August 6, 2019
by Steve Scholer
Creighton University's University Relations
click here for photo and information about the writer

Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord
Lectionary: 614

Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14
Psalms 97:1-2, 5-6, 9
2 Peter 1:16-19
Luke 9:28B-36
Praying Ordinary Time

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Pope Francis on the Transfiguation in 2014

The Feast of the Transfiguration is a truly remarkable day in the Church. But rather than focus on this wondrous revelation of the previously hidden eternal glory of Jesus, I would like to reflect on the words God said to his Son that day when he said, “This is my son in whom I am well pleased.”

Wow, what a tremendous compliment! (And note, God did not qualify his praise for Jesus by adding a condition like, “but I think you maybe could have handled the woman at the well a little differently.”) In just ten words God told Jesus, with Peter, James and John standing nearby, how pleased he was with him and his admiration for Jesus’ acceptance of his journey on earth, and willingness to die for our sins so that we might have salvation.

Today, giving a compliment is rapidly becoming a lost art.  Maybe because we are preoccupied with our smartphones and less aware of those around us and what they are doing. There was a time when compliments were free flowing. We might even have complimented a co-worker’s appearance by saying, “You look very nice today.” But today, saying those words would probably lead to a call from HR before the day is over and mandatory enrollment in a sensitivity course.

Instead of focusing on complimenting someone, today’s culture and society is more aligned with trying to tear them down, to make them feel less of a person. Perhaps in doing so, some wrongly feel superior.  Instead of looking for the good in someone, we now seem programmed to find the bad in them and exploit it. 

And gone with the lost art of giving a compliment is accepting one. When someone compliments us for a job well done, our reply is more often along the lines of, “Well what did you think I was going to do?” as opposed to graciously saying, “Why thank you. That was nice of you to say.”

But why compliment someone anyway? Is it our duty to make someone feel good about themselves or their work? We are all big people, so why should we waste our time singling out an achievement or something we liked?  For that matter, why did God tell Jesus he was “well pleased” with him? Wasn’t Jesus just fulfilling the prophecy?

We should be generous with compliments because lifting others up is part of who we are as Christians – no, make that a big part of who we are.

As Christians, we need to be aware of the positive impact our interaction with others and our sincere and genuine compliments can have. We should recognize and compliment the good a person is doing in their life to help others, the unselfish way in which they share their time and talent with those less fortunate, or the success they have had in overcoming obstacles. Our admiration, support, or encouragement can bring a smile to a face, change a mood, soothe souls and maybe even change a life.

Today, as we go about our daily activities, try and give three to five sincere compliments, and don’t forget to include those closest to us, especially spouses, children and dear friends. Not only will we likely lift their soul and spirits, but the joy we give to them will boomerang back to us.

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