we feel God’s closeness when we question our identities or begin to come out, to ourselves and to others. Perhaps we see God’s kindness in conversations with affirming priests and lay ministers. Perhaps we are invited to model God’s inclusive love in the communities we foster, or experience God’s tenderness in the love of a partner. 

When we find God in our experiences as queer Catholics, we are transfigured; and we, in turn, transfigure our communities of faith by bearing witness to how God moves in our lives.

The inbreaking of the Divine into our lives is probably more subtle than what Peter, John, and James experienced: we do not see Jesus in dazzling white garments, conversing with Old Testament figures before our eyes. It is not always that obvious that Jesus is part of every moment of our days. But if we look close, we see God encountering us right where we are. May this Lent give us a new, transfigured awareness as LGBTQ Catholics of God’s mercy, God’s tenderness, God’s desire to be close to us—God’s goodness in our lives.

To reflect further on the Transfiguration story as an LGBTQ experience, spend some time today with the the “Journeys” installment for this scripture passage, which is found on the New Ways Ministry website.  To view all the “Journeys” installments, click here.

Grace Doerfler (she/her), New Ways Ministry, March 13, 2022

1 reply
  1. Hayden Smith
    Hayden Smith says:

    I am Gay. That is who I am.
    In being Gay I have been allowed to experience an ‘Apparition,’ been allowed to experience ‘God’s Love’ and have been given the ‘Gift of Healing’
    In God’s Love, I can only be exactly who I am.

    Reply

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