Today is the feast of the transfiguration of Jesus – when he went up the mountain with his apostles and they witnessed him in his divine glory and heard God the Father say, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”
What reading and hearing this story today most reminded me of was the reality that we are “embodied souls.” Our souls, the eternal, most alive parts of us, are (or at least were created to be) radiant with the same glory that filled Jesus in this scene. That radiance is veiled while we are in our bodies, but it is the true essence of who we are.
Importantly, it is the essence of everyone we encounter – our spouse, our kids, the cashier at the store, the stranger who cuts us off on the highway. All our interactions are with immortal souls – and how we interact affects both their eventual end and ours. (HT: C. S. Lewis)
This is why we work on improving ourselves. This is why we teach our children the things they need to learn, even when the lessons are hard, and the learning is reluctant. This is why we offer up our hurt and anger and impatience and struggles rather than lash out, yell, scream, or hit. This is why we cling to Jesus and throw ourselves on his mercy.
It is because the other person is a radiant being, an immortal soul, and damaging someone’s soul (or our own) is far more serious than any hurt they can cause our bodies.